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TOPEKA – Effective July 2028, Kansas will administer the NextGen bar examination currently in development with the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

The NextGen bar exam will replace the Uniform Bar Examination administered in Kansas since 2016. The Uniform Bar Exam was also developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Justice Melissa Standridge, who is the Kansas Supreme Court liaison on matters involving admission to the Kansas bar, said a key benefit of the Uniform Bar Exam is score portability.

"Kansas started offering the Uniform Bar Exam several years ago because it allows examinees to transfer bar exam scores between participating jurisdictions," Standridge said. "This ensures that successful examinees can practice law across state lines."

That score portability benefit will carry over to the NextGen bar exam, which will make its official debut in 2026. But Kansas won’t begin using it until July 2028. Waiting until July 2028 to start using it allows the National Conference of Bar Examiners and participating jurisdictions two full years administering the NextGen bar exam before Kansas administers it. It also allows Kansas law schools time to prepare their programs for incoming law students who will take the NextGen exam in July 2028. The National Conference of Bar Examiners will no longer offer the Uniform Bar Exam in any jurisdiction after February 2028.

The Uniform Bar Exam that Kansas currently administers tests both the knowledge and skills needed to be a licensed attorney. It has three components: the Multistate Essay Exam, Multistate Performance Test, and Multistate Bar Exam.

The NextGen exam is designed to take less time while testing a wider variety of knowledge and skills through additional testing methods. The new exam will have multiple-choice questions similar to the current Multistate Bar Exam, integrated question sets that combine short-answer and multiple-choice questions in response to a common fact scenario, and performance tasks.

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