January 8, 2024

National Conference of Bar Examiners Selects AccessLex Institute to Assist in Study Aid Development for NextGen Bar Exam

Academic and Bar Success


The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and AccessLex Institute announced today that the two organizations will collaborate in study aid development for the NextGen bar exam, set to launch in July 2026.

NCBE currently provides official practice questions for its Multistate Bar Examination, Multistate Essay Examination, and Multistate Performance Test – the exam components that make up part or all of the bar exam in 54 U.S. jurisdictions, including the 41 jurisdictions that participate in bar exam score portability through the Uniform Bar Examination program. NCBE currently licenses exam questions to over 100 bar exam preparation programs and law schools across the country in addition to providing them at a low cost directly to examinees through the BarNow study aids program. Study aids developed by AccessLex Institute and NCBE for the NextGen bar exam will also be made available through NCBE’s licensing and direct-to-examinee programs.

AccessLex Institute, a renowned nonprofit organization committed to improving access, affordability, and the value of legal education, will develop sample questions to be used by examinees, law schools, and bar exam preparation programs at the launch of the new exam. “Through research, grants, student-focused programs, and advocacy offered through its Center for Legal Education Excellence® and Helix Bar Review, AccessLex is a leader in the effort to increase bar passage today, while striving to best align the bar exam with the needs of tomorrow,” said Christopher P. Chapman, President and CEO of AccessLex. “Our partnership with NCBE exemplifies our commitment to advancing this objective.”

“Official NCBE study aids are essential to examinees, law schools, and bar exam preparation programs, and this agreement ensures that NCBE will continue to provide high-quality sample questions as we launch the NextGen bar exam,” said Judith A. Gundersen, President and CEO of NCBE. “Today, NCBE’s study aid questions are drawn from past bar exams. While the new exam will feature some question types that appear on the current exam, some question types are new. It will be some time before we will be able to release exam-tested study aids for these new question types, and our work with AccessLex Institute is designed to bridge that gap with sample questions that have a high level of fidelity to the questions that will appear on the exam.” For samples of each question type, including new samples released in early 2024, visit https://nextgenbarexam.ncbex.org/nextgen-sample-questions.

Designed to reflect the work performed by newly licensed attorneys, the NextGen bar exam will test nine areas of legal doctrine (civil procedure, contract law, evidence, torts, business associations, constitutional law, criminal law, real property, family law) and seven 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 new exam will balance the skills and knowledge needed in litigation and transactional legal practice and will reflect many of the key changes that law schools are making to their own curricula, building on the successes of clinical legal education programs, alternative dispute resolution programs, and legal writing and analysis programs.


About the Next Generation of the Bar Exam 

Set to debut 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. The skills and concepts to be tested were developed through a multi-year, nationwide legal practice analysis, focused on the most important knowledge and skills for newly licensed lawyers. Designed to balance the skills and knowledge needed in litigation and transactional legal practice, the exam will reflect many of the key changes that law schools are making today. NCBE is committed to ensuring a systematic, transparent, and collaborative implementation process, informed by input from and participation by stakeholders, and guided by best practices and the professional standards for high-stakes testing. For more information, visit https://nextgenbarexam.ncbex.org or https://www.ncbex.org/exams/nextgen. 

About the National Conference of Bar Examiners 

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1931. NCBE promotes fairness, integrity, and best practices in bar admissions for the benefit and protection of the public, in pursuit of its vision of a competent, ethical, and diverse legal profession. Best known for developing bar exam content used by 54 U.S. jurisdictions, NCBE serves admission authorities, courts, the legal education community, and candidates by providing high-quality assessment products, services, and research; character investigations; and informational and educational resources and programs. In 2026, NCBE will launch the next generation of the bar examination, ensuring that the exam continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent entry-level legal practice in a changing profession. For more information, visit the NCBE website at https://www.ncbex.org. 

About AccessLex Institute 

AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to helping talented, purpose-driven students find their path from aspiring lawyer to fulfilled professional. In partnership with its nearly 200 member law schools, improving access and positively influencing legal education have been at the heart of the Company’s mission since 1983. Learn more at AccessLex.org.