Bar Bridge
The Bridge between Law
School and the Bar Exam
State Essay
State Multiple Choice

Massachusetts Examination

The Massachusetts Bar Exam has two parts (MBE and state essays) over two days.

The examination is normally administered at the World Trade Center/Seaport Hotel in Boston and Western New England School of Law.  The exam consists of the following:

Day 1 (Wednesday) Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

In the morning 100 MBE questions are administered over 3 hours.  After a lunch break, the second set of 100 MBE questions are administered over 3 hours.

Day 2 (Thursday)  10 state essays, 6 hours

The first morning of the Massachusetts bar exam begins with 5 Massachusetts state essays, which lasts 3 hours.  After a lunch break, applicants return to take the 5 more Massachusetts state essay questions over 3 more hours. 

You must pass the MPRE before sitting for the Massachusetts exam and the basic 2009 test fee was $815.00.  The Massachusetts application is relatively straightfoward and slim compared to the bar applications in other states such as New York, Rhode Island, or Florida.  Massachusetts offers reciprocity (admission on motion) with various other states after five years of practicing elsewhere.  Contact the Massachusetts board for further details.

The following topics are tested on the Rhode Island Bar Exam (in addition to the six MBE topics):
  • Agency
  • Commercial Paper
  • Consumer Protection
  • Corporations
  • Domestic Relations
  • Federal Jurisdiction
  • Mortgages
  • Massachusetts Practice & Procedure
  • Partnerships
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Secured Transactions

When I took in the exam I was staying on Beacon Hill, but I would recommend staying right at the World Trade Center because of the early reporting time.  There are plenty of nice hotels in the area, and you might consider stopping at your hotel room for a brief nap or to review your notes. There are several restaurants in the area to grab a quick bite to eat if you don't prepare one ahead of time. I ate at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) which is right near the testing site.  A small cafe there sells sandwiches and not too many people head over there.  Eat something easy on the stomach!

To use the bathroom during the exam normally proctors come to you and take your answer booklet when you raise your hand.  Massachusetts does not yet allow applicants to type the bar exam on a laptop so everyone is in the same boat struggling to handwrite.  My hand ached by the end of the exam.