Guide to the Bar Exam

In our curriculum, the lockstep and upper-level required courses cover many areas of law that are tested on the bar exam. However, Texas and other states also test subjects that are not covered in these courses.

What courses should you take to prepare to pass the bar exam?

Many of the lockstep and required courses will prepare you to pass the bar exam. Many students also choose to use some of their elective courses to prepare for the bar. The number of courses you should take for this purpose depends on your personal circumstances, including factors such as your ability to learn large amounts of information quickly in a commercial bar prep course. For many students, devoting a large number of electives to bar preparation will not be as worthwhile as taking courses that will prepare them for their careers. Taking too many bar courses, for example, can prevent you from concentrating on an area that interests you.

Nonetheless, students who struggle academically during law school often have a difficult time passing the bar. If you fall into this category, you may benefit from taking more bar prep courses than the typical student. If you are particularly concerned about passing the bar exam — and especially if your cumulative GPA is in the fourth quartile of the class (typically around 2.70 to 2.75) — we also strongly encourage you to meet with our Academic Support staff to map out a plan to prepare you for the bar. In addition, if you are in the bottom third of your class in the semester before graduation, you must take Passing the Bar Exam, a three-credit pass/fail course designed to familiarize students with the contents of the Texas bar exam.

Listed below are elective courses that may help you prepare for the Texas bar exam. If you plan to take the bar exam of a state other than Texas, choose courses that cover topics that are tested in that state. Our Academic Support staff can offer bar prep assistance for every state.

Core Curriculum Elective Courses Semester/Division Typically Offered
Administrative Law Yearly: semester and division vary
Advanced Torts Spring: alt. day and evening
Agency & Partnership Fall: occasional / Spring: alt. day and evening
Consumer Law Fall: alt. day and evening
Family Law Fall: evening / Spring: day
Federal Income Tax Fall: day / Spring: evening
Marital Property Spring: day / Summer: evening
Oil & Gas Fall: day / Spring or summer: evening
Remedies Spring: alt. day and evening
Sales & Leases Yearly: semester and division vary
Texas Criminal Procedure Fall: evening / Spring: day
Texas Pretrial Procedure Fall: evening / Spring: day
Texas Real Property Yearly: semester and division vary
Texas Trials & Appeals Fall: day / Spring: evening
Payment Systems Fall: evening / Spring: day
Secured Transactions Fall: day / Spring: evening

Please note that we do not offer every course listed at the times listed above. As a general rule, we offer core courses every year; indeed, we often offer these courses at least once per year in each division (day and evening). 

What areas of the law are covered on the Texas bar exam?

The subjects tested vary somewhat from one exam sitting to the next, but they generally include the following:

Multistate Subjects:

  • Civil procedure
  • Constitutional law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal law
  • Evidence
  • Real property
  • Torts

Multistate Performance Test:

The Texas bar exam includes the Multistate Performance Test, a skills test that is designed to assess your ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. During the test, you will receive a “file” of source documents and a “library” of cases, statutes and rules. Using these materials, you will perform an assigned lawyering task, such as writing a memorandum to a supervising attorney, a letter to a client, a contract provision, a proposal for settlement or a closing argument.

Texas Essay Subjects:

  • Business associations, including agency, corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and professional associations
  • Trusts and guardianships
  • Wills and administration
  • Family law
  • Uniform Commercial Code
  • Consumer rights, including DTPA and insurance
  • Real property, including oil and gas

Procedure and Evidence Subjects:

  • Texas civil procedure and evidence, including jurisdiction
  • Federal and Texas criminal procedure and evidence

Crossover Topics:

  • Income, estate and gift tax issues, to be included where appropriate, as an element of questions in other subjects, such as family law, oil and gas, wills, etc.
  • Bankruptcy, to be included where appropriate, as an element of questions in other subjects, such as family law, wills and estates, real property, etc.

For more details about the Texas bar exam, see our Overview of the Texas Bar Exam.

Learn more about how our Academic Support Program can help you prepare for the bar exam.