Matthew Meland

Matthew Meland

Lawyer at FFMP and founder of Sharpened.

Past Quebec Bar Exams vs. Current Bar Exams

by | Apr 10, 2018 | Quebec Bar | 2 comments

Matthew Meland

Matthew Meland

Lawyer at FFMP and founder of Sharpened


The Quebec Bar Exam is now around the corner and you’ve been preparing for months, but you only have past bar exams up to 2004, so is it worthwhile to do these old exams and are they even similar to current examinations? This is the topic of today’s post. (Past exams may be found here) Firstly, absolutely, without a doubt, do as many past exams as you can. The past exams more than anything else provide you with an insight into the Bar’s way of thinking and start to prepare you for an exam full of trick and sometimes impossibly difficult questions. As I have said before, the key to getting through the Quebec Bar is to go into the exam with the mindset that every question is a trick question. There is no better way to get yourself nicely into that mindset than by doing past exams and seeing some of the ways in which the Barreau du Quebec tries to trick you.

Now you may ask, but what about the fact that the available past exams are all really old and the format has since changed, so how relevant actually are they? So, let’s take a look step-by-step. The most important difference which you will discover upon looking at past exams is that the examination process has changed substantially. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, there were four Quebec Bar exams. The material was divided by subject into four exams and you had to pass each of those exams in order to get your certification. The questions were primarily short-answer questions with the occasional multiple-choice question. The format has since changed. Currently, there are three exams (the last exam is split over two days): Ethics, Drafting & Theory of a Case, and Legal Principles. The Legal Principles Exam comprises 100 multiple-choice questions split over two days. As these past exams primarily contain short answer questions, they will not match the format of your exam, but the questions themselves remain very relevant and doing those questions is a great way to prepare for your Bar Exam.

Some past exam questions are just about reused as is in current exams. Questions in criminal law such as what infractions may a person be accused of often return, questions in business law on the missing components of a special assembly notice, and questions in family law on child support calculations. One of the tricky points is the fact that the law applicable to some of the subjects has changed, sometimes substantially, since the solution sheets were prepared for the past exams. This applies notably to labour law where there have been substantial changes to the Labour Code and the Act Respecting Labour Standards (Loi sur les normes du travail); to business law where the solution sheets are based off of the Companies Act rather than the current Quebec Business Corporation Act; and in anything based off of the Civil Procedure Code.

Also highly relevant are the drafting questions which were quite substantial in past exams and are once again very important. It is worthwhile doing these past questions and for a further discussion on drafting questions, see this post (Bar Exam Drafting Questions: What to Expect).

A final difference is that some topics covered on past exams are no longer covered by current exams such as municipal taxation or bankruptcy & insolvency. The descriptions on this page containing past exams provide some indicators as to the questions to skip, but generally, if the question deals with something which wasn’t even remotely covered in the Collection de droit, it probably won’t be on the exam. The key word in that phrase is “remotely”, if it was even mentioned once in passing, it’s fair game.

So, what’s the final verdict? It is worthwhile to do the past exams since they prepare you for Bar style questions and may bear some similarity to the actual questions asked. That being said, don’t forget to skip the no longer relevant questions and to work to update the solution sheets to the updated laws. If you’re wondering if you should read La Collection or spend your time doing past exams, I would recommend going the route of past exams.


  1. Sanjeev prashar

    I am an indian lawyer practicing in india for last about 20 years and want to become member of quebec can I become a member?

    • Matthew Meland

      You would need to get certain equivalency classes to cover Quebec and Canadian law and then write the Bar exam. In addition, there may be some French language requirements. Your best bet is to contact the Quebec Bar directly at: 1 844 954-3411 or


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