What Topics will be on my Bar Exam?: Statistics Since 2011

Quebec Bar Exam Topics

Roughly one month before the Quebec Bar Exam and the retake exam, the topics (subjects) for that examination are released. Although at first glance, this means that you need to wait until the topics are released to really start studying as you don’t know yet what will be on your exam, but the reality is that you don’t have to wait until the topics are announced. Data from past years can help you know with a high degree of certainty five of the topics which will likely be on the regular bar exam and two on the retake. Prior to the Covid cycles of exams, there were five shoe-in topics on the regular Bar Exam: Criminal, Labour, Family, Business Law, and Administrative Law. During the Winter 2020 exams and the 2020-2021 cycle of exams, administrative law was not on the exam, but it returned in the Fall 2021 exam. Procedure has just about never been on the exam (in the Winter 2012 Retake Evidence and Procedure were combined formally together as a single topic), but since then it has been indirectly integrated into Evidence. Accordingly, we can be fairly certain that this year’s regular Bar Exam will have the following five topics: Criminal, Labour, Family, Administrative Law, and Business Law.

We can be fairly certain that this year’s regular Bar Exam will have the following five topics: Criminal, Labour, Family, Administrative law, and Business Law.

Although during the 2020-21 cycle exams, there were only 5 topics and during the height of the pandemic there was even an exam with only two topics (lucky them!), as of the Fall 2021 exams, there are 6 topics once again and it is reasonable to expect that there will continue to be 6 topics on the exams moving forward.

Piggybacking on several compilations of exam topics which had already been prepared, namely the one prepared by Droit-inc back in 2016, I updated the compilation up to today’s date. The table below indicates the topics which were on each of the exams (both the regular exam and the retake exam) and the day of the exam during which the topic occurred. Day 1 of the exam is multiple-choice questions and Day 2 is short answer questions.

For the regular Bar Exam, the most common topics are Criminal, Labour, Family, Business Law, and Administrative Law followed shortly thereafter by the optional topics Obligations (9 occurrences), Evidence (6 occurrences), Hypothecs (6 occurrences), and Civil Liability (2 occurrences).

For the retake Bar Exam, the most common topics are Business Law and Criminal Law (both are just about a shoe-in for the retake) followed by Civil Liability (13 occurrences), Hypothecs (12 occurrences), Obligations (12 occurrences), Family Law (11 occurrences), Evidence (11 occurrences), Administrative Law (8 occurrences), Law of Persons (4 occurrences), and Workplace Accidents (2 occurrences).

All that being said, I always advise the students which we tutor to immediately start studying the following topics (and this even before the topics are formally released): Criminal Law, Business Law, Labour Law, and Family Law. I also highly suggest that they start studying Obligations even prior to the subjects being released due to the substantial amount of studying required to get up to speed in that topic which will be all consuming if it is ultimately announced and you only have four weeks to study it. Hope this information helps you better strategize your studying.

Past Quebec Bar Exam Subjecsts

Compiled statistics since 2011 for the Quebec Bar Exam topics. D1 stands for “Day 1” of the exam; D2 stands for “Day 2”

(Les sujets (matières) les plus courants à l’examen du Barreau du Québec régulier et l’examen de reprise sont les suivants. Examen régulier: droit pénal, droit des affaires, famille, travail et droit administratif suivi par obligations, preuve, hypothèques et responsabilité civile; Examen de reprise: droit des affaires, droit pénal, responsabilité civile, hypothèques, obligations, droit de la famille, preuve, droit administratif, droit des personnes et maladies professionnelles.)

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