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Appendix A - Overview of the Texas Bar Examination

Introduction to the Texas Bar Exam

The Texas Bar Exam lasts three days. Of the states that require a bar exam, Texas has one of the longest and reputedly more difficult exams. The Board of Law Examiners (BLE) prepares and supervises the grading of the Texas Bar Examination. The BLE is an agency of the Supreme Court of Texas and has nine members who are appointed biennially by the Supreme Court. Each member must be an attorney of at least 35 years of age, with a minimum of ten years of experience in the practice of law. The Board’s rules are adopted and promulgated by the Supreme Court of Texas. The bar exam is administered twice a year during the last Tuesday to Thursday of the months of February and July. To pass the bar exam, a candidate must score at least 675 points out of a possible 1,000 points.

Brief Overview of the Exam

Day One - Tuesday 20% (200 points) (two sections)
Procedure & Evidence Exam (P&E) 10%
Multi-state Performance Test (MPT) 10 %
3 hours (90 min. each)

Day Two - Wednesday 40% (400 points): The Multi-state Bar Exam (MBE)
200 multiple-choice questions
6 hours (3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon, with a lunch break in between)

Day Three - Thursday 40% (400 hundred points): 12 Texas Essays
6 essays a.m., 6 essays p.m.
6 hours (30 minutes per essay; 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon, with a lunch break in between)


Day One 20%: Procedure & Evidence and Multi-State Performance Test

Day one is on a Tuesday, consists of two very different tests, and lasts half a day.  The actual testing-time is three hours, but you should expect the test to take about four hours, taking into account time for proctor instructions and exam collection.

Procedure and Evidence: 10% - 100 points (90 minutes)

  • Texas and Federal Criminal Procedure and Evidence: 20 questions, 45 minutes (2.25 minutes per question, 50 total points, 2.5 points per question)
  • Texas and Federal Civil Procedure and Evidence: 20 questions, 45 minutes (2.25 minutes per question, 50 total points, 2.5 points per question)

The Multi-state Performance Test (MPT): 10% - 100 points (90 minutes)

  • This is a closed-book exam that requires you to perform a lawyerlike task.
  • Suggested use of time:
    • 45 minutes to read, research, and organize a response
    • 45 minutes to write a response
  • Special handouts are available and several practice exams are administered in the Preparing for the Bar Exam Course.

Day Two 40%: Multi-State Bar Examination (MBE)

Introduction
Day two is on a Wednesday and lasts all day. The actual testing-time is six hours, but you should expect the exam to take about eight or nine hours, taking into account the time for proctor instructions and exam collection.

  • The MBE is a standardized 200 multiple-choice-question exam, administered nationally.
    • 100 Questions in the norning
    • 100 Questions in the afternoon
    • 3 Hours for each session (morning and afternoon)
      • 1.8 minutes per question (one minute and forty-eight seconds)
  • Subjects Tested
    • Civil Procedure – 27 questions (will be tested for the first time in 2015)
    • Constitutional Law – 27 questions
    • Contracts – 28 questions
    • Criminal Law – 14 and
    • Criminal Procedure – 13 questions
    • Evidence – 27 questions
    • Property – 27 questions
    • Torts – 27 questions

Day Three 40%: Texas Essays

Introduction
Day three, the essay portion of the Texas bar exam, is on a Thursday and lasts all day.  The actual testing-time is six hours, but you should expect the exam to take about nine hours, including time for proctor instructions and exam collection.

Summary of subjects tested preceded by number of essay questions for each subject

12 Texas Essay Questions Total, broken down as follows:

  • (2) Texas Real Property
    • Oil and Gas
  • (2) Business Associations
  • (2) UCC
    • Articles 2 & 2A (Sales & Leases)
    • Articles 3 & 4 (Payment Systems)
    • Article 9 (Secured Transactions)
  • (2) Family Law
    • Marital Property
  • (2) Wills & Estates
  • (1) Trusts or Guardianship
  • (1) Consumer Law
  • Crossover Topics (more below)
    • Bankruptcy
    • Federal Income Tax

You are required to answer 12 questions:

  • 6 questions in the morning
  • 6 questions in the afternoon
  • The 12 essays come from 16 possible subject areas, 2 of which are crossover subjects (Bankruptcy and Federal Income and Gift Tax). These “cross-over” subjects could be tested as a sub-topic in several of 12 tested subjects.
    • 3 hours each session (morning and afternoon)
    • 30 minutes per essay (but each essay consists of at least 2 to 3 specific questions, so you really have 24-36 short-answer questions)
    • Overall for each essay you have 5-10 minutes to:
      • Read the question
      • Think about the issues that are being tested
      • Organize a succinct lawyer-like response to your assignment.
    • 20-25 minutes to write your 2 to 3 responses.