About the NextGen Bar Exam

gavel on computer keyboard

Set to debut in a limited number of US jurisdictions in July 2026, the NextGen bar exam will test a broad range of foundational lawyering skills, utilizing a focused set of clearly identified fundamental legal concepts and principles needed in today’s practice of law. 

  • Foundational concepts and principles: business associations, civil procedure, constitutional law, contract law, criminal law, evidence, real property, torts
    • Family Law: From July 2026 through February 2028, family law concepts will appear on every NextGen exam in a performance task and may also be included in integrated question sets. During this period, family law concepts will be tested with the provision of legal resources. Starting in July 2028, family law will be included in the foundational concepts and principles tested on the NextGen bar exam and will be tested in the same manner as the other foundational concepts and principles.
    • Trusts and Estates: From July 2026 through at least February 2028, trusts and estates concepts will appear on every NextGen exam in a performance task and may also be included in integrated question sets. During this period, trusts and estates concepts will be tested with the provision of legal resources.
  • Foundational lawyering skills: legal research, legal writing, issue spotting and analysis, investigation and evaluation, client counseling and advising, negotiation and dispute resolution, client relationship and management

The NextGen bar exam will first be made available to US jurisdictions with the July 2026 bar exam. As jurisdictions announce whether they intend to first administer the new exam in July 2026, February or July 2027, or February or July 2028, NCBE will update its list of participating jurisdictions to reflect these announcements. 

About the Development Process

The NextGen bar exam is currently under development utilizing a rigorous process that includes multiple phases of research testing and statistical analysis. The development process is being conducted in accordance with the same best practices in licensure exam development utilized by a broad range of exams, including those for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering, accounting, and other licensed professions.

Questions for the NextGen bar exam are written by diverse teams of law professors and deans, practicing attorneys, and judges drawn from jurisdictions throughout the US.

For additional information about the development of the NextGen bar exam, visit the NextGen website

About Exam Administration

Like the current bar exam, the NextGen bar exam will be administered, and the written portions graded, by the individual US jurisdictions. NCBE will provide the technology platform to conduct the grading, taking advantage of the latest advances in grading best practices and technology.

The NextGen bar exam will be administered over one and a half days, with two three-hour sessions on day one and one three-hour session on day two. Jurisdictions that administer their own local law components may elect to extend day two for that purpose.

The exam will be taken on examinees’ own laptops at in-person, proctored testing locations. A secure, online assessment platform will be used to present the exam and to collect examinees’ responses. The platform will offer a range of assistive technologies and custom created formats for examinees who require testing accommodations.

About Score Portability

The NextGen bar exam will replace the current Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) as the basis for score portability between participating jurisdictions. 

During the transition period between the current UBE and the NextGen bar exam, UBE jurisdictions will accept both the current UBE and NextGen scores for portability purposes, with current UBE scores remaining valid until the time limit set by each participating jurisdiction. See the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements for information on the time limit for transferring UBE scores in each jurisdiction. 

Jurisdictions that do not elect to participate in score portability may administer the NextGen bar exam without accepting scores for transfer.