Why Is It Called The Bar Exam?

Welcome to the fascinating world of Bar Exams! Have you ever wondered why it’s called the Bar Exam?

Throughout the centuries, this examination has been used to test courageous and clever individuals to determine their legal prowess. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the origins of this exam and find out why it has been given its iconic name. So get ready, because you’re about to discover a wealth of insightful and interesting information on why it’s called the Bar Exam.

Why is it called the Bar Exam?

The Bar Exam is the final hurdle for aspirants who wish to become practicing lawyers.

It is also known as the Bar Admissions Exam, Bar Admission Test, Bar Qualifying Exam, or simply the Bar. It has become a popular test, with over 100,000 aspirants attempting to pass the exam every year in the United States of America alone. The Bar Exam has been around since the late 18th century and even before that, the English followed stringent requirements in terms of becoming a lawyer.

The Bar Exam was designed to assess the competence of prospective lawyers by verifying that they possess the necessary skills and knowledge to practice law.

Origin of the Term “Bar Exam”

So, why is it called the Bar Exam?

It is actually a British term dating back to the Middle Ages. Back then, barristers would stand in their assigned area, and this area was commonly referred to as a “bar”. In law, the term “bar” later came to represent a physical barrier separating the public from the court and members of the judicial system such as the lawyers, judges and clerks.

The term “barrier-exam” was coined to signify the process of being admitted to the bar and joining the legal profession. It was also used to refer to the test itself, and eventually, the phrase “bar exam” became the popular name for the exams, and it is still in use today.

Structure of the Bar Exam

The structure of the Bar Exam may vary slightly in different states, but the core components are typically the same. It comprises multiple-choice questions and persuasive essay questions. The structure often consists of two separate parts – the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam), and the UBE (the Uniform Bar Exam).

The Multistate Bar Exam is a six-hour assessment containing 200 multiple choice questions covering a wide range of areas, such as contracts, torts, constitutional law, and criminal law. On the other hand, the Uniform Bar Exam consists of two sections – the Multistate Performance Test, which evaluates the ability to identify, understand and apply the law to a given fact pattern, and the Multistate Essay Exam, which consists of six essay questions on such topics as contracts, torts, criminal law and procedure, and constitutional law.

Other Related Exams

Apart from the Bar Exam, there are other related exams that lawyers are required to take. This includes the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), which tests an aspirant’s knowledge of legal ethics and professional responsibility, and the Multistate Accounting Practice Exam (MACE), which assesses an aspirant’s ability to identify, recognize, and apply accounting principles.


In conclusion, the Bar Exam is an important milestone that every prospective lawyer must pass in order to practice law. The origin of the phrase “bar exam” dates back to the Middle Ages and is symbolic of the physical barrier between the public and the judicial system. The exam itself comprises multiple-choice and essay questions in two parts – the MBE and the UBE. Aside from the Bar Exam, there are other related exams that lawyers must take, such as the MPRE and the MACE. Citation URL: -https://www. law. cornell. edu/wex/bar_admission_exam-https://www. law. cornell. edu/wex/bar_examination-https://www. briefed. law/career/bar-exam/

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