South Dakota Bar Exam details

A typical South Dakota Bar Exam is a 2-day exam

South Dakota Bar Exam information is subject to change without notice. Please verify with the South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners.

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

Day 1:

  • Five 30-minute Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) questions
  • One 30-minute Indian Law Essay Exam question (MEE/ILEE in the AM)
  • Two 90-minute Multistate Performance Test questions (MPT 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

MEE Subjects

  • Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations; and Limited Liability Companies)
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Family Law
  • Trusts and Estates (Decedents' Estates; Trusts and Future Interests)
  • Article 9 (Secured Transactions) of the Uniform Commercial Code
  • Plus all MBE subjects

Indian Law

  • Basic principles of Federal Indian Law, including but not limited to Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction, the Indian Civil Rights Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Tribal laws or customary laws are not tested.

Multistate Performance Test

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


  • A scaled score of 85 is required for admission to the bar. A previous MPRE score is accepted if within 28 months prior to next scheduled exam.

Click here to learn more about the MPRE.

Applicants must pass each portion of the examination. An average of 75% or higher on the combined MPT, MEE, and Indian Law portion is required; and a scaled score of at least 133 on the MBE portion is required.

An applicant may receive additional points on their MBE score, not to exceed three additional points, based on their score on the combined MPT, MEE and Indian Law portion of the examination as follows:

  • 80 to 84 percent – one point
  • 85 to 89 percent – two points
  • 90 percent or more – three points

These additional points may not be transferred to a future exam.

An applicant who has failed only one portion of the exam may reapply to sit for only the failed portion. However, a passing score on one portion of the exam is only valid for two years.

Acceptance of MBE Score

Applicants may transfer an MBE scaled score of at least 135 achieved in another jurisdiction if taken within two years prior to the next scheduled exam, provided the applicant passed the entire bar examination in the other jurisdiction.

Admission on Motion

A member in good standing of a reciprocating jurisdiction may be admitted on motion in South Dakota if the applicant has engaged in the active practice of law for three of the five years preceding application. Additional requirements apply.

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.

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