Alabama State Bar
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Bar Examination Changes Effective July 2003
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Rule VI
BAR EXAMINATION


A. Bar Examination Subjects.

     (1) Academic Bar Examination.

          (a) Alabama Essay Examination.

     The Board of Bar Examiners will administer essay examinations on subjects not covered by the Multistate Bar Examination or the Multistate Essay Examination. These subjects may include important topics of state law as well as federal taxation. At least twelve (12) months in advance of the first administration of the Alabama Essay Examination pursuant to this Rule VI (B), the Board of Bar Examiners shall prepare and distribute to all students in Alabama law schools (individually or through the schools) and to the deans of all Alabama Law schools a detailed outline of the topics that may be included on the Alabama Essay Examination. The Alabama Essay Examination shall not exceed three and one-half hours in length.

           (b) Multistate Essay Examination.

    This portion of the examination will cover such of the following subjects as the Board of Bar Examiners may determine: Agency and Partnership, Commercial Paper, Conflict of Laws, Corporations, Decedents' Estates, Family Law, Federal Civil Procedure, Sales, Secured Transactions, Trust and Future Interests.

           (c) Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

      This portion of the examination will cover the following subjects: Contracts, Torts, Real Property, Evidence, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law.

          (d) Multistate Performance Test.

      This portion of the examination will consist of two 90-minute tests covering the following skills; problem solving, legal analysis and reasoning, factual analysis, communication, organization and management of a legal task, and recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas.

      (2) Legal Ethics.

     The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners shall be used as the examination on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
     An applicant must pass both the Academic Bar Examination and the Ethics Examination to be certified as a successful candidate.

B. Preparing, Conducting, and Grading Examinations.

      (1) Preparing Examinations. The Board of Bar Examiners shall be responsible for preparing the Alabama Essay Examination, under guidelines established by the Board with the approval of the Board of Commissioners.

   The Multistate Bar Examination, the Multistate Essay Examination, and the Multistate Performance Test will be prepared by the National Conference of Bar examiners, which shall determine the contents of those examinations and that test.

      (2) Conducting Examinations. The Board of Bar Examiners shall have the right, power, and authority to adopt rules consistent with the laws of the State of Alabama or the orders of the Supreme Court or the Board of Bar Commissioners governing the control, methods, and details of conducting examinations.

   The Secretary of the Alabama State Bar, at the time an applicant is certified to the Board of Bar Examiners under these rules, shall issue to the applicant a card containing a personal identification number, the purpose and use of which shall be carefully explained to the applicant. The Secretary shall preserve a duplicate of that number in the Secretary's office. When taking the examination, the applicant may not sign his or her name to or upon any paper or document, or identify his or her examination answers other than by said number, and is forbidden to disclose this number to any member of the Board or to any other person. If any applicant violates this requirement in any particular, the Board of Bar examiners shall not consider the applicant's examination papers, and, if it is discovered that disclosure was made, the applicant shall be subject to disciplinary action for deceit and misrepresentation. This requirement shall again be called to the attention of the applicant by the Board of Bar Examiners before he or she is permitted to begin the examination.

   The express purpose of the immediately preceding paragraph is to provide a method by which the Board of Bar Examiners, in passing upon the sufficiency of answers to questions propounded by it, shall be unacquainted with the identity of the person whose answers it is passing upon.

      (3) Grading Examinations. Essay examination and performance-test questions will test the applicant's ability to reason logically, to analyze legal problems accurately, to demonstrate a knowledge of the fundamental principles of law, to be able to apply those principles, and to perform basic legal tasks. The grade of the paper shall be measured by the reasoning power shown as well as by the correctness or incorrectness of the answers. Answers to Multistate Essay Examination questions shall be analyzed and graded using the model answers provided by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and according to general principles of law. Answers to Alabama Essay Examination questions shall be analyzed and graded using the model answers prepared by the Board of Bar Examiners and according to Alabama or federal law, as appropriate. Essay-examination questions and performance-test questions will be scored by the Board of Bar Examiners. The Board of Bar Examiners shall re-grade all the answers of any applicant whose initial combined score, computed as set forth in Rule VI (B). C. (1), is 125, 126, or 127.

   Using the identification numbers assigned to identify the respective applicants, the Board of Bar Examiners shall certify final grades to the Secretary of the Alabama State Bar no later than April 15 following a February examination and September 15 following a July examination.

   The Secretary shall make a permanent record in the Secretary's office of the grades attained by each examinee in each subject, and shall inform each examinee whether he or she has passed or failed the examination.

   An examinee who fails the academic portion of the bar examination will be furnished the following information at the time the examinee is notified of the failure: his or her Multistate Bar Examination scaled score, the grade made on each essay-examination question and performance-test question, and his or her highest combined score.

   Within sixty (60) days after the announcement of the results, a failing examinee shall be entitled to examine his or her own papers in the State Bar Headquarters for the purpose of ascertaining that grades were transcribed correctly, and upon payment of $5.00 per section of any essay examination per section of any essay examination or performance test, the examinee will be entitled to receive a copy of the question(s), and of his or her answer(s), and of the model answer (s) and to examine at the State Bar Headquarters the three top papers on that particular examination.

C. Results of Examinations.

     (1) Basic Rule. Raw scores on the essay portions of the Academic Bar Examination shall be weighted so that the Alabama Essay Examination questions are worth 40% of the total written score, the Multistate essay Examination questions worth 40%, and the Multistate Performance Test questions worth 20%. The total weighted raw written score shall be scaled to the MBE using the two methods for scaling bar examination scores approved by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, i.e., the equi-percentile method and the standard-deviation method. The applicant's scaled test score shall be expressed on the MBE range of scores (0-200) and shall be combined with the applicant's scaled MBE score. The scaled essay test score and the scaled MBE score shall contribute equally to the combined score, so that the overall contribution of the respective components of the Academic Bar Examination will be as follows; MBE: 50%; Alabama Essay Examination: 20%; Multistate Essay Examination: 20%; Multistate Performance Test: 10%. An applicant who achieves a combined score of 128.000 or above by either of the two scaling methods passes the academic portion of the bar examination. Scores which are not whole numbers shall be truncated to the next lowest whole number.

      (2) Transfer of MBE Score. An applicant who has taken and passed a bar examination in another jurisdiction, who has been admitted to practice in that jurisdiction, and who made an MBE scaled score of 140 or above will be excused from taking the MBE. The transferred score will be valid for a period of twenty (20) months after taking the MBE on which the transferred score was received. The applicant's transferred MBE score will be combined with the applicant's written test score according to the basic rule.

   The applicant shall have the option to take all sections of the bar examination; if the applicant chooses this option, the scores of all sections will be combined under the basic rule.

     (3) Carryover of MBE Score. An applicant who has taken and failed the bar examination but who made an MBE scaled score of 140 or above will be excused from taking the MBE. The MBE scaled score will be carried over to any future examination for which the examinee is eligible, provided that the examination is administered within twenty (20) months after the earlier bar examination was administered, and the MBE scaled score will be combined with the applicant's written test score according to the basic rule.

    The applicant shall have the option to take all sections of the bar examination; if the applicant chooses this option, the scores will be combined under the basic rule.

      (4) Carryover of Written Test Score. An applicant who has taken and failed the bar examination, but who made a written test score that is equivalent to or greater than an MBE scaled score of 140, as determined in accordance with the basic rule, will be excused from taking those sections of the bar examination that contribute to the written test score. The written test score will be carried over for any future bar examination for which the examinee is eligible, provided that the examination is administered within twenty (20) months after the earlier bar examination, and the written test score will be combined with the applicant's MBE score according to the basic rule.

    The applicant shall have the option to take all sections of the bar examination; if the applicant chooses this option, the scores of all sections will be combined under the basic rule.

      (5) Time of Election to Transfer or Carry Over Score. Elections regarding the transfer from another jurisdiction of an MBE score or the carryover of an MBE score or written test score from a previous Alabama examination must be made at the time an application to sit for an examination is filed.

D. Access to Information Regarding Alabama Essay Examination.

   At least twelve (12) months in advance of the first administration of the Alabama Essay Examination pursuant to this rule, the Board of Bar Examiners shall prepare and distribute to all students in Alabama law schools (individually or through the schools) and to the deans of all Alabama law schools an information booklet on the Alabama Essay Examination. This booklet shall include a description of the examination, including a statement of its purpose and the areas of law to be covered; the instructions that will accompany the examination when it is administered; and the subject matter or topic outline required by Rule VI (B). A. (1) (a). Following the first administration of the examination, the information booklet shall be revised to include the questions and corresponding model answers from the first examination. The Board of Bar Examiners shall thereafter update the information booklet at such time as it deems appropriate, and shall include in that booklet representative sample questions and corresponding model answers from prior examinations. The Board shall routinely distribute the booklet to all applicants, and shall make the booklet available upon request. A reasonable fee, to be determined by the Board of Bar Examiners with the concurrence of the Board of Bar Commissioners, may be charged to parties outside the routine distribution who request copies of the booklet.

E. Access to Information Regarding Other Examinations.

   The Board of Bar Examiners shall make available to applicants sample and informational materials that will acquaint applicants with the general content and format of the Multistate Bar Examination, the Multistate Essay Examination,and the Multistate Performance Test.

   This requirement may be met by routinely distributing to all applicants the information booklets on these examinations published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and by advising applicants of the availability, through the National Conference of Bar Examiners, of sample questions and analyses. A reasonable fee, to be determined by the Board of Bar Examiners with the concurrence of the Board of Bar Commissioners, may be charged to parties outside the routine distribution who request copies of the materials.

F. Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.

   Before admission to the Bar, each applicant must have successfully passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). To successfully complete the MPRE, the applicant must achieve a scaled score of at least 75, as that score is determined by the testing authority. Successful completion of the MPRE by an applicant at any time within the twelve (12) month period before the taking of the Academic Bar Examination will be accepted and such successful completion may be carried over for a period of twenty (20) months from the time the first Academic Bar Examination is taken, if the applicant does not pass the Academic Bar Examination. If an applicant has passed the Academic Bar Examination, but has not successfully completed the MPRE, he or she shall have a period of twenty (20) months from the date of the Academic Bar Examination in which to successfully complete the MPRE.

   Complete application materials for testing, as well as all other correspondence, inquiries, and requests concerning application materials and the administration and processing of the National Conference of Bar Examiners' Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), should be directed to:

National Conference of Bar Examiners
MPRE Application Department
P. O. Box 4001
Iowa City, Iowa 52243-4001
(319) 341-2500 / 337-1304
www.ncbex.org or www.act.org/mpre

G. Time of Bar Examinations. The examination will be given on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of that week in February and July on which the MBE examination is administered. The Alabama Essay Examination will be on Monday, the Multistate Performance Test and the Multistate Essay Examination on Tuesday, and the Multistate Bar Examination on Wednesday.