Victorian Bar Entrance Exam

To become members of the Victorian Bar, applicants must first complete a readers' course and a period of readership under a mentor. Candidates for the readers' course must first pass an entrance examination before being offered a place.


About The Exam

In order to gain admission to the Victorian Bar readers' course applicants must first sit and pass an entrance exam. The minimum pass mark is 75%. 

The next Bar Entrance Exam is scheduled for 31 October 2019.  Registration for this exam is now closed.

The Exam in 2020

The purpose of the Readers’ Entrance Exam is to ensure that readers commencing the course are sufficiently equipped with core knowledge to commence practical training exercises immediately. Following an extensive review of the exam, a number of improvements are being made for the benefit of the Bar’s current and future members.

The subject matter will be largely unchanged but there will be some refinement of content, such as the focus of questions on criminal and civil procedure.

The exam typically attracts a high number of applicants, in some cases more than can be accommodated in the Readers’ Course. We are expecting to hold only one exam in 2020, in October or November. Details will be posted on this website as soon as they are available.

General Information - Entrance Exam for 31 October 2019


Exam Information Session

The Bar conducts a general information session about the exam. At this session the chief examiner gives an overview of the structure of the next exam including making available the updated reading guide.  The most recent Exam Information Session was held on Thursday 22 August 2019.

A video recording of this session is available below.

Exam Preparation Seminar

The aim of this seminar is to assist candidates with their preparation for the exam. The most recent exam preparation seminar was held on Thursday 3 October 2019

A video recording of the exam preparation seminar is available below.

October 2019 Exam Materials 

Please see the below sample instructions similar to those which will also be provided on the day of the exam. The final version will be communicated a week prior to all candidates.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Below you will find the reading guide and excerpts of examinable legislative provisions for the 31 October 2019 exam.  These will be reproduced in hard copy and provided to candidates in the examination room. Candidates must not bring their own copies to the examination.

These excerpts of examinable provisions reflect the law as it stands on 02 October 2019. There may be some discrepancies in the examinable provisions listed in the Reading Guide as compared to the below listed provisions.  For the avoidance of doubt, only the following provisions are examinable.

PDF icon Index
PDF icon Reading Guide
PDF icon Supreme Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Examinable Excerpts as at 2 October 2019)
PDF icon Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Examinable Excerpts as at 2 October 2019)
PDF icon Bail Act 1977 (Examinable Excerpts as at 2 October 2019)
PDF icon Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Examinable Excerpts as at 2 October 2019 )
PDF icon Jury Directions Act 2015 (Examinable Excerpts as at 2 October 2019)
PDF icon Sentencing Act 1991 (Examinable Excerpts as at 2 October 2019)
PDF icon Evidence Act 2008 (Examinable Excerpts as at 2 October 2019)
PDF icon Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barristers) Rules 2015
PDF icon Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (Examinable Excerpts as at 2 October 2019)

Additional Materials

Additional materials including past exam papers and sample answers can be downloaded via the links below.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to apply?

Candidates must pay a non-refundable application fee prior to sitting the exam.  The fee for 2020 is to be confirmed.

What happens after I sit the exam?

Approximately 6-8 weeks after the exam, you will be notified of your result and may receive an offer to commence the readers' course.

The number of participants in each readers’ course is limited.  Please refer to s.6(7) of the Application and Reading Regulations regarding allocation of places.

If you succeed in getting an offer you will be expected to participate in the readers' course offered. A deferral to the next reading period may be granted only in exceptional circumstances. An exceptional circumstance includes where your current employment contract requires more than two months' notice of resignation. You cannot defer beyond the next reading period.

If you are unsuccessful in obtaining an offer you are welcome to sit the exam for future intakes, provided you pay the non-refundable application fee.

Can I sit the exam if I am overseas or interstate?

Yes, but you must give notice to the Victorian Bar office at the time of registering for the exam. You will be expected to organise to sit the exam with your local Australian embassy, who will supervise the exam and send it back to us. If this is not viable, candidates will need to submit a proposed alternative exam process to the Victorian Bar office for consideration. All associated costs in sitting the exam offsite will be charged to the candidate. These costs will be confirmed at the time of registration.

Is it possible to apply for special consideration?

A reader Applicant who registers to sit the Exam and who considers that his or her result in the Exam may be affected, or has been affected, by illness, injury, bereavement or other hardship, may make an application for special consideration. A request for special consideration must be made in writing no more than 5 business days after the date of the exam. Special consideration will only be considered if the candidate would not otherwise receive an offer.