Indiana Bar Exam

Written by: Nik Ventouris

Last updated:

Indiana Bar Exam

Passing the Indiana bar exam is an essential part of being admitted into the state’s bar and beginning a successful career practicing law.

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to get started, including:

  • The bar exam’s eligibility criteria, content, and structure
  • The steps you can take in order to give yourself the best chance of passing on your first attempt
  • The additional requirements you’ll need to satisfy in order to become admitted into the state’s bar

We’ll also briefly look at the process of getting admitted through Admission on Motion.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend Kaplan’s bar exam preparation materials, which come with a free retake guarantee, interactive and flexible learning, and lawyer-led tutoring.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan ($1,699+)

Indiana Bar Exam Overview

The Indiana bar examination is administered by the State Board of Law Examiners, which has followed the directives set by the Supreme Court of Indiana since 1931.

If you’re looking to sit this exam, you should keep in mind that it is conducted biannually, in February and July.

For first-time applicants, the registration deadline for the February exam is November 15th, while for the July exam the deadline is April 1st. Applying for either of these exam dates requires payment of $250.

Late registration is available until November 30th for the February exam and April 15th for the July exam, but this will require you to pay an additional $250 fee.

Keep in mind that in order to be eligible for the Indiana bar exam, you will need to satisfy the following criteria according to Rule 13 of the Indiana Rules of Court — Rules for Admission to the Bar:

  1. ABA Approved Law School Graduation: You will need to be a graduate of a U.S. law school that was accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) at the time of your graduation.
  2. Legal Ethics or Professional Responsibility Coursework: You are required to have completed two cumulative semester hours in legal ethics or professional responsibility at an approved law school.

Keep in mind that you may be eligible to take the bar examination before you graduate under the Early Examination Rule, as long as you satisfy the following requirements:

  • You have fewer than five hours remaining to complete your degree
  • You’re within one hundred days of graduating from an approved law school
  • You have satisfactorily passed all required coursework

Note: Admission to the bar of the Court will only be granted once all other admission requirements are met (e.g., law school graduation, etc.).

Indiana Exam Structure

Since 2021, the state of Indiana has adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), which adheres to the following structure:

Day 1:

  • Multistate Performance Test (MPT): Two 90-minute Multistate Performance Test Questions (20%)
  • Multistate Essay Examination (MEE): Six 30-minute Multistate Essay Exam questions (30%)

Day 2:

  • Multistate Bar Examination (MBE): 200-question multiple-choice exam (50%)

The UBE exam is scored out of 400 points, 264 of which need to be answered correctly in order for a candidate to receive a passing mark.

Moreover, candidates will be required to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) in order to be admitted to the Indiana bar.

Below, we’ve broken down the content and structure of each exam-related requirement in more detail.

Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

The MPT is made up of two 90-minute parts, and the materials for each part contain a “File” and a “Library.”

The File consists of source documents that contain all of the facts of a specific case.

As the examinee, the assignment that you will need to complete will be described in a memorandum from a supervising attorney.

The File can also include things like transcripts of interviews, depositions, pleadings, trials, client documents, newspaper articles, police reports, and any other similar documents.

Keep in mind that irrelevant information is generally included, and facts are sometimes incomplete, ambiguous, or even conflicting.

This is meant to mirror legal practice, in which a client’s or supervising attorney’s version of events may be unreliable or entirely incomplete. In such a scenario, you will be expected to recognize when facts are inconsistent or missing in the exam and identify sources of additional facts.

The Library part contains things like cases, statutes, and regulations, some of which may also not be relevant to the task that you will be assigned. You will need to be able to extract the legal principles required to analyze the legal problem you’ll be presented with and perform the requested task.

For more information, you can have a look at the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Instructions for Taking the MPT document.

Free summaries of MPTs from recent examinations are also offered (e.g., MPT Summaries of 2023).

Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)

The MEE consists of six 30-minute sections that can cover a variety of legal areas, including:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Business Associations (e.g., Agency and Partnership, LLCs, Corporations, etc.)
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contract Law
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Torts
  • Trust and Estates

Keep in mind that questions can often include issues in more than one area of law. This means that it’ll be important to ensure that you have a “wide” range of understanding rather than a deep focus on one or two subjects.

Note: For more information, have a look at the NCBE’s official Instructions for Taking the MEE document or check out a few official MEE questions.

Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

The MBE is made up of 200 multiple-choice questions, which are broken down into 175 scored questions and 25 unscored questions.

The exam is broken down into two three-hour sections, with one administered in the morning and one in the afternoon, both of which contain 100 questions each.

Keep in mind that there are no scheduled breaks during either one of the sections.

All 175 scored questions on the exam are distributed evenly, with 25 questions being attributed to each of the following seven topics:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Contract Law
  • Real Property
  • Tort Law
  • Evidence
  • Criminal Law and Procedure

Each question on the MBE exam will have four potential answers. You should choose what you believe is the best answer — keep in mind that scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly, and points are not subtracted for answering incorrectly.

If you want to have a look at the exact format, you can have a look at the NCBE’s official MBE Sample Test Questions document.

Recommended Course

Interested in getting started? We recommend Kaplan’s bar exam preparation materials, which come with a free retake guarantee, interactive and flexible learning, and lawyer-led tutoring.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan ($1,699+)

Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

The MPRE is made up of 60 multiple-choice questions (50 scored questions and 10 unscored questions) and is administered via Pearson VUE.

Like the MBE exam, each question offers four possible answers, one of which is correct.

The exam’s content is based on law that relates to the conduct and discipline of attorneys and judges and includes the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct and Model Code of Judicial Conduct, as well as important constitutional common law and generally accepted principles.

In relation to questions of professional responsibility in the context of evidentiary issues (e.g., litigation sanctions, attorney-client evidentiary privilege, etc.), the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence will apply unless otherwise stated.

Note: You will have two hours to complete the MPRE exam in its entirety.

Applicants must achieve a scaled score of eighty (80) on the MPRE, which can be accomplished up to two years before taking the Indiana Bar Examination.

For more information, we recommend having a look at the NCBE’s Official Sample Test Questions document. A holistic Subject Matter Outline is also offered.

How to Pass the Indiana Bar Exam

In order to give yourself the best chance of passing the Indiana UBE exam on your first attempt, it’s important to take enough time to make sure that you are adequately prepared.

Indiana Bar Exam Tips

Despite the infamous difficulty of Indiana’s bar exam, passing it on your first attempt is definitely possible with the right tools and preparation techniques.

Below, we’ve broken down a few key tips that should aid you in your licensing journey:

  • Start Strong in Your First Year: This is important due to the fundamental areas of law practice that the first year of law school generally covers, such as Contract Law, Tort, and Constitutional Law
  • Leverage Academic Support: If your law school offers additional support services that are aimed at improving your preparation, we recommend utilizing these as much as possible. This can involve one-on-one tutoring, academic counseling, and mock exam programs
  • Obtain Practical Legal Experience: If possible, we recommend gaining as much practical experience as you can during law school (i.e., through summer internships, mock trials, etc.). This is because this can go a long way in cementing your legal knowledge
  • Adopt a Broad Study Approach: When studying for the bar, you should aim for a wide-ranging understanding of various subjects rather than an in-depth study of a few. This is important due to the huge amount of content that you will need to learn and/or will be tested on

Most importantly, make sure you remain consistent so that you do not have to resort to last-minute cramming.

Research has shown that we are able to retain a higher degree of information – and more easily – when revisiting old content in comparison to when learning it for the first time. This is known as Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend Kaplan’s bar exam preparation materials, which come with a free retake guarantee, interactive and flexible learning, and lawyer-led tutoring.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan ($1,699+)

Other Indiana Bar Requirements

Apart from qualifying for and passing the Indiana bar exam, there are several other requirements you will need to meet in order to become and/or remain a licensed attorney in the state, including:

  1. Complete the Continuing Legal Education Requirements
  2. Pass the Character and Fitness Evaluation
  3. Complete the Indiana Law Course

1. Continuing Legal Education Requirements

After passing the Indiana Bar Examination, you will be required to complete a specific set of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements.

According to the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Rules (Admission and Discipline Rule 29), you will be required to finish 36 hours of approved educational programs within the first three years of being admitted into the state’s Bar.

Out of these 36 hours, at least six must be dedicated to an “Applied Professionalism Course” or a CLE Commission-approved mentoring program.

Furthermore, you will be required to fulfill a minimum of six CLE hours annually during this three-year span in order to ensure consistent professional development.

 Note: If you have been practicing law in another state for at least five years prior to your admission in Indiana, you may be eligible for an exemption from the Applied Professionalism Course. For more detailed information, refer to the Indiana Courts’ CLE Brochure.

2. Character and Fitness Evaluation

To be admitted to the Indiana Bar, you will have to undergo a comprehensive Character and Fitness evaluation, which requires you to submit detailed personal information such as your criminal history records, prior academic discipline, and employment background.

The evaluation also involves an in-person interview which is conducted by the Committee on Character and Fitness, where your mental and physical suitability for the demands of legal practice will be assessed.

The Board’s assessment culminates in one of several findings:

  • The applicant meets all criteria for good moral character and fitness, and general qualifications for admission to practice law in Indiana
  • The applicant fails to demonstrate these qualities, potentially leading to a prohibition on reapplying for admission, or a stipulated time before reapplication is allowed
  • In cases where concerns about moral character and fitness arise due to issues like substance abuse or psychological problems, the Board might grant conditional admission for up to five years, subject to specific terms set by the Board
  • If such concerns are present, the Board might defer admission for up to two years, allowing time for the applicant to demonstrate rehabilitation
  • In instances where recent behavior raises concerns, the Board might extend the evaluation period up to one year, during which the applicant may still be allowed to take any bar examination

Note: It is the opinion of the Indiana Board of Examiners that any individual explicitly advocating for the overthrow of the government is incompatible with the ethical standards expected of legal practitioners.

3. Indiana Law Course Requirement

As a newly admitted attorney to the Indiana bar, you will be required to complete the Indiana Law Course within six months of your admission.

This course, which is delivered online, takes eight hours to complete and is divided into nine self-contained modules, with each module focusing on a different aspect of Indiana law (e.g., Indiana constitutional law, etc).

Keep in mind that the course doesn’t include a formal test. Instead, to track and validate your participation and completion of the course, sophisticated attendance verification methods are employed which ensure that you have actively engaged with each module’s content (e.g., participation codes, etc.).

After you complete the course, your attendance and completion status will be automatically reported to the Office of Admissions and Continuing Education.

Note: The Indiana Law Course is taught by experienced legal professionals from the Indiana Bench and Bar, providing valuable insights into the specificities of practicing law within the state.

Admission on Foreign License

If you are an experienced lawyer from out of state, you may be eligible for entry into the Indiana bar without having to retake the bar exam through a process known as Admission on Foreign License, or Reciprocity.

To qualify for a provisional license to practice law in Indiana under this rule, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Active Engagement in Legal Practice: You must have actively engaged in the practice of law for at least five of the seven years immediately preceding your application
  • Location and Type of Practice: Your legal practice must have been primarily in the state where you are licensed, unless your practice falls under teaching law or working with the federal government
  • Good Standing: You must be a member in good standing of the bar in all jurisdictions where you are admitted
  • Public Interest: Your admission must be deemed to serve the public interest by the Indiana Board of Law examiners
  • Bar Examination Performance: You must not have failed the Indiana bar examination or scored below 264 on the Uniform Bar Examination in any jurisdiction within five years of your application
  • Intent to Practice in Indiana: An affidavit must be filed indicating your intent to predominantly engage in the practice of law in Indiana. Keep in mind that “predominantly” implies that your practice in Indiana must exceed or be equal to your practice in all other jurisdictions combined

You will additionally have to meet all of the educational and character and fitness requirements that have been discussed in the previous sections.

Note: Indiana does not have formal reciprocity agreements with other states for lawyer licensing, making the Admission on Foreign License the only pathway for out-of-state lawyers to gain admittance to the bar.

For more comprehensive information on reciprocity, you can refer to the specific section on Admission on Foreign License under the “Rules for Admission to the Bar and the Discipline of Attorneys” on the Indiana Courts website.

Indiana Bar Exam FAQ

Can you take the bar without going to law school in Indiana?

No, in Indiana, the regulations intend that all bar exam candidates must first graduate from an ABA-approved law school. This requirement is a fundamental prerequisite as per the Indiana Rules of Court. Interested in finding out more? Check out our What is the Bar Exam article.

How long is the Indiana bar exam?

The Indiana bar exam spans two days. On the first day, candidates engage with the Multistate Performance Test and Multistate Essay Examination (Indiana Essay Exam), where details of legal analysis and application are tested. The second day is reserved for the Multistate Bar Examination, which is designed to determine a candidate’s understanding across a wide range of legal topics.

How hard is it to pass the Indiana state bar examination?

Passing the Indiana State bar examination can be challenging but is achievable with thorough preparation. The exam, following the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) format, tests a wide range of legal subjects, including Trusts, Wills, and Administrative Law, along with other fundamental areas.

How much does the IN bar exam cost?

For first-time applicants, the fee for the Indiana bar exam is $250. However, late registration doubles this fee to $500. This cost is the same regardless of whether you decide to take your bar exam during February or July.