South Dakota Bar Exam

South Dakota Bar Examiners

South Dakota Board of Bar Examiners
500 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-4898

Bar Exam Format

The South Dakota bar exam has one day of written questions and one day of multiple choice questions.

Day 1

On the first day, the 3-hour morning session has 5, 30-minute MEE questions and 1, 30-minute Indian Law question. The 3-hour afternoon session has 2, 90-minute MPT questions.

Day 2

On the second day, the 3-hour morning session has 100 MBE questions and the 3-hour afternoon session has another 100 MBE questions.


The State of South Dakota permits South Dakota bar exam reciprocity.  A person may qualify for admission to the South Dakota Bar without examination if the person fulfills several requirements, some of which include providing evidence:

  • of graduation from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association;
  • that for the past five years they have practiced law in specified capacity; and
  • of certification of admission to practice law in another jurisdiction.


The South Dakota essay questions may cover these topics:

  • Business Associations (including Agency, Corporations, LLCs, and Partnerships);
  • Conflict of Laws;
  • Constitutional Law;
  • Contracts;
  • Criminal Law and Procedure;
  • Evidence;
  • Family Law;
  • Federal Civil Procedure;
  • Federal Indian Law (including civil and criminal jurisdiction, the Indian Civil Rights Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act);
  • Real Property;
  • Secured Transactions;
  • Torts;
  • Trusts and Future Interests; and
  • Wills and Decedents’ Estates.

Bar Exam Dates

The South Dakota bar exam is held in February and July. The exam is usually on the last Wednesday and prior Tuesday of each month.


  • February 27-28, 2024
  • July 30-31, 2024

Exam Results

Generally, within 12 weeks after the February and July South Dakota bar exams, the bar examiners release that exam’s results and mail them to all applicants.


A minimum passing standard applies to each portion of the South Dakota Bar Exam.  To pass the Exam, an applicant must obtain a minimum score of 135 on the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”) portion and an average score of 75% on the written portion, which is the combined 2 Multistate Performance Test (“MPT”) questions, 5 Multistate Essay Exam (“MEE”) questions, and 1 Indian Law question.

Pass Rate/Stats

Pass rates for the South Dakota bar exam have ranged between 58% and 97% for all takers, 72% and 100% for first-time takers, and 17% and 78% for repeat takers.