Ultimate Guide to South Dakota State Bar Exam

Your complete guide to South Dakota 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 July 2021

south dakota bar

South Dakota State Bar Exam | Basic Information

The State Bar of South Dakota was started in 1931.

South Dakota is not a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) state, because part of the South Dakota Bar Exam is jurisdiction specific. The South Dakota Bar Exam includes the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the national multiple-choice test, as well as the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). South Dakota also requires the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).

South Dakota State Bar Exam Pass Rates

February 2020 (unknown takers)

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

View detailed statistics

February 2019 (39 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 67%
First-Time Pass Rate: 75%
Repeat Pass Rate: 53%

July 2019 (65 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 80%
First-Time Pass Rate: 85%
Repeat Pass Rate: 62%

July 2018 (76 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 57%
First-Time Pass Rate: 84%
Repeat Pass Rate: 24%

South Dakota Bar Exam Format

What’s the format of the South Dakota Bar?

The South Dakota bar is administered twice each year in South Dakota (in February and July). The examination is administered over two days in four, three-hour sessions. The South Dakota bar has four parts: the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and one Indian law question. You must pass every part of the bar exam. If you fail one section, you can retake just that section in a later test.


The MBE is a six-hour test and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that test your understanding across seven subjects. You must receive a scaled score of 133 to pass the MBE portion of the bar exam.


South Dakota Bar Review Course

Crushendo’s comprehensive UBE Suite comes with everything you need to crush the MBE, MEE, and MPT on the South Dakota Bar Exam.

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


The MEE for South Dakota consists of five 30-minute legal essays.

South Dakota 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.


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

Indian Law

The Indian law section is one 30-minute essay question that tests principles of federal Indian law. This includes:

  • Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction
  • Indian Civil Rights Act
  • Indian Child Welfare Act
  • Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

The Indian law question does not include tribal or customary law.

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


Morning Afternoon
Day 1 MPT (3 hours) MEE (3 hours)
Day 2 MBE (3 hours) MBE (3 hours)


  • February 22-23, 2022
  • July 26-27, 2022
  • February 21-22, 2023
  • July 25-26, 2023


South Dakota Bar Exam Application

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

The South Dakota Bar application fee for most takers is $450.

*Visit the South Dakota State Bar’s website for more information.

If you desire to take the bar exam in February, you should submit your application by December 1.

If you desire to take the bar exam in July, you should submit your application by May 1.

In addition to passing the South Dakota bar exam by passing every section, there are several requirements that must be met in order to be admitted as an attorney in South Dakota, including:

  1. Score 85 or higher on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) within the accepted time frame.
  2. Certificate from Committee of Character and Fitness

South Dakota State Bar Admissions Office

Physical address:

Board of Bar Examiners
500 E. Capitol
Pierre, South Dakota 57501


Phone number: (605) 773-4898

South Dakota Bar Exam: What to Bring

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
  • Watches

South Dakota Bar Exam Scores and Grading

You must past every component of the South Dakota bar to pass the exam. If you fail a section, you can retake it separately.

  • Written Portion passing score is at least 75% on the MEE, MPE, and Indian bar combined
  • MBE passing score is 133

*A passing score for the MPRE in South Dakota is 85/150.

South Dakota Bar Exam Results

Frequently Asked Questions

When are my South Dakota bar exam results released?

South Dakota bar exam results are usually posted six to nine weeks after the exam date.

Can I see my South Dakota bar exam score?

If you passed the South Dakota bar exam, you won’t be able to see your score. If you failed the exam, you will receive your written examination back.

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

No. If your essay score if close to passing, it will be automatically re-graded. After scores have been released, there is no appeals process.

How many times can I take the bar exam in South Dakota?

You can take the South Dakota bar three times without special permission.

South Dakota Bar Exam Reciprocity

South Dakota has reciprocity with states and jurisdictions that have similar bar admission requirements. This includes (may be subject to change):

Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Attorneys must comply with reciprocity requirements in order to be admitted. This includes:

  • Practice law for three of the last five years
  • Graduate from an ABA-approved law school
  • Good standing
  • No failure of South Dakota bar in the previous five years
  • Pass MPRE with score of 85 or more

Law Schools in South Dakota

Here’s a list of law schools in South Dakota.

University of South Dakota Law School

  • Founded: 1901
  • Located: Vermillion, SD
  • Enrollment: about 200
  • Tuition Cost: $25,210 View tuition breakdown
  • Bar Passage Rate: 81%
  • ABA Accredited: Yes
  • Website: usd.edu/law