Nevada Bar Exam

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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Nevada Bar Exam

Passing the Nevada 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

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Nevada Bar Exam Overview

The Nevada bar exam is administered by the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners, under the authority of the Supreme Court of Nevada.

In addition to administering the state bar exam, the Board is also responsible for setting the qualifications for admission to practice law in the state — such as the educational, age, and moral requirements discussed in the list below.

The exam is conducted biannually over three consecutive days in February and July each year.

Regarding registration timelines, candidates hoping to take the February exam must submit an application by October 1 to meet the early deadline, or by December 1 for the final deadline. Similarly, for the July exam, candidates will have until March 1 for early submissions and May 1 for the final deadline.

Submitting an application by the early deadline will cost $755 for student applicants and $1,055 for attorney applicants, though these fees rise to $1,305 and $1,605 for students and attorneys respectively if filings are made after the early deadline.

It is important to note that late filing is not available in Nevada — if you submit your application after the final deadline, it will not be accepted.

Keep in mind that in order to be eligible for the Nevada bar examination, you will need to satisfy the following criteria according to Rule 51 of the Nevada Supreme Court regulations:

  • Minimum Age Requirement: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, ensuring they are legally recognized as adults
  • Educational Qualification: Applicants are required to have received a Juris Doctor (JD) degree or its equivalent from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), and be able to provide satisfactory evidence of this
  • Professional Conduct: Applicants must demonstrate a clean history of professional conduct, meaning they have not been refused admission or disbarred on the grounds of unfitness of character in any state, or before any court or governmental agency in the United States

Note: Foreign-educated applicants and other non-ABA law graduates may seek a functional equivalency certification in order to apply for admission to the State Bar of Nevada.

Nevada Exam Structure

The Nevada bar exam is divided into three key sections, each aimed at thoroughly evaluating a candidate’s preparedness for legal practice within Nevada.

The components of the bar exam are as follows:

Day 1:

  • Nevada Essays: Six one-hour essay questions

Day 2:

  • Multistate Bar Examination (MBE): 200-question multiple-choice questions conducted over six hours

Day 3:

  • Nevada Performance Tests: Two 2-hour essay questions

To successfully pass the exam, candidates are required to attain a minimum total scale score of 75, which must include achieving a scale score of 75 on at least three of the essay questions.

Moreover, candidates will be required to achieve a scaled score of 85 or higher on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) in order to be eligible for the Nevada bar.

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

Nevada Essays

The examination begins with six one-hour essay questions, set in an open-book format, prepared by the Board of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of Nevada.

The content of the essays spans a broad range of legal topics, including but not limited to:

  • Legal ethics
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Property
  • Torts
  • Civil Procedure

This structure is designed to assess a candidate’s ability to analyze and apply legal concepts in a manner reflective of actual legal practice.

Importantly, each essay question evaluates how deep each candidate’s understanding of Nevada law and fundamental legal principles is, often covering multiple practice areas in a single question.

Keep in mind that you’ll be allowed to use printed materials for reference during this portion of the exam, though access to the internet is not permitted.

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Multistate Bar Examination

Following the Nevada Essays, the second part of the Nevada Bar Exam is the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which is administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. This segment 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 Rules
  • 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.

Nevada Performance Tests

The third component of this state’s bar exam, the Nevada Performance Tests (NPTs), focus on the practical application of legal skills in a real-world context.

Each candidate will be required to answer two essay questions, each lasting two hours, in a closed-book setting that aims to simulate the challenges of legal practice.

The Board of Bar Examiners crafts the questions contained within this section to assess the following skills in particular:

  • Factual analysis and legal reasoning: Applying law to facts in problem-solving contexts
  • Written communication: Articulating legal arguments and solutions clearly and persuasively
  • Ethical considerations: Identifying and navigating ethical dilemmas in legal practice scenarios

Moreover, this component will evaluate your readiness for the practical aspects of lawyering, complementing the theoretical and knowledge-based testing of the Nevada Essays and the MBE.

It underscores the importance of translating legal knowledge into actionable, ethical, and effective practice, and having a solid understanding of both the Nevada rules and fundamental legal principles.

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.

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 Nevada Bar Exam

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

Nevada Bar Exam Tips

Despite the infamous difficulty of Nevada’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 Contracts, 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.

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Other Nevada Bar Requirements

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

  • Passing the Character and Fitness Evaluation
  • Completing the Transitioning into Practice Program

Character and Fitness Evaluation

After passing the bar exam, applicants must undergo a character and fitness evaluation conducted by the Committee on Character and Fitness.

The evaluation process is thorough, and involves a number of detailed background checks into your past conduct in order to identify any potential concerns regarding your suitability to practice law in this state.

To help with this, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) is tasked with carrying out these investigations and producing confidential reports on their findings to help the Committee make a decision on whether you possess the qualities needed to maintain this profession’s integrity.

This report into your character and fitness is kept confidential, though may be disclosed to you if the NCBE discovers any potentially problematic conduct on your record that warrants a hearing.

Note: Not all negative conduct will immediately result in your application’s denial, as conditional admission is often offered to applicants with serious character and fitness concerns where the Board feels it’s appropriate.

Transitioning into Practice Program

Upon admission to the State Bar of Nevada, new attorneys must enroll in the Transitioning into Practice (TIP) Program, a structured mentorship designed to bridge the gap between academic study and practical law practice.

This requirement substitutes the need for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits in the initial year of admission and the following full calendar year, directing focus instead on hands-on learning and professional development.

As part of the TIP Program, new attorneys are required to engage with mentors — these are seasoned Nevada attorneys with a minimum of seven years’ experience, who have also been vetted and appointed by the Supreme Court of Nevada.

These mentors are tasked with guiding new attorneys through the intricacies of Nevada’s legal procedures, ethics, and professionalism, aiming to refine practical skills essential for effective legal practice.

Enrollment in TIP is required within four weeks of bar admission, commencing a six-month mentorship that includes a mix of required and elective activities tailored to the new lawyer’s interests and intended area of practice.

Note: For detailed information on the Transitioning into Practice Program, guidelines, and enrollment, visit the official TIP page on the State Bar of Nevada’s website.

Nevada Bar Exam FAQ

How hard is the bar exam in Nevada?

The difficulty of navigating the comprehensive sections the Nevada bar exam consists of varies by individual, highlighting the necessity for thorough preparation. Success depends on understanding both fundamental legal principles and Nevada law, which are rigorously tested across various segments, including the Nevada Performance Test.

What is the pass rate for the Nevada bar exam?

Pass rates for the Nevada bar exam vary each year. For the most current statistics, it’s recommended to check the official website of the State Bar of Nevada, as they provide detailed Nevada bar exam results following each exam cycle.

Can I take the Nevada bar exam without going to law school?

To be eligible for the Nevada bar exam, applicants must have earned a Juris Doctor (JD) degree or its equivalent from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Having said that, exceptions are made for foreign-educated applicants who may seek a functional equivalency certification.

 What score do you need to pass the NV bar?

To pass the Nevada bar exam, candidates must achieve a minimum total scale score of 75 on the exam and score at least 75 on three of the essay questions. Interested in finding out more? Check out our What is the Bar Exam article.