Recent law school graduates across the country are cramming their brains full of legal intricacies in anticipation of the dreaded bar exam. As a law school applicant, you won't need to worry about the bar exam yet. Almost every state requires aspiring lawyers to complete law school before taking the bar exam, with a few exceptions that permit structured apprenticeship programs instead, like California and Washington. Nevertheless, it is helpful to understand the test in advance and how its character and fitness requirements might impact your application.
U.S. states and territories, as well as the District of Columbia, set their own rules of admission for the bar exam. Further information about these rules can be found through the National Conference of Bar Examiners or specific state bars. Most states offer the bar exam twice a year, in February and July. These dates allow law students who graduate in either fall or spring to have a couple of months to prepare for the test. Bar exams generally take place over two days, including both state-specific tests as well as the Multistate Bar Exam, which is also known as the MBE and is common to every state except Louisiana. Bar exams typically include essays and multiple-choice questions.