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NY Bar Exam vs. UBE - What's the Difference?

Published June 5, 2018

Overall, the NY bar exam and the uniform bar exam are quite similar. The only difference is the section of the NY bar exam that specifically related to NY law. This NY-specific section was equal to 50% of test takers’ total score. Now, the entire test is graded on UBE knowledge and skills.

The New York Bar Exam

The New York bar exam was discontinued in February 2016. Previously, examinees were required to complete the following:

  • 200 questions on the MBE (40% of grade)
  • 1 MPT (10%)
  • 50 multiple choice questions on NY law (10%)
  • 5 essays on NY law (40%)

The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE)

The uniform bar exam gives lawyers more flexibility in where they take the bar exam and where they actually practice law. UBE scores can be used to apply for admission in any state that has adopted the UBE.

However, like the additional NY requirements listed above, UBE jurisdictions each have their own additional requirements you must complete before you can practice law.

The UBE consists of three sections and covers a wide variety of legal knowledge and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate in practice.

MBE - multistate bar examination

  1. 200 questions
  2. 50% of grade
  3. 7 subjects:
  • Evidence
  • Constitutional Law
  • Torts
  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Contracts
  • Real Property

MEE - multistate essay examination

  1. 6 essays on “fundamental principles of law”
  2. 30% of grade
  3. 17 subjects:
  • All MBE topic
  • Family Law
  • Decedents’ Estate
  • Future Interests
  • Corporations
  • LLCs
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Trusts
  • Agency
  • Partnership
  • UCC Article 9

MPT - multistate performance test

  1. 2 MPTs
  2. 20% of grade

NY Bar Exam vs. UBE

To break it down, here are the major differences:

NY Bar Exam 

Same multiple choice questions
5 essays on NY law
1 performance test
50 additional questions on NY law


Same multiple choice questions
6 general essays
2 performance tests

And while the NY bar exam was changed from in its original formatin 2016, aspiring lawyers must still meet New York’s specific requirements if they want to practice in the state.

For more information on the bar exam, check out the resources below!

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Guest blogger Ashley Wilson-Rew is Content Strategist & SEM at protocol 80, Inc.


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University at Buffalo School of Law
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