McGeorge School of Law

California Bar Preparation Checklist & Fees

McGeorge Students – Bar Preparation

Dates of California Bar Exam: 2019

Examination Dates Application Availability Timely Filing Final Filing Deadline
July 2019 July 30-31 March 1, 2019 April 1, 2019 June 3, 2019

CA Bar 2020-2021 Dates

Examination Dates Application Availability Timely Filing Final Filing Deadline
February 2020 Feb. 25-26 TBA TBA TBA
July 2020 July 28-29 TBA TBA TBA
February 2021 Feb. 23-24 TBA TBA TBA

Steps to Register for California Bar Exam

A law student must take several steps in order to take the bar exam and practice law in California, including those listed below. Some of the associated fees also are noted below. For a list of all fees linked to the bar exam itself, see the Fees and Charges page of the State Bar website (scroll down to "Title 4").

This information is subject to change without notice by the California State Bar, so always confirm with the current information posted at or call the State Bar Main Office at 415.538.2000.

1. Apply for Registration as a Law Student with the Committee of Bar Examiners.

This is the ~$100 fee you probably paid during your first year. You do NOT have to re-register if you did so before. If you did not register during your first year, do so now. The deadline is rolling, but the amount increases each year. This is a separate step from applying to take the bar exam (see below).

2. Take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE).

Apply and find more information at

The MPRE is administered in March, August, and November. As of 2018, it costs $125. A passing score in California currently is 86 or higher.

You do not have to pass the MPRE prior to sitting for the bar exam, but you must pass it before you can be admitted to practice. We do not recommend waiting until August after graduation to take the MPRE, because usually it is administered the weekend following the bar exam.

3. File your Moral Character Application and receive a positive determination.

This application is available at there is no deadline, but the fee increases each year. The application fee as of 2018 was $551.

The application is not difficult to complete, but it is time consuming. There are very detailed instructions that you must read carefully. You need multiple professional and personal references, including at least one member of a state bar, and the Committee WILL contact them. You must also list past residences and employment information reaching many years (sometimes decades) into the past, and you must arrange to provide live scan fingerprints. A list of fingerprinting companies is available at, but one also comes to campus each year; contact the Office of Student Affairs for more information.

You may sit for the CA Bar Exam before receiving a positive Moral Character determination, but you may not be sworn in or practice law, even if you pass the bar and MPRE. Submit your application at least six months before your expected results date (results are released in May for the February bar and in November for the July bar). The winter holiday break is a great time to secure references and complete the application.

4. File an application, take, and pass the California Bar Exam.

Application materials are available at on Oct. 1 for the February exam, and on March 1 for the July exam. As of 2018 the application fee was $677, plus $153 if you plan to use a laptop computer to take the exam.

Apply ASAP to avoid late fees and secure your spot at your preferred test center. Some locations, especially those in southern CA, fill up quickly.

Note: because McGeorge is an ABA-accredited law school, you do not need to worry about the First Year Law Students' Exam, a/k/a the "FYLSX" or the "Baby Bar."


Application for Registration as a Law Student $119
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam $125
Enrollment in a Commercial Bar Review Course (vital to successful bar preparation) about $2,000 to $4,000
Application for Determination of Moral Character $551
Application to Take the CA Bar Exam $677
Laptop Computer Fee $153
Possible miscellaneous expenses: costs associated with not working during the bar preparation period; parking and/or lodging (hotel) during the bar exam; meals during bar prep and the exam; child or dependent care during bar prep and the exam; etc.

About CA Bar Exam —

California Board of Law Examiners
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
San Francisco Telephone: 415.538.2300
Los Angeles Telephone: 213.765.1500
Fax: 415.538.2304

Bar Exam Dates

The California Bar Exam is administered on the last Wednesday, and Thursday in February and July.

CA Bar Exam Format

The California Bar Exam is a two-day exam.

First Day
  • One morning session during which three one-hour essay questions will be administered;
  • One afternoon session during which two one-hour essay questions and one 90-minute Performance Test will be administered; and
  • Morning and afternoon sessions consisting of three hours each, during which 100 multiple- choice items for each session will be administered (the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)).
Second Day — Attorneys' Examination
  • The examination will be administered over one day with the following components:
    • One morning session during which three one-hour essay questions will be administered; and
    • One afternoon session during which two one-hour essay questions and one 90-minute Performance Test will be administered.

Subjects Tested

MBE Subjects
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts/Sales
  • Criminal Law/Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Federal Civil Procedure
  • Real Property
  • Torts
California Essay Subjects
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  • CA Civil Procedure
  • Business Associations (Corporations, Agency & Partnership, and LLC)
  • California Professional Responsibility
  • California Community Property
  • California Wills & Succession
  • California Evidence
  • Remedies
  • Trusts
  • plus all MBE subjects
Performance Test

"Closed universe" practical problem using instructions, factual data, cases, statutes and other reference material supplied by examiners.

Scope of the CA Bar Exam


MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam)

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

Filing Fees and Deadlines

Applications must be filed by Nov. 3 for the February exam and April 1 for the July exam. Late applications are accepted with $50 additional fee until Nov. 30, $250 additional fee until Jan. 15 for the February exam and June 15 for the July exam.

Exam fee: $645 for general applicants

Attorney Exam fee: $937 for attorney applicants

Late filing exam fee:

  • After initial deadline: $50
  • After first late fee period expires: $250

Grading and Results

The MBE score is 35% of the total score and the essay questions and Performance Tests combine to account for 65% of the total score. A passing score of 1,440 on a 2,000 point scale is required, based on the combined scaled scores of the California Performance Test, the essay questions and the MBE.

Results from the February exam are released in mid-to-late May and from the July exam, the Friday before Thanksgiving.

Other State Bar Exams

Bar Study Loans

Bar Study Loans are available to graduating students to cover the cost of Bar Exam expenses, such as Bar application fees and living expenses incurred while studying for the Bar Exam. Bar Loans are private loans that require credit approval by independent lenders and eligibility depends on criteria established by the lender.

Not all lenders offer Bar Study Loans so you need to pursue many different lenders to find the right one for you. Since these loans are for study outside McGeorge, it is your responsibility to investigate and apply for the Bar loan amounts you need.

Websites for Bar Exam Loans 2019

Patent Bar Exam

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — the federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks.

Information on requirements for admission to the patent bar, notice of examinations, exam questions and answers, and exam results.

Commercial Courses for the Patent Bar