How to Pass the Bar Exam Without a Law Degree

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Admission to the bar is a highly valued professional accomplishment. While many applicants to the bar have a law degree, in some states it is not a requirement. The bar exam is very challenging. In Nebraska, California and Alabama, fewer than 50 percent of those taking the bar in 2009 passed the exam. Requirements vary widely from state to state, so it is always a good idea to check with your state regarding its requirements before attempting to sit for the bar exam.

  • Research the requirements of the states where you are interested in taking the bar. Each state has its own requirements for eligibility. Maryland requires graduation from a school accredited by the American Bar Association. Some states do not require graduation from law school including Delaware, Georgia and Kansas.

  • Satisfy all the requirements that are related to academics. Vermont and Michigan, among other states, do not require graduation from college as part of their requirements to qualify for the bar exam. Maine and Ohio require a bachelor's degree. Some states such as New Hampshire and Michigan require some college education.

  • Satisfy the eligibility requirements that are not related to an education. You must research and satisfy the eligibility requirements for the state you choose. Convicted felons are not qualified to sit for the bar exam in Mississippi and Missouri. In Florida, all applicants must document their immigration status. In Ohio, applicants must take 10 classroom hours of ethics and one hour of substance abuse education.

  • Apply to take the exam. Once you've chosen a state and are assured you can satisfy all the eligibility requirements, complete the state's application to sit for the bar exam. Most states offer the exam twice a year and there are deadlines for applying.

  • Take a bar preparation course. The bar is a very challenging exam. Many law school graduates do not pass the exam on the first attempt. It is wise to set aside the time to prepare for the exam.

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