Ultimate Guide to South Dakota State Bar Exam
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. South Dakota has its own bar exam that uses the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the national multiple-choice test. South Dakota uses the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), the national essay tests. South Dakota also requires the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
February 2020 (unknown takers)
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February 2019 (39 takers)
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.
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.
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
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:
- Score 85 or higher on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) within the accepted time frame.
- Certificate from Committee of Character and Fitness
South Dakota State Bar Admissions Office
Board of Bar Examiners
500 E. Capitol
Pierre, South Dakota 57501
Phone number: (605) 773-4898
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.
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 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
Here are some Facebook groups you may find helpful before, and after, passing the bar exam:
University of South Dakota School of Law
More helpful resources and study materials to help you pass the South Dakota State bar exam: