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First things first . . . to conquer the bar, you need to know what you’re up against.


It’s you against the Texas Bar, so it’s crucial to know what the exam entails.   The exam has four parts, including:

1)     Multistate Performance Test (MPT) – The MPT is the first part of the Texas Bar you will take.  It is a mock work assignment designed to test your ability to use your lawyering skills in a realistic situation.  You are given a “file” of source documents and a “library” of legal authorities to use to fulfill your assignment.  The assignment might be to write a memorandum to a supervising attorney, a letter to a client, a contract provision, a proposal for settlement, or a closing argument.  You have 90 minutes to complete the MPT.

2)    Procedure and Evidence Questions (P&E)Your first day of the Texas Bar will also include 40 short-answer questions regarding Texas and federal procedure and evidence.  Specifically, the P&E has 20 questions on civil procedure and evidence and 20 questions on criminal procedure and evidence.  The questions are printed in two exam booklets and your answers must be written on no more than the five lines provided after each question.  You have 90 minutes to complete the P&E.

3)    Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)The second day of your exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, known as the MBE.  The MBE questions are on six subjects:  constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, evidence, real property and torts.  The total time allotted for the MBE is 6 hours, which is split into two 3-hour testing sessions with a lunch break between sessions.

4)    Texas Essay QuestionsThe last day of your exam involves 12 essay questions.  This portion is 6 hours long and is broken into two 3-hour sessions with a lunch break between sessions.  You will have an average of 30 minutes per essay.  The subjects tested in the essay questions include:

  1. Business associations (including agency, corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and professional associations)

  2. Trusts and guardianships

  3. Wills and administration

  4. Family law

  5. Uniform Commercial Code

  6. Consumer rights (including DTPA and insurance)

  7. Real property (including oil and gas)

  8. Income, estate, and gift tax issues

  9. Bankruptcy

The 12 essay questions are comprised of two essay questions on each of the following subjects: 1) Uniform Commercial Code; 2) business associations; 3) family law; 4) wills & administration; and 5) real property; as well as one essay question on trust & guardianship and one essay question on consumer law.  Tax and bankruptcy are crossover subjects that may be tested within any of the essays.


Now that you know what your opponent is made of, you’ll need to understand the length of the battle.  The Texas Bar Exam is given twice each year.  It is two and one-half days long and usually begins on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July.  The first day of the exam (Tuesday) is 3 hours, which includes the MPT and P&E.  The next day (Wednesday) covers a full day of MBE questions.  The final day (Thursday) is a full day of essay questions.  You are to be in your assigned seat each day at 8:30 a.m.  The lunch break will typically occur from 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m.  You must be in your assigned seats again at 1:30 p.m. on the second and third day of the exam for the afternoon sessions.  There is no afternoon session on the first day of the exam, so you may expect to be released around 12:30 p.m.  There is also no break between the MPT and the P&E sections on the first day.  Endurance is key for this battle.


A sound strategy is vital.   Southwest Bar Review offers you a time proven game plan for the Texas Bar Exam.  Not all roads lead to victory in your battle with the bar, as revealed in an analysis of the Texas bar exam.  Texas Government Code Section 82.0291 directed the Texas Board of Law Examiners to develop a report analyzing the causes of failure and recommendations for success on the Texas bar exam.  A 2004 study conducted on the Texas bar exam found applicants scored a whole 4 to 10 total scale points more if they engaged in one or more of the following preparation activities during the six months prior to taking the exam:  (1) attend lecture and discussion sessions; (2) take internet lessons; (3) use hard copy study materials.  Out of these three types of preparation strategies, the most effective is a combination of hard study materials and live lectures presented by a bar preparation company, which is exactly what Southwest Bar Review gives you.  In fact, the Texas bar analysis specifically concluded that the effect of using internet lessons was not as significant as the effects of using hard copy study materials and attending lecture and discussion sessions presented by a commercial bar review course.  The findings are clear . . . the best strategy for tackling the Texas bar is the type of approach offered by Southwest Bar Review.


It is crucial to know what constitutes a victory here.  Notably, certain portions of the exam factor in more for your passing score than others.  Here’s how the test areas are weighted for your final score: MPT, 10%; P&E, 10%; MBE, 40%; and Essays, 40%.  As each portion of the test is weighted differently, they are graded on separate scales.  For instance, the MPT is graded on a scale with a 6 being the highest possible score and 0 being the lowest possible score.  On the P&E, each answer is graded on a 0 to 5 point scale, making the maximum possible raw score on each section 100 points.  Raw MBE scores (the number of questions answered correctly) are scaled to adjust for possible differences in average question difficulty across administrations of the exam.  The maximum scaled score on the MBE is 200 points.  For the essay portion of the exam, each essay question is graded on a scale of 0 to 25, with 25 being the highest possible score and 0 being the lowest possible score.

To determine your final score, the raw scores of each portion of your exam are adjusted to the same mean and standard deviation as the MBE scaled scores.  Then, each scaled score is entered in the following formula to determine your  final score:

MPT (scaled score divided by 2) + P&E (scaled score divided by 2) + MBE (scaled score x 2) + Texas Essays (scaled score x 2) = Final Score

The maximum number of points you can get on the exam is 1000.  Good news . . . you just need a scaled score of 675 to pass.


Exam results are typically released during the first week of November, if you took the July bar, and during the first week of May, if you took the February bar.  You will be notified of the expected release date for the results when you get your admission ticket to the exam.

When you pass, and if you’ve satisfied all other licensing requirements, you are invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony in Austin, which takes place two to three weeks after grades are released.  Details on the swearing-in ceremony are included with your results.   Once you register with the State Bar, your bar card and law license are mailed to you.

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FAQ December 10, 2011