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 2022

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. However, the South Dakota Bar Exam includes each component of the UBE: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

South Dakota also requires that the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) be passed in order to practice there.

South Dakota State Bar Exam Pass Rates

February 2022

Overall Pass Rate: 55%
First-Time Pass Rate: 81%
Repeat Pass Rate: 29%

February 2021 (25 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 56%
First-Time Pass Rate: unknown
Repeat Pass Rate: unknown

July 2021 (70 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 73%
First-Time Pass Rate: 73%
Repeat Pass Rate: 91%

July 2020 (61 takers)

Overall Pass Rate: 70%
First-Time Pass Rate: 76%
Repeat Pass Rate: 40%

South Dakota Bar Review Courses

Compare top South Dakota bar exam prep courses from CrushendoBarbriThemisKaplanAmeriBar, and BarMax.

Crushendo Barbri Themis Kaplan AmeriBar BarMax
*Cost $970 $1,999-4,199 $2,695 $2,199-3,999 $1,299-2,599 $1,895
Facebook Rating 5.0 Disabled 4.8 Disabled Disabled 4.3
Google Rating 5.0 N/A 2.8 3.2 N/A N/A
NCBE Questions 1,750+ 100+ 1,350+ 1,200+ 1,400+ 1,700+
Audio Flashcards
250+ Mnemonics
Access Period Lifetime 8-10 weeks 4 months 4 months Up to 3 years Lifetime
Financing 3 payments $250 registration
Founded 2017 1974 2008 1938 1999 2010
Phone (385) 482-1776 (888) 322-7274 (888) 843-6476 (626) 390-7170 (877) 942-2763 (800) 529-2651

Last updated: 1/7/23

*Cost ignores promotions and live tutoring.

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 complete bar prep course, the UBE Suite, costs $970 and includes 1,750+ official practice questions from the NCBE.

Crushendo offers lifetime access for all of 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 traditional bar prep programs cost $1,999-4,199 and some include 100+ official NCBE questions from past bar exams.

Barbri offers access to its traditional, full-time bar prep course for 8-10 weeks, but early access can be purchased.

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

Themis’s bar prep program costs $2,695 and includes 1,350+ 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 $2,199-3,999 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 $1,299-2,599 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 prep course costs $1,895 and includes 1,700+ NCBE questions.

BarMax offers lifetime access to its online products.

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.

Crushendo offers affordable, comprehensive written and audio outlines for MBE subjects (in addition to MEE and MPRE subjects).


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)


  • 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 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.

  • 1350+ Licensed NCBE MBE Practice Questions
  • Audio Attack Outlines
  • Flashcards
  • Lifetime Access

Frequently Asked Questions

When are my South Dakota bar exam results released?

*South Dakota February 2022 bar exam results.

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