Updated 4 May 2021
It is proposed that the June 2021 Bar Exam will be held on Tuesday 22 June 2021 in Sydney. The precise timing of the exam may vary slightly for distance candidates depending on the location at which the exam is to be conducted. While every effort will be made to ensure the exam is able to be conducted on this date, we cannot exclude the possibility that this date will need to be changed to enable us to accommodate prevailing Government social distancing and other restrictions.
Registrations for the June 2021 Bar Exam will open at midday on Monday 15 March 2021 and close at midday on Friday 16 April 2021. Registration can be completed via the NSWBA website below. No late registrations will be accepted outside of this period.
Further details regarding the examination and the precise location at which it will be conducted will be provided to candidates following registration.
The distinctive feature of practice at the bar is advocacy before the courts and tribunals. Accordingly, the Bar Council sets an exam in subjects related specifically to advocacy: legal ethics for barristers; aspects of evidence; and practice and procedure for barristers. Admission to the Supreme Court is not a pre-requisite for sitting the Bar Exam, but it is necessary to pass this exam before commencing the Bar Practice Course. Candidates should familiarise themselves with the Bar Association Examination Policy and other professional development-related policies before registering.
The NSW Bar Exam is offered twice a year. Candidates are required to register. The registration fee is non-transferable and non-refundable. Please ensure you have read the Bar Association Examination Policy and all relevant material before registering.
Overseas or interstate sittings may be arranged through the Professional Development Department: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing for the Bar Exam
Upon registration, exam candidates are provided with a reading list and relevant materials. Tutorials are offered by the Bar Association in the weeks prior to the exam. We do not endorse courses provided by other organisations. The examination is delivered electronically using ExamSoft software. For more information refer to our Information Guide.
The Bar Exam is comprised of 2x2-hour papers with an additional 30 minutes of reading time allowed for each paper. Each paper is divided into two equally weighted question books including both short and long answer questions.
Passing the Bar Exam
The pass mark is 75 per cent overall.
Passing the NSW Bar Exam does not entitle you to a NSW barrister's practising certificate. The Bar Practice Course must be undertaken within 15 months of passing the examination. Passing the NSW Bar Examination permits a candidate to apply for enrolment in the Bar Practice Course, but does not guarantee that a candidate will be able to enrol in the Bar Practice Course of his or her choosing. Please refer to the Bar Practice Course Policy (updated October 2019), and, in particular, the capacity limits that apply for each course. There will be a limit of 54 places for each course. Applicants are advised not to give notice of termination to employers until examination results and an offer of a place confirms entry to the full-time course. In addition to passing the Bar Exam, you must satisfactorily complete the NSW Bar Practice Course and Bar Council must approve your application for a practising certificate before a practising certificate will be issued.
Applications for exemption from the Bar Exam should be directed to the Executive Director, in writing, detailing grounds for exemption supported by a curriculum vitae. Specific guidelines for application are not provided. All applications are judged on their merits. Applications for exemptions are only considered in the context of a full Practicing Certificate application.
The Examination is comprised of 2 x two-hour exam papers and 30 minutes of reading time with a break between each paper. Each sitting will comprise of one question book. Answers will be required to be typed on the software on the approved candidates laptop.
Paper 1 All Sydney candidates must arrive at least one (1) hour before reading time commences for laptop setup on examination day.
Paper 2 All Sydney candidates must arrive at least one (1) hour before reading time commences for laptop setup on examination day.
Examination Dates 2021
Monday, 3pm 2 November 2020
Friday, midday 20 November 2020
Tuesday, 16 February 2021
Monday, 15 February 2021 - Tuesday, 16 February 2021
Thursday, 11 March 2021
Monday, midday 15 March 2021
Friday, midday 16 April 2021
Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Monday, 21 June 2021 - Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Thursday, 15 July 2021
Examination Dates 2022
Please refer back in October 2021
Note: dates may change to enable us to accommodate prevailing Government social distancing and other restrictions