Bar exams

Updated 05/12/2023

General Information

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.

Bar Association Examination Policy

Bar Examination Information Guide

Bar Practice Course

Bar Practice Course Policy. 

Exemption Policy.


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 Standards & Support Department:  

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.

Please note, we do not distribute preparatory materials to un-registered candidates. However, we are delighted to advise that we are now able to distribute the most recent Bar Exam here for your preparation:

June 2023 Bar Exam: Civil Paper & Criminal Paper 

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. For more information on the Bar Pratice Course, please refer to our information page and Bar Practice Course Policy


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. Applications for exemptions are only considered in the context of a full Practicing Certificate application. For specific guidelines and further information regarding exemptions, please see our Exemption Policy.


Examination format

The Bar Exam is comprised of 2x two-hour papers with an additional 30 minutes of reading time allowed for each paper. Each paper will comprise of one question book for either civil or criminal practice which equally focus on legal ethics for barristers; aspects of evidence; and practice and procedure for barristers (including both short and long answer questions). 

Answers will be required to be typed on the software on the approved candidate’s laptop.

All Sydney candidates must arrive at least one (1) hour before reading time commences for laptop setup on examination day.

Paper 1                  Morning Examination  

Paper 2                  Afternoon Examination


Examination Dates 2024

February 2024

Registration Open

Registration Close

Monday, 6 November 2023 (Midday)

Monday, 4 December 2023 (Midday)


Sydney Candidates

Distance Candidates


Thursday, 8 February 2024

Wednesday, 7 February 2024



The February 2024 Bar Exam registration has now closed.

For the website, click here - Exam Website

If you encounter any issues, please email

June 2024

Registration Open

Registration Close

Monday, 25 March 2024 (Midday)

Monday, 22 April 2024 (Midday)


Sydney Candidates

Distance Candidates


Thursday, 13 June 2024

Wednesday, 12 June 2024




Note: dates provided are in AEST and may change to enable us to accommodate prevailing Government social distancing and other restrictions