Ultimate Guide to Iowa State Bar Exam

Your complete guide to Iowa bar exam prep.

Pass Rates · Bar Review Courses · Format · Essay Topics · Schedule · Dates · Location · Application Fees & Deadlines · What to Bring · Scores & Grading · Results · Reciprocity · Law Schools · Groups · Other Resources

*Updated January 2020

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Iowa State Bar Exam | Basic Information

The Iowa State Bar Association was formed in 1874, and is the oldest bar association in America. It is a voluntary association open to all licensed attorneys and current law students.

Iowa is one of 30+ states that have adopted the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). Iowa first administered the UBE in February 2016.

Iowa State Bar Exam Pass Rates

February 2019 (72 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 56%
First-Time Pass Rate: 66%
Repeat Pass Rate: 39%

February 2018 (65 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 57%
First-Time Pass Rate: 73%
Repeat Pass Rate: 36%

July 2019 (190 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 80%
First-Time Pass Rate: 87%
Repeat Pass Rate: 28%

July 2018 (185 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 80%
First-Time Pass Rate: 86%
Repeat Pass Rate: 42%

Iowa Bar Review Courses

Compare top Iowa 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 its 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 its 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.

Iowa Bar Exam Format

What’s the format of the UBE?

The UBE is administered twice each year in Iowa (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.

Iowa 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, Property, Secured Transactions, Torts, Trusts, Unincorporated Business Entities, Wills 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

Location

February Exam Location

July Exam Location

Iowa Bar Exam Application

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

The Iowa Bar application fee for most takers is $50 if you are a law student. There is a $100 late fee for applying after the late deadline. There is a $200 late fee for applying after the second late deadline. For those not in law school, the fee is $550. For those who have been previously admitted in the bar, the fee is $800.

*Visit the Iowa State Bar Admission Office’s website for more information.

Law students must apply for the bar exam by January 15th of the student’s second year of law school to have the $50 fee. If the student applies by July 1 before the February examination or by December 1 preceding the July exam. If the student files by November 1 immediately preceding the February examination or April 1 preceding the July examination, then the fee is $250.

In addition to passing the Iowa 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 Iowa, including:

  1. Score 80 or higher on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) within the accepted time frame.
  2. Certificate of Good Standing
  3. Graduation from ABA approved law school
  4. Fingerprint card

Iowa State Bar Admissions Office

Physical address:
1111 E Court Ave
Des Moines, IA 50319

Email: Bar.Admissions@iowacourts.gov

Iowa Bar Exam: What to Bring

What to bring

  • Your current driver’s license.
  • Your Bar Examination Identification & Certification Card that has your photo, NCBE number, and examinee number.

Important notes

  • You need to have these items with you for each of the four testing sessions.
  • Pens and pencils are provided to examinees.
  • Laptop testers should not bring their laptop in a case or bag.

Prohibited items

  • Any item that can connect to the internet
  • Any item that can record audio or video
  • Backpacks
  • Books
  • Briefcases
  • Calculators
  • Cameras
  • Notes
  • Phones
  • Food or drink
  • Purses
  • Radios
  • Rulers
  • Scratch papers
  • Study materials

Iowa Bar Exam Scores and Grading

A passing score for the UBE in Iowa 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 Iowa is 80/150.

Iowa Bar Review Course

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

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

Iowa Bar Exam Results

View lists of those who passed the Iowa State bar exam, posted on the Iowa State Bar Association’s website:

Frequently Asked Questions

When are my Iowa bar exam results released?

Iowa bar exam results are usually posted six to nine weeks after the exam date. February bar exam results are normally posted in April. July bar exam results are normally posted in September.

Can I see my Iowa bar exam score?

If you passed the Iowa bar exam, you won’t be able to see your score.

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

Yes, if there are extraordinary circumstances.

Iowa Bar Exam Reciprocity

Applicants seeking admission to the Iowa State Bar, without taking the bar exam, must comply with Reciprocity Requirements.

If you are a part of a bar in any of the states, territories, or jurisdictions in the United States, you are able to have reciprocity with the state of Iowa if approved by the Board. In order to be eligible for admittance to the Iowa State Bar, without taking the bar examination, you must have:

  • A Certificate of Good Standing form last state
  • Proof of active legal standing in at least five of the last seven years

Law Schools in Iowa

Here’s a list of law schools in Iowa.

Drake University Law School

  • Founded: 1865
  • Located: Des Moines, IA
  • Enrollment: about 300
  • Tuition Cost: $42,400 View tuition cost
  • Bar Passage Rate: 83%
  • ABA Accredited: Yes
  • Website: drake.edu/law

University of Iowa College of Law

Helpful Groups

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

Drake University School of Law

University of Iowa School of Law