How Many Times Can You Take the Bar Exam in North Carolina

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by Team College Learners

The bar is the  standard by which all attorneys who are licensed to practice law in the U.S. are measured.   It occurs at the end of law school, and is taken with a group of other law school graduates. The task is daunting, but potentially rewarding because you have sacrificed so much to get there and face your fears in taking the bar examination. Do you want to learn about the latest findings about how many times can you take the bar exam in new york? Get ready! Find out all the information you need right here on Collegelearners.com so you don’t have to go looking again. Find all the specifics you need, such as how many times can you take the bar exam in ohio, how many times can you take the bar exam in illinois to how many times can you take the bar exam in texas.

What to expect after the bar exam - ABA for Law Students

The North Carolina State Bar was founded in 1933 by the North Carolina General Assembly to regulate the legal profession in the state. Today, it has over 20,000 members. By contrast, the North Carolina Bar Association is a voluntary membership association for North Carolina lawyers. It serves needs including continuing legal education, legislative lobbying, public service activities and more. If you aspire to become a North Carolina lawyer, you must become a member of the North Carolina State Bar, but you need not be a member of the North Carolina Bar Association. Becoming a member of the North Carolina State Bar entails getting the right education, experience and passing a few examinations. If this is your chosen career path, read on.

How Many Times Can You Take the Bar Exam?

Taking the bar exam and passing the first time with flying colors is a dream. But what happens if you don’t pass the first time around?

Each state has varying passing rates for the bar exam, ranging from about 45% in California to as high as 81% in Oklahoma. These values come down to many factors like population and available law schools in each state. With these passing rates in mind, it is certain that some will have to take the bar exam multiple times.

Understanding which states allow limited attempts at the bar exam is important. Being informed on the limits for your state or jurisdiction can dictate your studying strategy if you are on your last attempt.

Luckily, most states allow unlimited attempts to pass the bar exam. There are 21 states that limit bar exam attempts, that range from 2-6 attempts. Some of those states have discretionary limits that allow additional attempts outside of their limit with special permissions. But there are some states that have absolute limits that barr applicants from retaking the exam in that state. States with discretionary limits will vary. Some may require extraordinary circumstances to permit another examination, while some may be more lenient.

Please note that the information presented below is based off various resources like the NCBE Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements and a journal from the St. Johns Law Review. Be sure to double check the requirements for your jurisdiction. One way to do this is by contacting your state’s board of law or office of bar admissions.

States with No Limits on the Number of Times You Can Take the Bar Exam

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau

States with Discretionary Limits on the Number of Times You Can Take the Bar Exam

  • Arizona [3]
  • District of Columbia [4]
  • Idaho [6]
  • Iowa [2]
  • Maryland [3]
  • Montana [3]
  • South Carolina [3]
  • South Dakota* [3]
  • Texas [5]
  • Utah [6]
  • Virginia [5]
  • West Virginia [4]
  • Wyoming [4]
  • Puerto Rico [6]
  • Virgin Islands [3]
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States with Absolute Limits on the Number of Times You Can Take the Bar Exam

  • Kansas [4]
  • Kentucky [5]
  • New Hampshire [4]
  • North Dakota [6]
  • Rhode Island [5]
  • Vermont [4]

Start Studying Today

Once you are aware of your jurisdiction’s limits on taking the bar exam, you should have a better idea of how much effort to put into your exam preparation. Good news for you, we have free MBE practice tests to help brush up your knowledge. Additionally, we have a premium program that guarantees you will pass.


The United States (US) has a complex, common-law legal system, which can make navigating the path to becoming an attorney challenging.

Each state in the US has its own set of standards for admission to the state bar. The North Carolina Bar Association operates under the supervision of North Carolina’s highest court, the Supreme court of North Carolina. The North Carolina Bar Association, which monitors judicial and legislative issues, offers legal education opportunities and promotes leadership within the legal profession, is comprised of more than 13,000 attorneys and judges.


In order to practice law in the US, a student must obtain a juris doctor degree (J.D.). US students do not study law during their undergraduate education; rather, they obtain their J.D. at a specialized postgraduate law school. There is no undergraduate course of study required in order to attend law school.

Before submitting applications to law school, all US students must first take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT is a timed exam consisting of five sections and one writing sample. Each section of the exam is meant to analyze a student’s reading, writing and logical reasoning skills. The LSAT is given four times per year at various locations in each state. Law schools use a candidate’s LSAT score as a factor when evaluating their application for admission.

Requirements To Practice Law

In order to practice law in North Carolina, one must:

  • Have completed the pre-legal education necessary to meet the minimum requirements for admission to an American Bar Association (ABA) approved law school;
  • Have graduated from an law school approved by the Council of the North Carolina State Bar (which, coincidentally, are also approved by the ABA) or have graduated from a non-ABA approved law school only if graduation was before August 1, 1995;
  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Prove that he or she has good moral character and fitness for the practice of law;
  • File an application to take the bar examination and paid the appropriate fee; and
  • Take and pass the bar examination.
Bar Exam
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The North Carolina Bar Exam consists of:

                (1) 12 essay questions developed by the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners;

                (2) 200 multiple-choice questions from the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) of the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

The written portion of the exam consists of 12 essay questions.  The multiple-choice portion of the exam consists of 200 questions from the MBE.

The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) assesses a student’s ability to analyze legal facts patterns and apply fundamental legal principles. The MBE is a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice examination covering Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

Out-Of-State United States Attorneys

 A person is eligible for admission to the Bar of North Carolina if that person:

  • Is a member of the Bar of a state;
  • Has passed a written bar examination in a state;
  • Has practiced law actively for 4 of the 6 years immediately preceding filing of application; and
  • Possesses the good moral character and fitness necessary for the practice of law.

The petitioner must pass an attorney examination prescribed by the Board.

Helpful Links

Law School Admissions Counsel: http://www.ncbar.org

North Carolina bar Association: http://www.msba.org/

North Carolina Board of Law Examiners: http://www.ncble.org/

National Conference of Bar Examiners: http://www.ncbex.org/

American Bar Association: http://www.americanbar.org/aba.html

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