Skip to main content
Iowa Judicial Branch
Main Content

Bar Examination Registration

Information to Bar Applicants about the impact of COVID-19 on bar admission, application, and examination may be found here.

Update:

***Please note that the required bar application items have recently changed.  Those applying to take the Iowa Bar Examination are required to submit the application items outlined below.***

Page Navigation

Summary of Bar Examination
Law Student Registration Requirement (no longer required)
Bar Examination Schedule
Fees and Deadlines
Bar Exam Application
Bar Exam Laptop Option
Application for Testing Accommodations (ADA)
Application for Courtesy Accommodations (Non-ADA)
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
MBE Score Transfer Request

Summary of Bar Examination

Iowa administers the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE).  The UBE is composed of the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) tasks, and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE).  It is uniformly administered, graded, and scored and results in a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions.

The UBE is administered over two days, with the MBE given on the last Wednesday of February and July and the MEE and MPT given on the Tuesday prior to that.  For more information on the UBE, please visit the NCBE the following website: www.ncbex.org/exams/ube/.

Law Student Registration Requirement (No Longer Required)

The Supreme Court of Iowa has approved a rule change eliminating the Law Student Registration Requirement.  Applicants are still required to file the Bar Exam Application by the required deadlines in order to be permitted to sit for the bar exam.

Bar Examination Schedule

 

February 2022 Bar Exam

The February bar examination will be held on February 21-23, 2022, at Hy-Vee Hall, 730 3rd Street, Des Moines.  The application deadline for that exam is November 1, 2021.

All application deadlines are firm and will not be waived.

Bar Application Fee and Deadlines

Fee

This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. See Iowa Ct. R. 31.6. Check or money order should be payable to the “Iowa Board of Law Examiners.” The appropriate fee is either $800 or $550, as determined below.

$800 Fee.  Most applicants must pay an $800 application fee.

$550 Fee.  The following individuals must pay a $550 application fee:

  • Applicants who meet both of the following requirements: 1) filed a Law Student Registration under Iowa Court Rule 31.2 with the Office of Professional Regulation on or before January 15, 2021, AND 2) have never been licensed to practice law in any United States jurisdiction,

Or

  • Applicants who meet both of the following requirements: 1) have submitted a prior application and fee to take the Iowa bar examination AND 2) have never been licensed to practice law in any United States jurisdiction

Deadline

Applicants must file a completed application with the Office of Professional Regulation no later than April 1 preceding the July examination or November 1 preceding the February examination.  An applicant who fails the Iowa bar examination and wants to take the next examination must file a new application within the above deadlines or within 30 days of the date the applicant's score is released from the prior Iowa examination, whichever is later.  There is no waiver of these deadlines.

Bar Exam Application

Application Requirements

In order to be eligible to sit for the Iowa Bar Examination, applicants must 1) have obtained a J.D. or LL.B. from an ABA-approved law school, 2) scored 80 or above on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) within the three years prior to applying for the bar exam, 3) demonstrate an intention to practice law in Iowa or another UBE jurisdiction, and 4) possess the requisite character and fitness to practice law.

Required Application Items:

All of the following must be submitted to the Office of Professional Regulation by the registration deadline.  Items are considered filed when they are postmarked or when they are hand-delivered to the Office of Professional Regulation, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319.  If all three items are not received by the application deadline, the application will not be accepted and it will not be considered filed. 

1. The NCBE Online Character Report Application PDF.

  • From the above link, select Iowa as the jurisdiction to which you are applying.  On the next page, click on the NCBE Account Login button and either log in with your credential or create an account.

  • Click the Character & Fitness Icon to begin a new application.  Select that you are applying to Iowa and select your Application Category as "Bar Examination."  Proceed with completing the applicant and uploading any necessary attachments.

  • Pay the separate report application fee of $25 to the National Conference of Bar Examiners at the time the NCBE online application is finalized and printed.

 

2. The Iowa Bar Examination Cover Sheet and Checklist with the completed forms attached, including the NCBE Character Report Application PDF mentioned in item 1.

3. The appropriate fee with a check or money order made payable to "Board of Law Examiners."  For the appropriate fee, see above.

***Please note that the required bar application items have recently changed.  Applicants are required to submit the application items outlined above.***

Optional Application Item:

Applicants seeking either nonstandard ADA or courtesy accommodations should also submit all required forms related to those requests along with the three items mentioned above on or before the bar exam application deadline.  These forms can be found below.

Bar Exam Laptop Option

The Iowa Board of Law Examiners is pleased to offer the option to use your laptop for the written portion of the bar exam (Multistate Essay Exam and Multistate Performance Test).  Please note that tables are not permitted for testing, and a wireless mouse or wireless keyboard is not permitted.  Applicants who timely complete the registration process with our software provider will be permitted to use their laptops for the exam.  You must provide your intent to use the laptop option with your bar exam application materials.  Specific information about registration of your laptop and payment of the laptop use fee will be provided after all applications are received.  Payment is made directly to our software vendor once the registration period opens.  The fee is $122.

Application for Testing Accommodations (ADA)

What is the process for seeking nonstandard testing accommodations?

The Iowa Board of Law Examiners is committed to providing reasonable testing accommodations consistent with state and federal law. Reasonable accommodations are those adjustments or modifications of the standard testing conditions that ameliorate the impact of the applicant's disability on the examination process without fundamentally altering the nature of the exam, imposing an undue administrative or financial burden on the Board, compromising the security, validity or reliability of the exam, or providing an unfair advantage to the applicant with the disability.

Applicants seeking testing accommodations for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must file the ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONNAIRE FOR TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS (Form A) (see available online forms below) along with other form(s) and all supporting documentation appropriate for the disability. The burden of proof is on the applicant to show the need for any additional testing considerations. You must prove that your condition has substantially impaired a major life activity as compared to the general population and that the requested accommodation is reasonably designed to ameliorate the impact of the disability.

The Board of Law Examiners reserves the right to request supplemental information from the applicant regarding the claimed disability or suggested accommodations including, but not limited to, additional expert examinations and/or reports.

The Board also reserves the right to make a final judgment concerning testing accommodations and may, in its discretion, seek an independent evaluation from a medical specialist, psychologist, psychiatrist or other qualified specialist. Each case will be evaluated on its facts.

What is the deadline for filing a request for accommodations?

In order for the request for accommodation to be considered by the Board, all appropriate forms and supporting documentation pertaining to the disability must be completed by the appropriate parties, attached to Form A and returned by the applicant to the Board by the bar application deadline.

What forms must be filed?

Forms to be submitted to support a request for accommodations are:

Form A -- Eligibility Questionnaire to be completed by applicant (Doc) (REQUIRED)

Form B -- Physical Disability (Doc) Verification to be completed by Physician/Licensed professional, describing the type and extent of the disability and specifying the effect of such disability on the applicant's ability to take the bar examination. The licensed professional should be specific about any recommendations for extra testing time.

Form C -- Learning Disability (Doc) Verification to be completed by Physician/Licensed professional, describing the type and extent of the disability and specifying the effect of such disability on an applicant's ability to take the bar examination. This form must be accompanied by copies of the evaluation and sub-tests which were administered within the last three years from the date the application for testing accommodation is filed.

Form D -- ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder) (Doc) Verification to be completed by a Physician/Licensed professional. This form must be accompanied by copies of the evaluation and tests which were administered within the last three years from the date the application for testing accommodation is filed.

Form E -- Mental Disability (Doc) Verification to be completed by Physician/Licensed professional. This form must be accompanied by copies of the evaluation and tests which were administered and a psychological report.

Form F -- Law School Accommodations Form to be completed by Law School Official (Doc).

Application for Courtesy Accommodations (Non-ADA)

Applicants seeking testing accommodations based upon a condition not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, including but not limited to breast-pumping, pregnancy, or the need to access medication at the exam site, should complete and file the form below as soon as the need for accommodations becomes apparent. The board of law examiners will address such requests on an individualized basis and may require medical documentation. The board will ensure breast-pumping applicants can bring necessary equipment to the exam site and are able to express milk in a sanitary and private setting with access to electrical outlets.

Request for Courtesy Accommodation for Health-Related Conditions (PDF)

Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

The Iowa Board of Law Examiners does not schedule or administer the MPRE.  The National Conference of Bar Examiners website includes MPRE online registration.

An MPRE score of 80 or above must be on file with the Office of Professional Regulation before the applicant is allowed to sit for the bar examination.  MPRE scores will only be accepted for three years after the date the MPRE is taken.  If an applicant has not achieved a score of 80 or above prior to the applicable bar application deadline, the applicant must submit with the application, a petition or letter to the Iowa Supreme Court requesting leave from the Court to submit a late MPRE score. DO NOT submit this request directly to the Iowa Supreme Court, instead include with the completed application.  There is no specific form for this petition.  Applicants should detail plans to fulfill the MPRE requirement as outlined by the Iowa Court Rules.

MBE Score Transfer Request

If you have taken the MBE in Iowa and wish to transfer your score to another jurisdiction, please send a written request to the Office of Professional Regulation at the address listed above.  The request should include: your name, the date of the examination from which you wish to transfer your MBE score, the address of the jurisdiction you wish to transfer the score to, and a check for $10 made payable to the Board of Law Examiners.

Since the adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), Iowa no longer accepts transferred MBE scores. All applicants must take the entire UBE.

Inquiries and Information

Please direct inquiries to:

Daniel Saar, Director of Admissions
Office of Professional Regulation
Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines IA 50319    

Phone: (515) 348-4670
Fax: (515) 348-4698

Email: Bar.Admissions@iowacourts.gov

© 2021 Iowa Judicial Branch. All Rights Reserved.