Washington Adopts NextGen Bar Exam

Washington is 17th State to
Adopt NextGen Bar Exam

By Adam Balinski
Updated: June 5, 2024

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON – Washington has announced plans to administer the NextGen Bar Exam starting in July 2026. This makes Washington the 17th jurisdiction to adopt this new exam format. In the meantime, Washington has set a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) passing score of 266 until the NextGen exam is implemented.

The Uniform Bar Examination: A Historical Perspective

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) recently unveiled its plans to replace the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) with what it calls the “NextGen Bar Exam.” Unlike the traditional bar exam (which focuses predominantly on memorization and multiple-choice questions), the NextGen Bar Exam aims to focus most on skills and application. As former Chief Strategy Officer for the NCBE, Kellie Early, stated, “One of the goals is to make [the bar exam] more realistic to what lawyers do in practice.”

The NCBE’s goal is to roll out the NextGen Bar Exam in 2026 and shortly thereafter sunset the UBE and all of its component parts—the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), and Multistate Performance Test (MPT). More than 40 U.S. jurisdictions have adopted the UBE and will be directly and deeply impacted, but so will non-UBE jurisdictions which have adopted the MBE, like California and every other state except Louisiana.

This may cause some MBE states to commit completely to the NCBE bandwagon, adopting NextGen to avoid having to fill the 200-question void left by the disappearing MBE. Other MBE states may part ways with NextGen altogether, administering their own updated versions of the bar exam.

For more detailed information on the NextGen Bar Exam, visit NCBE’s official website.

Want cool law school and bar exam prep study aids?

We’ve got audio outlines and audio flashcards, loaded with memory hacks, among many other nifty tools. Visit our shop page to learn more!

About the author

Adam Balinski is a former TV reporter turned attorney entrepreneur. He founded Crushendo after graduating summa cum laude from BYU Law and scoring in the top 5% nationally on the Uniform Bar Exam. Adam is currently writing a book called, “The Law School Cheat Code: Everything You Never Knew You Needed to Know About Crushing Law School.”

Related articles