Information For Bar Exam Applicants
What - The Illinois Bar Exam
Applicants for admission to the Illinois bar may qualify on examination.
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 704 sets forth the requirements for qualification on examination, which includes an academic qualification examination, also known as the Illinois bar exam.
When - February and July
The Illinois bar exam is offered twice a year on the last consecutive Tuesday and Wednesday in February and July.
Where - Chicago
The Illinois bar exam is administered at various venues in Chicago.
The February bar exam will be held at the University of Illinois of Chicago Forum (UIC Forum) located at 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago 60608.
The July bar exam venue(s) will be announced at a later date.
Notices of Eligibility for the exam are posted to his/her user homepage approximately 2 weeks prior to the exam.
Filing Deadlines for First-time Illinois Bar Exam Registrants
For the July exam, the regular filing deadline is February 15. Late filing, upon payment of sharply escalating fees, is permitted through May 15.
For the February exam, the regular filing deadline is September 15. Late filing, upon payment of sharply escalating fees, is permitted through December 15.
IMPORTANT: The Board of Admissions to the Bar will NOT consider any request to file an application beyond the latest deadline for any given reason.
Filing Fees and Deadlines
Filing fees and deadlines for first time applicants who have NEVER previously registered for an Illinois bar examination
ON TIMEThe regular filing deadline for a July exam is the preceding February 15, and the regular filing deadline for a February exam is the preceding September 15. The regular filing fees for first time exam applicants are as follows:
|For those who previously filed a law student registration application apart from an exam in Illinois||$500|
|For those who did not previously file a law student registration application in Illinois||$950|
LATEThe late filing deadline for a July exam is April 1, and the late filing deadline for a February exam is November 1. The fees for first time Illinois bar exam applicants filing February 16 through April 1 for a July exam or September 16 through November 1 for a February exam are as follows:
|For those who previously filed a law student registration application apart from an exam in Illinois||$700|
|For those who did not previously file a law student registration application in Illinois||$1150|
REALLY LATEThe final late filing deadline for a July exam is May 15, and the final late filing deadline for a February exam is December 15. The fees for first time Illinois bar exam applicants filing April 2 through May 15 for a July exam or November 2 through December 15 for a February exam are as follows:
|For those who previously filed a law student registration application apart from an exam in Illinois||$1000|
|For those who did not previously file a law student registration application in Illinois||$1450|
|Filing deadlines and fees for applicants who HAVE previously registered for an Illinois bar examination|
ON TIMEThe regular filing deadline for a July exam is May 1, and the regular filing deadline for a February exam is November 1. The regular filing fees for applicants who have previously registered for an Illinois bar exam are as follows:
|For those who withdrew prior to or were entirely absent from all such exam(s) and have never failed an Illinois bar exam||$500|
|For those who previously have failed an Illinois bar exam||$500|
LATEThe final late filing deadline for a July exam is May 15, and the final late filing deadline for a February exam is December 15. The final late filing fees for applicants who have previously registered for an Illinois bar exam are as follows:
|For all applicants who have previously registered for an Illinois bar exam, including those who failed, withdrew and/or were absent||
YOU ARE NOT CONSIDERED TO HAVE FILED YOUR APPLICATION UNTIL THE REQUIRED PAYMENT IS ALSO SUBMITTED.
Bar Examination Application Forms
Please be aware that application forms are specific to each bar exam. This means, for example, that an application filled out for the July 2018 bar exam may not be used to apply for the February 2019 exam. Filling out the application form(s) is time-consuming, so applicants should check to make sure they are working with the correct forms before entering any data.
Receiving Your Results
Results from the July exam will be posted to examinees' user homepages in early October. Results from the February exam will be posted in early April.
Examinees who fail an Illinois exam may request Essay/MPT Study Materials which include "sample answers" that were written by fellow examinees. Sample passing answers are not perfect answers but are representative of those answers that received the highest score.
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
The MBE, developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), consists of 200 question, multiple-choice test: 175 scored questions and 25 unscored pretest questions. MBE questions are designed to be answered by applying fundamental legal principles in the areas of constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, evidence, real property, torts and civil procedure. The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar, along with nearly every other jurisdiction, administers the MBE as part of its bar exam. The test is divided into two (2) periods of three (3) hours each, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with 100 questions in each period.
MBE scores are computed nationally. The MBE raw score (number of questions answered correctly) is converted to a MBE scaled score, which controls the variation in test question difficulty across the various administrations of the MBE. As a result of this process, a given MBE scaled score indicates about the same level of proficiency, regardless of the examination on which it was earned.
The NCBE website at http://www.ncbex.org provides detailed information, booklets, and study guides concerning the MBE.
MBE Score Transfer
The Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar will accept a scaled score of 141 or more that was earned by an applicant on an MBE administered in another jurisdiction within the 13 months immediately preceding the current Illinois bar exam. The deadline to transfer an MBE score for the February bar examination is December 31. The deadline to transfer an MBE score for the July bar examination is May 31. The applicant must have passed the entire bar exam in the jurisdiction in which the MBE score was earned.
Applicants opting to transfer an MBE score must take and pass the written portion of the Illinois bar exam in order to pass the exam. This means that the point of value of the transferred MBE score cannot be used to offset an inadequate performance on the written portion of the bar exam. MBE transfer applicants must achieve 133 scaled essay points to pass, which is half of what applicants taking both days must achieve to pass.
Any Illinois bar examination applicant, including any MBE transfer applicant, who fails the Illinois bar examination, will be required to take the exam in its entirety upon re-examination.
MBE Score Transfer or Advisory request FROM Illinois
IBAB no longer authorizes the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) to transfer its MBE scores. If you would like to have your IL MBE score transferred to other jurisdictions, for a fee of $25 per jurisdiction, please submit your request by filling out and sending in our MBE Score Transfer or Advisory Request Form. MBE Score Transfer or Advisory Request form.
MBE Score Advisories for District of Columbia and Minnesota
IBAB no longer authorizes the NCBE to advise Illinois examinees as to whether their MBE scores are sufficient for admission without examination in the District of Columbia (MBE scaled score of 133) or Minnesota (MBE scaled score of 145) to qualify for admission without examination. A score advisory will not provide you with the MBE score itself but will let you know, for a fee of $25 per jurisdiction, whether your score meets or exceeds the DC or MN minimum scores. Submit your request for score advisory by filling out and sending in our MBE Score Transfer or Advisory Request Form. MBE Score Transfer or Advisory Request form.
The examination information booklets are available on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website:
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) on behalf of the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The MPRE is a 60 question, two-hour, multiple-choice examination administered three times per year at established test centers across the country.
Like the MBE, the MPRE is scored and scaled nationally. The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar requires an MPRE score of 80 or more. An applicant need not take the MPRE before taking the bar exam, but must have done so and obtained a passing score before he or she can be recommended for admission to the bar.
For full information, resources, access and faq's: http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/mpre/mpre-score-services/
Non Standard Testing Accommodations (NTA)
Any qualified applicant seeking nonstandard testing accommodations (NTA) on the basis of a disability must file properly completed NTA request forms simultaneously with the remaining paper portion of his/her bar exam application. NTA request forms are NOT electronically filed. You may access the NTA forms by selecting Information & Applications, Nonstandard Testing Accommodation & Administrative Accommodation, Browse Forms.
Administrative Accommodation (AA)
An Administrative Accommodation provides a courtesy arrangement for applicants with certain health-related issues in standard test rooms following the standard testing schedule. You may access the AA form by selecting Information & Applications, Nonstandard Testing Accommodation & Administrative Accommodation, Browse Forms.
Admission to the Bar
Formal bar admission ceremonies are held twice each year in locations throughout the state where successful applicants to the bar are administered the statutory required attorney oath and receive law licenses. The ceremonies are typically held in May and November and are on dates and in venues designated by the Supreme Court of Illinois. The office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court notifies applicants of detailed information concerning the bar admission ceremonies, including an applicant's assigned location which is determined by the address provided to IBAB by the applicant.
To participate in the statewide ceremonies, an applicant is required to pay a $50.00 law license fee to the Clerk of the Supreme Court in advance of the ceremony. The $50.00 must be paid electronically before a date determined by the Court (the date is provided in IBAB's exam result letter). Visit the Supreme Court's website at http://illinoiscourts.gov/ or https://www.epayillinois.com/Home/ShowSiteLandingPage/6546 for more information. A convenience fee will apply. Any applicant who does not pay will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.
An applicant unable to attend a designated ceremony will be notified after the ceremony by the Clerk of the Supreme Court as to what steps will be required to have the oath administered. There is a limited time to be sworn in. Supreme Court Rule 704(f) states: a passing score on the Illinois bar examination is valid for four years from the last date of the examination passed. An applicant for admission on examination who is not admitted to practice within four years must repeat and pass the examination after filing the requisite character and fitness registration and bar examination applications and paying the fees therefor in accordance with Rule 706.
Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 708(g), an applicant who does not take the oath within nine months from the date of recommendation for certification by the Committee on Character and Fitness will be required to formally update his or her application and be re-certified before licensure. Pursuant to Rule 706(h), an applicant will also be required to submit a $450 re-certification fee.