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Bar Preparation  

This guide covers bar admission, tips for taking the bar exam, information about bar prep programs and links to bar exam information for individual states.
Last Updated: Jul 12, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Bar Support at Villanova Law

This guide was compiled by LaRasz Moody, Esq. Please contact Matt Carluzzo, Director of Academic Success & Bar Support Programs, for assistance with bar applications.



Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is required for admission to the bars of many jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware. It measures knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer's professional conduct.

For admission to the Pennsylvania bar, candidates must achieve a score of 75 on the MPRE. The MPRE is a 50 question, multiple choice test, offered in April, August, and November. You may take the exam as a law student or within time periods established by the bar examiners in the states in which you intend to practice. The best way to register is online to ensure online access to your Admissions ticket and score following the exam but you can also register by phone by calling (215) 504-3886.

Please review the MPRE Information page prior to registration.

Different Types of Bar Exams

To find out what your state requires, see:

Bar Admission Offices Directory


    Topics on the Bar Exam

    Multistate Bar Exam

    The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) is a 200-question multiple choice exam administered in every state except Puerto Rico, Louisiana and Washington. The topics covered on the MBE are listed below with the Villanova Law School courses in which those topics are covered.

    (Note: Subjects that may appear on a bar exam are discussed in many courses. The list below includes only those courses which devote substantial attention to subject areas which are specified as being covered on the MBE.)

    • Constitutional Law
      •  Constitutional Law I & II
    • Contracts
      • Contracts I & II, Sales
    • Criminal Law and Procedure
      • Criminal Law I
      • Criminal Procedure I
    • Evidence - Evidence
    • Real Property - Property I & II
    • Torts - Torts


    The Bar examination may be a distant thought for many of you and for some of you it may be recurring nightmare.   Whatever your frame of mind, the bar exam is an inevitable rite of passage if you want to practice law.  You need to be informed about the bar exam and the steps you need to take to prepare. 

    What is a Bar Examination?

    In almost every state in the United State and in some territories, recently graduated law students sit for a state bar exam. For instance, if you are interested in practicing in Pennsylvania, you would take the Pennsylvania Bar Exam. The bar exam measures a candidate's competency to practice law in a particular state. Successful bar exam candidates receive a license evidencing their competency to practice law in a given jurisdiction.

    Passing Your Bar Exam

    Passing the bar exam is a pivotal last step in becoming an attorney. There are many things you can do, as a student, to achieve this success. Much of the law school curriculum is geared toward providing you with the necessary foundation for success. In addition, most students participate in a commercial bar review course, after graduation. This course reviews (and in some cases introduces you to) those subjects that might be tested on your jurisdiction's bar exam.

    Beyond Bar Classes and Commercial Review Courses

    In addition to what you learn in your law school classes and the commercial bar review courses, Villanova University School of Law also offers workshops and programs designed to help you assess and practice the skills necessary for passing the bar. These workshops cover each part of the bar exam - the essay, multiple choice and performance test portions. Thus, you have the opportunity to not only learn the appropriate substance but to also hone the necessary skills related to each portion of the bar exam. You can find strategies on preparing for the bar in the Bar Preparation Tips tab.

    Getting Started

    Current students and alumni of Villanova University School of Law are encouraged to view the material on the Bar Preparation website and contact Matthew Carluzzo, the Director of Academic Success and Bar Support Programs, and to participate in the bar preparation workshops and programs as they are announced. Please feel free to stop by Matt's office so that you can meet in person.



    Each state also has another portion of the bar exam, usually in an essay format. The topics covered on the essay portion of bar exams most frequently taken by Villanova Law School graduates are listed below. When it may not be self-evident which Villanova Law School courses devote substantial attention to the particular topic, the courses are noted in the brackets.


    The Pennsylvania essay exam tests all six of the MBE subjects, with an emphasis on Pennsylvania law, as well as the following topics:

    • Employment Discrimination
    • Conflict of Laws
    • Corporations
    • Decedents' Estates [Trusts and Estates]
    • Family Law
    • Pennsylvania (in addition to federal) Civil Procedure
    • Pennsylvania (in additional to federal) Evidence
    • Pennsylvania Professional Responsibility
    • Sales (UCC Article 2), and
    • Federal Personal Income Tax [Taxation].

    Pennsylvania also administers one Performance Test question designed to test an applicant's ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation.

    Please be aware that these are the formats for the bar exams in 2005 in the states listed above. Each year, many states modify their exams in some way. For more information on the topics covered in the states listed or in other states, you should locate your state in the Bar Admission Offices Directory. BAR/BRI, a bar examination review course provider, maintains brief information on its website of the bar examination requirements in each state. Simply select your state from the drop down menu on the left and then select the Bar Review Course link to view the Bar Exam format for your state.


    Essays--Nearby States


    New Jersey bases the essay portion of its bar exam on the six MBE subjects. Such essay questions may be framed in the context of fact situations involving, and interrelated with:

    • agency
    • conflicts of law
    • corporations
    • equity
    • family law
    • partnership
    • UCC Articles 2, 3, and 9
    • wills, trusts and estates
    • zoning and planning
    • and disciplinary rules.


    The New York bar exam (in addition to the MBE) consists of five essay questions, a Performance Test, and 50 multiple choice questions. The essay and multiple choice portion of the exam tests all six MBE subjects, as well as:

    • Business Relationships
    • Conflict of Laws
    • New York Constitutional Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Family Law, Remedies
    • New York and Federal Civil Jurisdiction and Procedure
    • Professional Responsibility
    • Trusts, Wills and Estates
    • and UCC Articles 2, 3, and 9.

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