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The decision on which state in which to take the bar is highly personal and depends on a variety of factors. When making your decision, remember that (with very limited exceptions), you will only be permitted to practice law in the state in which you take your exam. So, if you are planning on practicing law in the US after taking the exam, it is a good idea to take the exam in a state in which you would like to live or work.
On the other hand, if you are not planning on practicing law in the US, you might instead base your decision on the simplicity of the state’s requirements. For example, New York is popular among international students, while California is considered to be one of the more difficult states in which international students can obtain a qualification.
The bar exam is taken in several parts over at least two days. Most states will dedicate one day to the Multistate Bar Examination, a multiple choice exam covering topics not specific to the law of any one state, such as Contracts, Torts, Property, Constitutional Law, and Evidence.
Another day would cover the law of the specific state in which you are taking the exam. This might be a multiple choice exam, an essay exam, or both. Additionally, the exam may include the Multistate Performance Test, which is designed to evaluate lawyering skills rather than substantive law.
Finally, you will need to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, which tests your knowledge of professional ethics. This exam is administered on a separate occasion from the regular bar exam.
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