Oklahoma Bar Exam

Written by: Will Bond

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Oklahoma Bar Exam

Passing the Oklahoma 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 applying for admission as an out-of-state attorney.

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Oklahoma Bar Exam Overview

The Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners (OKBBE) is responsible for administering the bar exam. It’s an independent board appointed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in order to oversee the admission of individuals to practice law within the state.

The bar exam takes place twice a year: once on the final Tuesday and Wednesday of February and again on the same days in July.

If you’re interested in taking the bar exam in either month, you’ll need to submit an application by Sept. 1 for the February exam or by Feb. 1 for the July exam. This must include the $1,250 application fee.

While late filing is available up until April 1 for the July exam and November 1 for the February exam, you’ll have to pay a late application fee for this privilege. This ranges from $50 to $150, depending on the submission date in question.

In order to be eligible for the Oklahoma bar exam, you’ll need to register by October 15 of your second year of law school and provide the following forms to the OKBBE:

  1. Your Certificate of Graduation: This certificate should show you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree that meets the following requirements:
    • The degree must’ve been made up of at least 120 college hours (90 hours of which were resident study).
    • The degree must’ve been awarded by a college using credit hours that are transferable to one of the following institutions:
      1. The University of Oklahoma
      2. Oklahoma City University
      3. The University of Tulsa
  2. Two Sets of Fingerprints: In order to have your criminal record reviewed, you must submit two sets of fingerprints to both the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.
  3. A Recent Photograph: Include a recent passport-style photo of yourself along with your application.
  4. Your NCBE Student Application Report (SAR): You’ll need to obtain a SAR from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) at your own expense. This is a confidential report prepared by the NCBE on the character and fitness of graduates about to take the bar exam.

Note: If you plan on submitting a request for any special accommodations (e.g., additional test-taking time or separate testing facilities), you must file this at least 90 days before the date of your bar exam.

Oklahoma Exam Structure

In 2021, the state of Oklahoma 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.

Candidates also must obtain a passing score of 80 on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) in order to be eligible for the Oklahoma 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
  • Federal 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.

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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 Oklahoma Bar Exam

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

Oklahoma Bar Exam Tips

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

Here are 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, tort, and constitutional law
  • Leverage academic support. If your law school offers additional support services aimed at improving your preparation, use these as much as possible. This can involve one-on-one tutoring, academic counseling, and mock exam programs
  • Obtain practical legal experience. If possible, gain as much practical experience as you can during law school (e.g., through summer internships, mock trials, etc.). This experience can go a long way in cementing your legal knowledge
  • Adopt a broad study approach. When studying for the bar, aim for a wide-ranging understanding of various subjects rather than an in-depth study of a few. This is important given the huge amount of content you’ll need to learn for this test

Most importantly, make sure you remain consistent so you don’t 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 Oklahoma Bar Requirements

Apart from qualifying for and passing the Oklahoma bar exam, you must meet several other requirements in order to become a licensed attorney in the state. These include:

  1. Meeting the Character and Fitness Requirement
  2. Taking Your Attorney Oath
  3. Satisfying the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Requirements

1. Meeting the Character and Fitness Requirement

In order to qualify for the Oklahoma bar, all applicants must demonstrate they possess a good moral character and the necessary fitness to practice law.

Using the details you provide about your background, education, and character in the Oklahoma bar application, the NCBE will conduct an investigation into your past conduct and records. This investigation, which is automatically triggered when you submit your Oklahoma bar application, includes various checks, such as:

  • Criminal History Searches
  • Court Record Reviews
  • Professional Reference Checks
  • Credit History Reviews

The NCBE will then compile a report based on its findings and send it to the OKBBE for review along with your other application materials.

If any detail you disclose — or any aspect of the investigation, in general — warrants further investigation, the OKBBE may contact references, employers, or educational institutions for verification and additional information.

In rare cases, the OKBBE may even schedule a hearing with you to address unresolved concerns about your character or fitness. In these hearings, candidates have a chance to present their perspective and provide evidence as to why they qualify to practice law in Oklahoma.

Note: The NCBE will only carry out this investigation into your past conduct. It has no authority to make determinations regarding your eligibility to practice law.

2. Taking Your Attorney Oath

After satisfying all the above requirements to gain admission to the Oklahoma bar, you’ll need to take the Attorney Oath before you can begin practicing law in this state.

This is a formal pledge you’ll need to take before the Oklahoma Supreme Court during the admission ceremony. It affirms your dedication to:

  • Uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States and Oklahoma
  • Serve the court and the public with fidelity and fairness
  • Maintain honesty and integrity in all professional activities
  • Conduct yourself ethically and avoid conduct that brings dishonor to the profession

As part of this step, you’ll need to attend the ceremony, publicly recite the oath, and then sign the Roll of Attorneys — which officially records your entrance into the legal community. After this, you’ll receive your bar card and unique identification number, which allow you to practice law in Oklahoma.

Note: According to Rule 1, Section 4 of the Oklahoma Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law, you must complete this step within one year of your bar exam date.

3. Satisfying the MCLE Requirements

As part of an ongoing effort to keep current with the constantly evolving legal landscape, all members of the Oklahoma bar must complete 12 credits of MCLE by December 31 each year.

Since 2021, a minimum of two of these 12 credits must be completed in approved legal ethics courses. Beyond this stipulation, however, you can satisfy this requirement by completing any CLE programs approved by the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission (MCLEC).

In order to avoid having to pay late fees, you’ll need to complete these hours by the December 31 compliance deadline and submit an annual report by the February 15 reporting deadline. If you fail to meet either of these deadlines, you’ll incur a $100 charge and will shortly receive an order from the Oklahoma Bar Association’s executive director to comply with the MCLE requirements (or provide good cause as to why you haven’t) within 60 days.

If you fail to do this, the Oklahoma Supreme Court will recommend the suspension of your bar membership. You’ll then have a year to meet the requirements needed to reinstate your license before you’ll stop being a member of the Oklahoma bar.

Note: Under Rule 2 of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s MCLE Rules, new attorneys are exempt from the requirement to complete MCLE for the remainder of the calendar year in which they first gain admission to the bar.

Admission on Motion (Reciprocity)

Under Rule 2 of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law, currently qualified attorneys in reciprocal states may be eligible for the bar in Oklahoma without needing to take the bar exam.

This admission option is available attorneys as long as they:

  • Are found eligible by the OKBBE under Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 1; 
  • Graduated from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association;
  • Were admitted to practice law in a lawful manner;
  • Are currently in good standing in a reciprocal state; and
  • Continuously practiced law in a reciprocal state while meeting the requirements of its supreme court and state bar for at least three of the five years prior to the date of their application

After ensuring you meet the above requirements, you’ll need to file an Admission on Motion – Reciprocity form with the OKBBE and pay the $2,000 filing fee.

For the sake of these rules, a “reciprocal state” currently refers to any of the following:

ArizonaMichiganSouth Dakota
District of ColumbiaMontanaVermont
GeorgiaNebraskaVirgin Islands
IdahoNew HampshireVirginia
IllinoisNew JerseyWashington
IndianaNew MexicoWest Virginia
IowaNew YorkWisconsin
KansasNorth CarolinaWyoming
KentuckyNorth Dakota

For more information, refer to Rule 2 of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law.

Oklahoma Bar Exam FAQ

Is the Oklahoma bar exam hard?

The difficulty of the Oklahoma bar examination should be similar to that of the bar exam in all other states that have adopted the UBE. With that said, it’s still an incredibly challenging exam that’ll require candidates to prep thoroughly in order to pass. For more Oklahoma bar exam information, see our overview above.

How many times can you take the bar exam in Oklahoma?

You can take the bar exam in Oklahoma an unlimited number of times until you pass. Your eligibility doesn’t depend on passing it in a specific number of attempts. With that said, if you’re a registered law student taking this exam for the first time, you may want to invest in something like a bar review course during your preparation to ensure you pass.

What is the passing score for the bar exam in Oklahoma?

In order to pass the Oklahoma bar exam, you must obtain a scaled score of at least 264 out of 400 on the UBE in addition to at least 80 on the MPRE. While passing the Oklahoma bar exam is undoubtedly very challenging for any law student, it’s definitely doable with the right preparation.

In what states is it easiest to pass the bar exam?

Due to the sheer number of jurisdictions that adopted the UBE (more than 40 states currently use it), it’s tricky to choose one state in particular as the easiest because the bar exam is quite standardized. While South Dakota may have a reputation for being the easiest, whether or not this is true will depend on how well you prepare.