Ultimate Guide to Illinois Bar Exam

illinois bar exam prep

Illinois State Bar Exam | Basic Information

The Illinois State Bar Association was created in 1877. The voluntary organization has about 28,000 members. There are about 65,000 lawyers living in Illinois. About 38% of lawyers in Illinois are female.

Illinois is one of 30+ states that have adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) for their state bar review. Illinois first administered the UBE in July 2019.

Illinois Bar Exam Pass Rates

February 2019 (unknown)

Overall Pass Rate: unknown
First-Time Pass Rate: unknown
Repeat Pass Rate: unknown

Waiting for statistics…

July 2018 (1,895 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 70%
First-Time Pass Rate: 77%
Repeat Pass Rate: 28%

February 2018 (787 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 55%
First-Time Pass Rate: 69%
Repeat Pass Rate: 41%

July 2017 (1,877 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 74%
First-Time Pass Rate: 80%
Repeat Pass Rate: 39%

Illinois Bar Review Courses

Compare top Illinois bar exam prep courses from Crushendo, Barbri, Themis, Kaplan, AmeriBar, BarMax, AdaptiBar, and Quimbee.

CrushendoBarbriThemisKaplanAmeriBarBarMaxAdaptiBarQuimbee
Cost$240-790$2,495-4,095$1,595-2,695$2,299-3,999$895-2,545$699-1,499$395-1,065$499-1,499
MBE
MEE
MPT
MPRE
NCBE Questions2,000+100+Unknown1,200+1,400+1,905+1,700+200+
Audio Flashcards
250+ Mnemonics
Facebook Rating5/5Disabled4.8/5DisabledDisabled4.4/54.4/5Disabled
Access PeriodLifetime3 months4 months4 monthsUp to 3 yearsLifetime5-7 months3 years
Financing3 payments$250 registration
Founded20171974200819381999201020032007
Phone(385) 482-1776(888) 322-7274(888) 843-6476(626) 390-7170(877) 942-2763(800) 529-2651(877) 466-1250N/A

Crushendo’s written and audio outlines utilize 250+ proprietary mnemonics to help you memorize everything you need to know to pass the bar exam on your first try.

Crushendo’s UBE Suite costs $790 and includes 2,000+ official questions from the NCBE.

Crushendo offers lifetime access to its bar exam prep products.

Adam Balinski founded Crushendo Bar Review in 2017 (read the founding story here).

The Harcourt publishing company founded Barbri in 1974 when it acquired two bar review programs. Since its founding Barbri has been owned by large firms, including Thomson Reuters and Leeds Equity Partners.

Barbri products have been used by more than a million law school students. In the last 20 years Barbri has settled multiple antitrust lawsuits.

Barbri’s bar prep programs cost $2,495-4,095 and include 100+ official NCBE questions from past bar exams.

Barbri offers access to its online products for three months.

Themis Bar Review is based in Chicago and was founded in 2008.

Themis publishes is pass rates publicly on its website.

Themis bar prep programs cost $1,595-2,695 and include an unknown amount of NCBE questions.

Themis offers access to its online products for four months.

Stanley Kaplan founded Kaplan, Inc. in 1938.

Kaplan jumped into the bar review space in 2006 when it acquired PMBR, a company that provides test prep for the MBE. In 2008 Kaplan expanded it bar review offerings.

Kaplan’s bar prep programs cost $2,299-3,999 and include 1,200+ NCBE questions.

Kaplan offers access to its online products for four months.

Alexander Nakis founded AmeriBar in 1999. It’s headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida.

AmeriBar’s bar exam prep programs cost $895-2,545 and include 1,400+ NCBE questions.

AmeriBar offers access to its online products for up to three years.

Michael Ghaffary and Mehran Ebadolahi founded BarMax in 2010.

BarMax’s bar exam prep programs cost $699-1,499 and include 1,905+ NCBE questions.

BarMax offers lifetime access to its online products.

Tarek Fadel founded AdaptiBar in 2003.

AdaptiBar’s bar exam prep programs cost $395-1,065 and include up to 1,700+ NCBE questions.

AdaptiBar offers access to its online products for 5-7 months.

Matt Sellers founded Quimbee in 2007.

Quimbee’s bar prep programs cost $499-1,499 and include up to 200+ NCBE questions.

Quimbee offers access to its online products for 3 years.

Illinois State Bar Exam Format

What’s the format of the UBE?

The UBE is administered twice each year in Illinois (in February, and July). The examination is administered over two days, in four, three-hour sessions. The UBE has three parts: the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

MBE

The MBE is a six hour test and consists of 200 multiple choice questions that test your understanding across seven subjects. Your MBE score comprises 50% of your overall UBE score.

MEE

The MEE consists of six 30-minute legal essays. Your MEE score comprises 30% of your UBE score.

Illinois bar exam essay topics may include the following: Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Real Property, Secured Transactions, Torts, Trusts and Estates, etc.

Crushendo offers the most recent MEE questions and includes the point sheets that the graders used.

MPT

The MPT consists of two 90-minute tasks where you analyze and apply laws to specific scenarios. Your MPT score comprises 20% of your UBE score. Crushendo offers the most recent MPT questions and includes the point sheets that the graders used.

What’s the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination?

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) tests your understanding of established standards of conduct for lawyers. The MPRE is administered three times each year (in March, August, and November). The test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and is two hours long. Check out this MPRE Tips video!

Upcoming Bar Exam Schedule, Dates, Location

Schedule

MorningAfternoon
Day 1MPT (3 hours)MEE (3 hours)
Day 2MBE (3 hours)MBE (3 hours)

Dates

  • February 25-26, 2020
  • July 28-29, 2020
  • February 23-24, 2021
  • July 27-28, 2021
  • February 22-23, 2022
  • July 26-27, 2022
  • February 21-22, 2023
  • July 25-26, 2023

Locations

Chicago

Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum
725 W Roosevelt Rd
Chicago, IL 60608

or

Credit Union 1 Arena
525 S Racine Ave
Chicago, IL 60607

Illinois Bar Exam Application

Are you interested in taking the Illinois bar exam? Here’s some basic information on applying to take the Illinois bar exam.

Illinois’ application fee for first-time bar exam takers is $500, $700, or $1,000, depending on when the application is filed. The application fee for repeat takers is $500 or $850, depending on when the application is filed.

The application cost for admission on motion and UBE score transfer applicants is $1,250.

Applying for Character and Fitness certification/recertification costs $450.

*See Rule 706 for more details about fees.

To take the bar exam in February, you must submit your bar exam application by December 15th. To take the July bar exam, you must submit your application by May 15th. If you are a first-time taker you can save up to $500 by applying early. If you are a repeat taker you can save $350 by applying on time.

February Registration Deadlines

  • Early: September 15th
  • On Time: November 1st
  • Late: December 15th

July Registration Deadlines

  • Early: February 15th
  • On Time: April 1st
  • Late: May 15th

*There’s no limit on how many times you can take the bar exam in Illinois.

In addition to passing the Illinois bar exam with a score of at least 266, there are several requirements that must be met in order to be admitted as an attorney in Illinois, including:

  1. Have the equivalent of a high school diploma.
  2. Have completed 90 semester hours from an approved college.
  3. Have a law degree from a law school approved by the American Bar Association.
  4. Score 80 or higher on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) within the accepted time frame.
  5. Committee on Character & Fitness certification.

*Refer to the Illinois Supreme Court rules for more information.

Illinois Board of Admissions to The Bar

Physical address:

Illinois Board of Admissions to The Bar
625 South College Street
Springfield, Illinois 62704

Phone number: (217) 522-5917

Mailing address:

Illinois Board of Admissions to The Bar
625 South College Street
Springfield, Illinois 62704

Illinois Bar Exam: What to Bring

What to bring

  • Photo ID (a valid driver’s license, passport, or state identification card).
  • Permitted personal items.

Important notes

  • After checking in with your photo ID you will be given a photo ID badge. The badge will indicate your seating assignment and will act as your admission ticket for each of the four testing sessions. Your ID badge must be worn on your chest at all times on the test site.
  • In order to enter the testing room, you will pass through a checkpoint. At the checkpoint you are required to wear your badge, and display your permitted items in a clear, plastic bag.
  • At check-in you will be provided one clear plastic bag with which to store your permitted personal items.
  • Laptop testers may bring a 2-1/2 gallon clear plastic bag in which to carry their laptop supplies in the testing room.

Prohibited items

  • Anything not listed as a permitted item.
  • Coats, jackets, gloves, hats, umbrellas, and scarves.

Permitted items

Only these ten items may be allowed into the test room:

  1. Your photo ID badge.
  2. Your personal photo ID.
  3. Laptop equipment (first day only).
  4. Credit card and money.
  5. Transportation card.
  6. Keys.
  7. Feminine hygiene products.
  8. Eyeglasses (no cases permitted).
  9. Earplugs (no attached wires permitted).
  10. Previously-approved medical items.

Illinois Bar Exam Scores and Grading

A passing score for the UBE in Illinois is 266/400. Scores of the three tests comprising the UBE are weighted as follows:

  • MBE = 50% of your total UBE score
  • MEE = 30%
  • MPT = 20%

*A passing score for the MPRE in Illinois is 80/150.

Illinois Bar Review Course

Crushendo’s comprehensive UBE Suite comes with everything you need to crush the Illinois bar exam.

  • MBE, MEE, MPT, and MPRE Prep
  • 250+ Proprietary Mnemonics
  • 2,000+ Licensed NCBE Questions
  • Audio Flashcards
  • Lifetime Access
Learn More

Illinois Bar Exam Results

Frequently Asked Questions

When are my Illinois bar exam results released?

February bar exam results are usually posted toward the beginning of April. July bar exam results are usually posted toward the beginning of October.

Can I see my Illinois bar exam score?

You will receive an e-mail with information about your exam results. There will also be information available to you when you log in to your account on the Illinois Board of Admissions to The Bar website.

Can I appeal to have my Illinois bar exam re-graded?

No.

How many times can I take the bar exam in Illinois?

There’s no limit to how many times you can take the UBE in Illinois.

Illinois Bar Exam Reciprocity

Applicants seeking admission as an attorney in Illinois without taking the bar exam, must comply with Rule 705 of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Reciprocity Requirements Overview

The first thing you need to do is take a preliminary questionnaire for admission on motion. Once your questionnaire is approved, you may proceed with the following steps.

In order to be eligible for admission on motion in Illinois, you must:

  • Have paid the admission on motion fee ($1,250).
  • Have a law degree from an approved list of law schools.
  • Have certification from the Committee on Character and Fitness (costs $450).
  • Have passed the MPRE (unless you have practiced law for 15+ years).
  • Have an active status as an attorney in at least one jurisdiction.
  • Be a member in good standing in all of your admitted jurisdictions.
  • Have practiced law in the United States or a U.S. territory for at least three years prior to your application.
  • Provide evidence that you have practiced law for at least three of the five years prior to your application. During the 3+ years you need to have worked a minimum of 80 hours/month.
  • Have not failed the Illinois bar exam in the last five years.

Reciprocal Jurisdictions: All U.S. states and territories.

*Click here for more information on admission on motion in Illinois.

Law Schools in Illinois

Here’s a list of ABA accredited law schools in Illinois.

University of Chicago Law School

  • Founded: 1902
  • Located: Chicago, IL
  • Enrollment: About 630 students (2010)
  • Tuition Cost: ~$66,650
  • Bar Passage Rate: 98.58% (2017 first-time takers)
  • Website: law.uchicago.edu

Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology

  • Founded: 1888
  • Located: Chicago, IL
  • Enrollment: About 940 students (2011)
  • Tuition Cost: ~$48,140-$51,460
  • Bar Passage Rate: 73.53% (2018)
  • Website: kentlaw.iit.edu

DePaul University College of Law

  • Founded: 1912
  • Located: Chicago, IL
  • Enrollment: 710 (2018)
  • Tuition Cost: ~$48,670
  • Bar Passage Rate: 70.33% (2017 first-time takers)
  • Website: law.depaul.edu

University of Illinois College of Law

  • Founded: 1897
  • Located: Champaign, IL
  • Enrollment: About 640 students (2010)
  • Tuition Cost: ~$45,000
  • Bar Passage Rate: 91.12% (2018)
  • Website: law.illinois.edu

John Marshall Law School

  • Founded: 1899
  • Located: Chicago, IL
  • Enrollment: About 1,900 students
  • Tuition Cost: ~$1,500/credit hour
  • Bar Passage Rate: 62% (July 2018 first-time takers)
  • Website: jmls.uic.edu

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

  • Founded: 1908
  • Located: Chicago, IL
  • Enrollment: About 850 students (2010)
  • Tuition Cost: ~$48,570
  • Bar Passage Rate: 78.5% (2017 first-time takers)
  • Website: luc.edu/law

Northern Illinois University College of Law

  • Founded: 1975
  • Located: DeKalb, IL
  • Enrollment: About 335 students (2012)
  • Tuition Cost: ~$44,340
  • Bar Passage Rate: 84% (July 2017 first-time takers)
  • Website: niu.edu/law

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Southern Illinois University School of Law

  • Founded: 1972
  • Located: Carbondale, IL
  • Enrollment: About 270 students
  • Tuition Cost: ~$52,512
  • Bar Passage Rate: 67% (2017)
  • Website: law.siu.edu

Helpful Groups

Here are some Facebook groups you may find helpful before, and after passing the bar exam:

University of Chicago Law School

Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology

DePaul University College of Law

University of Illinois College of Law

John Marshall Law School

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Northern Illinois University College of Law

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Southern Illinois University School of Law