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 will open in late August and close at 5pm on 3 October 2019.

The duration of the exam is three hours and is in partial open-book format. Candidates will be supplied with relevant statutes, or sufficient extracts of statutes relevant to the subject matter of the questions.

The Bar Entrance Exam will be held in May (for the September readers' course) and October/November (for the March readers' course of the following year) each year.

Exams are usually held from 9am - 12.30pm at Karstens, Ground Floor, 123 Queen Street, Melbourne.

Please see the below sample instructions which will also be provided on the day of the exam. 

Applicants Please Note:  There was a large number of successful applicants who sat the November 2018 examination. As a result, there will only be limited places available for the September 2019 course.  In the event there is again a high number of successful applicants from the May 2019 exam than can be accommodated in September 2019, successful applicants may be offered a place in the March 2020 course.

Exam Information Session

Twice a year 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 next seminar is scheduled for 22 August 2019 at 5.00pm.  Registration will open on this day.

The most recent Exam Information Session was held on Monday 11 February 2019. A video recording of this session is available below.

Exam Preparation Seminar

The exam preparation seminar is conducted twice a year and conducted by the chief examiner. The aim of this seminar is to assist candidates with their preparation for the exam.

The next exam preparation seminar is scheduled for Thursday 3 October 2019.  These sessions are held at 5.00pm in the McPhee room, Level 1 Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne. Registration is not required.  The seminar will be recorded and a podcast made available on the website afterwards.

The most recent exam preparation seminar was held on Thursday 11 April 2019. A video recording of the exam preparation seminar is available below.


May 2019 Exam Materials - EXAMPLE


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

The excerpts of examinable provisions reflect the law as it stands on 11 April 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 of $545 prior to sitting the exam.

What happens after I sit the exam?

Approximately 6 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 Reading Regulations regarding allocation of places.

If you succeed in getting an offer you will be expected to participate in the next readers' course, approximately two months from the date you receive notification. 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.