California Bar Exam details

A typical California Bar Exam is a 2-day exam

California Bar Exam information is subject to change without notice. Please verify with The State Bar of California Office of Admissions.

Please also reference the NCBE Covid-19 updates page for NCBE updates and individual jurisdiction announcements.

Day 1

  • Three 60-minute essay questions (in the AM)
  • Two 60-minute essay questions (in the PM)
  • One 90-minute Performance Test (in the PM)

Day 2

  • Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), a 200-question, multiple-choice exam (100 questions in the AM, 100 questions in the PM)


  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts/Sales
  • Criminal Law/Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Federal Civil Procedure
  • Real Property
  • Torts

California Essay Subjects

  • Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations; and Limited Liability Companies)
  • CA Civil Procedure
  • CA Community Property
  • CA Evidence
  • CA Professional Responsibility
  • Remedies
  • Trusts
  • CA Wills and Succession
  • Plus all MBE subjects

California Performance Test

  • “Closed universe” practical questions using instructions, factual data, cases, statutes and other reference material supplied by examiners.


  • A scaled score of 86 on the MPRE is required for admission.

Click here to learn more about the MPRE.

The MBE score is 50% of the total score, while the written portion accounts for the other 50%.

A passing score of 1,390 or greater on a 2,000 point scale is required based on the combined scores of the California Performance Test, the essay questions, and the MBE.

Acceptance of MBE Score

California does not accept an MBE score from an exam taken in another jurisdiction.

Admission on Motion

California does not provide for admission on motion. Examination is required of all applicants. Attorneys who have been licensed in another jurisdiction for four years may be eligible to sit for the attorney exam (written exam only).

If you are a foreign law graduate or lawyer, you may already be eligible to sit for a U.S. state bar exam with your current credentials.

California operates a relatively open policy in permitting foreign law graduates or lawyers to sit the bar examination, and does not impose restrictions to admission on grounds of nationality or residence.

Learn more about U.S. bar exam eligibility and requirements for foreign law graduates, lawyers, and U.S. LL.M. students.

We compile all of the information that you need to know about the dates, format, subjects tested, deadlines, fees and more - for each U.S. state - in the free BARBRI Bar Exam Digest.

Download the Digest ›

Find the BARBRI bar prep course that’s built for you

Traditional Bar Review

Full-time course | 8-10 week

Study for any U.S. state exam, including the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE)
Best for:

Candidates with a J.D. from a U.S. law school looking for the quickest, most efficient & effective course to pass any U.S. state bar exam

Extended Bar Prep

Part-time course | 6- or 10-month 

Study for a UBE state, including New York or California
Best for:

Best for candidates without a J.D. from a U.S. law school looking for the most comprehensive bar prep or students who want more study time & flexibility

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