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FAQs Regarding the Bar Exam in Massachusetts

The following frequently asked questions provide critical information, supplementing the information and instructions that petitioners for admission will receive by e-mail from the Board of Bar Examiners and ExamSoft regarding the Massachusetts administration of the Uniform Bar Exam. Petitioners for admission are expected to monitor e-mail regularly for time-sensitive notifications, required actions, and instructions from the Board of Bar Examiners and ExamSoft.

Examinees are expected to demonstrate integrity, honor, and ethical behavior during all exam sessions, and throughout the bar admissions process.

FEBRUARY 2023 EXAMINEES - Results will be released in April. Failure to complete the MLC by the deadline (March 31) may delay your admission to the bar.

JULY 2023 EXAMINEES - The filing period will open on Monday, April 10, 2023 and close on Monday, May 8, 2023. Petitions for Admission by Examination filed before Monday, April 10, 2023 will not be accepted.

Table of Contents

Before the Exam

What information and documentation are required to file a Petition for Admission by Examination?

More information about the filing requirements can be found in the Guide to Filing a Petition For Admission by Examination. Additionally, a sample Petition can be found here. Please note that this document is for reference purposes only, so that you may collect the necessary information and documentation in advance of filing; petitioners should not submit this document to the Court as their Petition for Admission by Examination. All Petitions for Admission to the bar must be submitted to the SJC Clerk's Office for the County of Suffolk via e-file. Please review the Guide to Filing for detailed instructions on how to file your petition.

What additional health and safety requirements are in place for the bar exam?

Health and safety requirements may be subject to change based on state and local regulations. The Board of Bar Examiners will inform examinees of requirements as they become available.

Are additional registration steps required, beyond my Petition for Admission to the Massachusetts bar?

Applicant Portal

All examinees will receive an email containing information regarding the Bar Applicant Portal. First-time examinees will receive an email containing registration instructions for the Portal. Repeat examinees will receive a reminder email with the Portal link and their username. This registration email will be sent approximately one month after the filing deadline for that exam.

NOTE: Emails from the Applicant Portal are often flagged by spam filters, especially with school-affiliated emails, which tend to have stricter filters. We recommend regularly checking your spam folder and, when possible, using a personal email, such as a Gmail or Yahoo account, rather than a [school].edu email.

Your Portal account will be used throughout the bar admission process: to upload documents, complete the Massachusetts Law Component (see below for details), and communicate with the Board. 

If you have previously registered and created an account for the Bar Applicant Portal, there is no need to register again.  You may use your login credentials to access information regarding the upcoming bar exam. Examinees who successfully completed the MLC for a prior exam administration have completed this requirement; the Code of Conduct and Examinee Guidelines must be submitted for each exam.


Examinees who opt to type their responses for the written portions of the exam will receive an email from ExamSoft when laptop registration opens.  There is a fee to register for the ExamSoft software, to be paid directly to ExamSoft.  Examinees that have previously used the Examplify software must uninstall previous versions and re-register with ExamSoft.

What is the minimum passing score for Massachusetts admission?

The minimum passing score on the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) for Massachusetts is 270.

What content will be tested for the UBE?

The Uniform Bar Exam is comprised of 200 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) multiple-choice questions, six Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) questions, and two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) items. A complete description of the subject matter tested on each segment of the Uniform Bar Exam (MBE, MEE, MPT) is available at ncbex.org/exams/ube/.  

What is the format for the exam?

The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) will be administered on Tuesday morning.  The Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) will be administered Tuesday afternoon.  Exam answer files must be uploaded immediately after the exam session, for those typing their responses. Candidates will not be permitted to exit the examination at the end of the day until exam responses from both test sessions have been uploaded.

The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) will be administered over two test sessions on Wednesday.  Each session will include 100 multiple-choice questions, to be answered on Scantron bubble sheets.

The questions for all portions of the exam will be provided in hard-copy paper booklets. Examinees will have the option to either handwrite or type their responses to the written portions of the exam.  

What is the Massachusetts Law Component (MLC)?

The Massachusetts Law Component is a separate examination on Massachusetts-specific law.

Examinees will have access to the MLC and the corresponding outlines through the Bar Applicant Portal.

It is strongly recommended that examinees complete the MLC after sitting for the bar examination. The deadline to complete the MLC is September 30 for the July bar examination and March 31 for the February bar examination.

The MLC consists of 50 multiple choice questions regarding 10 areas of Massachusetts law.

The MLC is an open book, online examination.

Applicants must correctly answer 40 out of 50 questions. Unsuccessful examinees may retake the MLC after a 24-hour waiting period.

There are no fees associated with the MLC, no limits on the number of times an examinee may attempt the MLC, and examinees receive their results instantly upon submitting the exam.

What technology will I need to use my laptop?

Examinees may opt to use a laptop for the MEE and MPT.  Examinees must ensure in advance that their technology is fully functional, and meets or exceeds ExamSoft’s system requirements for the exam.  The minimum system requirements can be found at examsoft.com/mabar

Important note - Examinees using computers that do not meet Minimum Systems Requirements (MSR) do so at their own risk.  Technical difficulties resulting from failure to meet MSR are the sole responsibility of the examinee.  Such issues may result in the examinee handwriting the remainder of the exam session.

Prior versions of Examplify that may be on your device (such as from law school or a prior bar exam) must be uninstalled prior to registering your device with ExamSoft.  Failure to do so will increase the risk of technical difficulties and/or functionality issues during the bar exam. 

Technical issues encountered during the exam sessions that cannot be immediately resolved will result in the examinee handwriting the remainder of the exam session.

Please note there is a fee paid directly to ExamSoft when registering. This fee applies to all examinees typing their MEE and MPT responses; filing fee waivers are not applicable to this charge.

Tip:  Be sure that your device's operating system is completely up-to-date before registering with ExamSoft. Internet access will be provided at the beginning and at the end of each exam session.  Internet connectivity is disabled during testing. Examinees must be able to access public Wi-Fi at the examination in order to upload their MPT and MEE responses.

General information about Examplify for bar exams may be found at bar.examsoft.com.

NOTE: the "Feedback" requested at the end of an exam session is not for reporting technical support issues.  This is for product feedback only.

Can external computer devices/accessories be used?

Examinees are permitted to use an external mouse and/or external keyboard. You must complete the Examplify mock exam with the equipment that you plan on using to test compatibility. Other computer equipment must be pre-approved by the BBE; examinees should submit the Computer Equipment Request Form found on the Applicant Portal. This form is due 3 weeks before the first day of the bar exam.

Elevated laptop stands will only be permitted as an accommodation for a disability. Examinees who need such an accommodation should complete the accommodation forms rather than the computer equipment request form.

Laptop bags or cases are not permitted in the testing area and should be left at home or checked at the bag storage area.

Can I practice using the software beforehand?

Yes.  In advance of the bar exam, examinees will be required to fully complete the mandatory mock exam with the Examplify software, to familiarize themselves with the testing features and functionality of the application.  You may take the mock exam more than once.  Instructions will be provided by ExamSoft. 

Examinees who do not successfully complete the required mock exam by the deadline may be required to handwrite their MEE and MPT responses.  Specific deadlines will be sent via email notices from the Board of Bar Examiners.

Can I withdraw my Petition for Admission by Examination?

Yes.  You may withdraw your Petition for Admission by submitting a Motion to Withdraw from the Examination to the Supreme Judicial Court referencing your existing Petition.  Please be advised, you will be required to submit a new Petition for Admission if you choose to file in the future.  

Additional Resources for Before the Exam

Exam Administration Questions

When is the exam?

The test schedule for the standard administration of the exam is as follows:

Tuesday AM Multistate Performance Test (MPT) 1 & 2 9:30-12:30
Tuesday PM Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) 1-6 2:00-5:00
Wednesday AM Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) 1-100 9:30-12:30
Wednesday PM Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) 101-200 2:00-5:00

All times are Eastern Time.  

Examinees pre-approved for accommodated testing conditions will be notified by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners of their respective testing schedules.

More detailed scheduling information, such as when doors open, will be communicated to examinees closer to the exam.

Upcoming exams will take place:

2023: February 21-22; July 25-26
2024: February 27-28; July 30-31
2025: February 25-26; July 29-30

What testing conditions are required?

Examinees are expected to demonstrate integrity, honor, and ethical behavior during all exam sessions, including mock exams.

What can I have/not have during the examination?

A list of items that are required, permitted, or prohibited can be found here. Updated lists will be emailed to petitioners prior to the examination.

Where can I have my phone?

Examinees may have a phone, turned off and secured in a Yondr pouch (provided at the Boston test site each day by the Board of Bar Examiners), at their seat all day. Other electronic devices, aside from laptop computers on day one of testing, are not permitted. 

May I use earplugs?

The Board of Bar Examiners will provide foam earplugs at the exam site.

Must I wear a mask?

The Board of Bar Examiners will follow the health and safety requirements in place at the time of the bar exam. At this time, masks are strongly recommended, but are not required. Should state or local ordinances pertaining to indoor mask use change leading up to the exam, the BBE’s mask policy would change accordingly.

May I wear a head covering?

Examinees are not permitted to wear a head covering during an exam session except for religious or medical reasons, in which case the head covering may not have a brim or otherwise obscure the examinee’s eyes, face, or ears. Pre-approval is not required for head coverings worn for a religious or medical reason.

May I eat or have medication during the exam?

Applicants must submit a health-related condition form (below) to have food, medication (prescription and over-the-counter), and/or medical devices in the testing area during the exam. The health-related condition form must be submitted no later than three weeks before the first day of the exam.

May I use scratch paper during the exam?

Scratch paper will be provided for the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and Multistate Essay Exam (MEE).  Any scratch paper used during the MPT or MEE will be removed from the testing area prior to the next exam session.

Scratch paper and pens are not permitted during the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). 

Will technical support be available?

Yes.  ExamSoft will have technical assistance available on-site before and after each exam session. 

Additional Resources for Exam Takers

Exam Taking process and best practices:

Additional Resources for Exam Administration Questions

Post Examination Questions

When will I know my results?

The Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners anticipates releasing the results of the February 2023 Bar Exam in AprilThe email will include information about next steps, a breakdown of the scores, and the total score. Following the release of results, the names of passing examinees will be posted on the website of the Board of Bar Examiners as required by Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:01.

When do I need to complete the Massachusetts Law Component (MLC) exam?

July examinees must successfully complete the MLC by September 30.

February examinees must successfully complete the MLC by March 31.

Failure to complete the MLC by the dates above may result in a delay in bar admission.  Petitioners will receive additional details about this requirement from the Board of Bar Examiners and through the Massachusetts Bar Applicant Portal.

When will the formal admission ceremonies take place?

Examinees who are successful on the Bar Exam and satisfy all other admission requirements will be contacted by the Supreme Judicial Court regarding formal admission ceremonies.

When can I uninstall the Examplify software?

Examinees should keep the Examplify software on their computers until they receive exam results.

How can I transfer a UBE score?

The transfer of the Uniform Bar Exam score in support of admission applications in other UBE jurisdictions is handled by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.  See ncbex.org/ncbe-exam-score-services/ube-score-services/ for more information.

Can I obtain copies of my essay answers?

If a passing score is not achieved, an examinee may request a copy of their Multistate Essay Exam and Multistate Performance Test responses.  These instructions are provided in the email with bar exam results.

Will future Massachusetts bar examinations be administered remotely?

The remote October 2020, February 2021, and July 2021 Massachusetts exams were in response to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board of Bar Examiners will administer future bar exams in person. 

Key Actions for Post Examination Questions

Non-Standard Testing Accommodations

What information or documentation is required to apply for testing accommodations?

The specific requirements will vary depending on the nature of the condition for which accommodations are sought. At the minimum, all applicants for testing accommodations must submit

  1. Form 1, the Application for Nonstandard Test Accommodations
  2. At least one of Forms 2-4, which each pertains to different types of disabilities (Mental Disability, Visual Disability, and Physical Disability). You may submit more than one of these if applicable.
  3. A comprehensive evaluation report and/or relevant records. The specific reports/records will differ depending on the condition.

Optional: You may provide a personal narrative, describing when you first became impaired by your disability, when you were first diagnosed, how your disability impacts your daily life activities including your educational and testing functions, and how your disability affects your ability to take the bar examination under standard conditions. This is not required, however it is helpful particularly for applicants who do not have a substantial history of accommodations.

If you have applied for accommodations in the past, you must also provide Form 5, the Certification of Accommodations History, and/or a letter issued by testing agencies (such as LSAC, NCBE, etc.) verifying what accommodations have been approved or denied.

A checklist can be found in Form 1.

When is the application for testing accommodations due?

Applications for accommodations for a July bar exam will be due by the close of business April 1 of that year.

Applications for accommodations for a February bar exam will be due by the close of business November 1 of the previous year.

In the event that results for a July exam are released after November 1 or February results are released after April 1, examinees sitting for the immediate prior exam in Massachusetts will be allowed to apply for accommodations up to two weeks following the release of results. All others must meet the November 1 or April 1 deadline.

Should November 1 or April 1 fall on a weekend, the deadline would be extended to the close of business the following Monday.

When should I begin preparing my application?

Applications for testing accommodations can be submitted up to six months in advance of the exam you anticipate sitting (i.e., no earlier than January for a July exam, and no earlier than August for a February exam).

NOTE: Your application will require information and/or documentation from third-party institutions, which may include your health care provider(s), undergraduate institution, law school, standardized testing agencies, and others. It is your responsibility to collect this information by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

How can I submit my application?

You may mail or hand-deliver your application for accommodations to the following address: Board of Bar Examiners, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Suite 5-140, Boston, MA 02108.

If you wish to send your application electronically, please contact accessibility@bbe.state.ma.us and provide

  1. Your full name
  2. Your NCBE number
  3. The email address that you wish to have associated with your account (a non-school email address is preferable), and
  4. Your phone number.

You will receive an invitation within 7 business days to register for the Applicant Portal, with instructions for how to upload your application.

When should I expect a decision on my accommodations?

Accommodations requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, an application packet may be referred to an independent consultant to fully evaluate the request. As a result, a decision may be returned as quickly as a few days after an application is received, and may take as long as a few weeks. Accommodations decisions will be sent via email.

Please note that the BBE typically receives a high volume of applications in the two weeks leading up to the deadline, and due to this volume, it typically takes longer to review these requests; submitting your application earlier may help to expedite the process.

What are my options if my application for accommodations is denied?

Applicants whose requests for testing accommodations have been denied may request reconsideration.  Requests for reconsideration must be submitted in writing and received by the Board of Bar Examiners no later than two weeks from the date of the decision.  Requests for reconsideration must include additional information in support of your eligibility for non-standard testing accommodations not included in the NTA Application previously submitted. 

What is the difference between an arrangement for a health-related condition and a testing accommodation?

If you have a health-related condition that can be addressed in a standard testing room and without deviation from the standard testing schedule, you do not need to apply for accommodations, and should instead complete the Special Arrangement for a Health-Related Condition form. Such arrangements may include: accessing medication during testing; use of an assistive device such as lumbar support, diabetic supplies, or a lactation pump; or access to food during testing due to a medical condition.

A testing accommodation is an adjustment or modification to the standard testing conditions, including the testing schedule and testing room. If your request includes extra testing time, additional breaks, and/or a testing environment with fewer examinees, then you must submit a complete application for testing accommodations.

What should I do if a need for accommodations arises after the application deadline?

If a major injury occurs or a newly emergent condition develops after the deadline for accommodations, you should contact the BBE immediately at accessibility@bbe.state.ma.us or 617-482-4466. The BBE has an obligation to engage in due diligence in fully evaluating requests for accommodations. Depending on when the request is made and the nature of the request, it may not be possible to fully review a late request or to make the necessary arrangements.

Petitioners who are unable to sit for the exam due to a medical condition should contact the SJC Clerk’s Office for information about requesting a fee waiver for the next exam.

What if I am unable to obtain certain records?

Applicants should make all reasonable efforts to obtain the relevant documentation. If records have been destroyed, the applicant should provide a letter from the records custodian confirming such.

Is accommodated testing available at each test site?

Due to space and logistical limitations, accommodated testing may not be available at all test sites. Examinees who have been approved for accommodations will be notified of their test location.

Additional Resources for Non-Standard Testing Accommodations

October 2020 Remote Exam & Reciprocity

Which jurisdictions are reciprocal for the October 2020 Massachusetts remote bar exam? 

The following jurisdictions will accept qualifying scores earned in Massachusetts for the October 2020 remote bar exam:

  • Connecticut
  • Kentucky
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virgin Islands
  • Washington, DC

How do I transfer my October 2020 exam score from Massachusetts to another jurisdiction?

As part of the reciprocity agreement, scores were automatically shared among these jurisdictions; October 2020 examinees should not contact NCBE to transfer their scores, and should instead contact the jurisdiction where they are planning on applying for more information and to ensure that their score has already been received.

How do I transfer my October 2020 exam score from another jurisdiction to Massachusetts?

Examinees who sat for the October 2020 bar exam in one of the jurisdictions listed above and earned a score of 270 or greater should refer to the instructions pertaining to the Petition for Admission by UBE Transfer. Petitions must be filed within 36 months of the exam - no later than October 2023. October 2020 examinees should not contact NCBE to transfer their scores; the jurisdiciton in which you sat should have automatically sent your score to Massachusetts.

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