Illinois bar exam

Does The Illinois Bar Exam Test Illinois Law?

Many of our blog’s readers are from Illinois and often ask, “does the Illinois bar exam test Illinois law?” It’s a common question, in part, because many states do test state law. However, state exams vary from one another and year to year. In this post, we cover whether the Illinois Bar Exam covers Illinois law and other important things you need to know to prepare for the Illinois Bar Exam.

Does The Illinois Bar Exam Test Illinois Law?

The simple answer is “no.” The Illinois bar no longer tests Illinois law.

In June 2018, Illinois became the 30th state to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). The first administration of the UBE was in July 2019.

The exam used to consist of three Illinois essay questions, one Multistate Performance Test (MPT) task, six Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) questions, and the 200 question Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). However, the three Illinois essay questions have been replaced by another MPT. Therefore, there is thus no longer any focus on specific Illinois law – and no reason to spend any of your studying time focusing on state specifics!

It’s also worth noting that there is no longer any word or character limit on the MEE or MPTs.

But do keep in mind that each state, including Illinois, still has its own requirements regarding registration, transferring of scores, and continuing education requirements. You can familiarize yourself with the details for Illinois here.

Other helpful things to know about the Illinois Bar Exam 

Two Day Test Breakdown 

DAY 1: Test takers will complete 2 MPTs (90 minutes each) and 6 MEEs (over 3 hours).

DAY 2: Test takers will complete the MBE (over 6 hours).

**Note that due to COVID-19 the September 2020 exam may be subject to changes. Check with the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar for up-to-date details.

Schedule and Timing

  • On Days 1 and 2, the test site will open at 7:30 AM. Test takers must be in their assigned seats by 8:30 AM. You will need to allow time to check-in and pass through security.
  • On Day 1, the schedule is as follows:
    • The exam begins with the MPTs at 9 AM and extends until 12 PM.
    • There is then a 50-minute break for lunch at 12:15 PM.
    • At 1:05 PM, examinees must pass back through the metal detector and take their seats.
    • The MEE will begin in the afternoon at 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.
    • The exam concludes at 4:30 PM and test-takers are dismissed at 4:45 PM.
  • On Day 2, the schedule is as follows:
    • From 9 AM to 12 PM, examinees will take the MBE.
    • There is a 45-minute break for lunch at 12:15 PM. (Note: this is five minutes less than on Day 1.)
    • At 1:00 PM, examinees must pass back through the metal detector and take their seats.
    • The MBE afternoon session continues from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.
    • The exam concludes at 4:30 PM and test-takers are dismissed at 4:45 PM.
  • A 15-minute warning and a 5-minute warning will be given to all test takers. Time will be visible to all examinees.

Useful Logistical Information for the Illinois Bar Exam

  • Parking: The main parking lot for the UIC Forum is Lot 5C (located at 1135 South Morgan St. on the corner of Morgan & Roosevelt).
  • Hotel: There are many hotels in the area that students can stay in while taking the exam. However, it is important to note that for the September 2020 exam, the Crowne Plaza Chicago West Loop will now be closed.
  • Photo Identification: You must bring a valid photo ID on the morning of Day 1 to check into the exam. Acceptable forms of identification include a valid passport, valid state driver’s license, or valid state identification card. Upon presentation of your photo ID, you will receive your photo ID badge, which will indicate your seat assignment and serve as your admission ticket to the bar exam on both days.
  • Permitted Items: You are permitted to bring the following items into the test room in a clear plastic bag:
    • IBAB-issued photo ID badge
    • Photo ID
    • Laptop equipment (day 1 only)
    • Credit card and money
    • Transportation Card
    • Keys
    • Feminine hygiene products
    • Eyeglasses (without the case; no sunglasses)
    • Earplugs (subject to inspection)
    • Previously-approved medical items.
  • Food and Drinks: you may not consume food or drinks during the exam. You can keep these items in a Desiagted Storage Area but they are not permitted into the testing area. This includes cough drops, gum, mints, or other candies.

Any more information on the Illinois Bar Exam instructions, see their website.

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