How to Study for the Patent Bar

Three Methods:Preparing for the ExamQualifying for Taking the Patent BarPreparing for the Exam

The patent bar exam can be taken by anyone with the qualifications to do so. If you have a law degree, taking the patent bar allows you to practice patent law. Without a law degree, taking the patent bar qualifies you to become a patent agent. The exam is 100 multiple choice questions, and you must get at least 70% correct. Developing good study habits will help you do well on the patent bar.

Method 1
Preparing for the Exam

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    Practice taking multiple choice tests. The patent bar consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. To study for taking a multiple choice test, simulate the activity ahead of time by taking other multiple choice tests. The most important thing is to practice answering questions that you haven't asked yourself. [1]
    • The information for the patent bar comes from the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). Once you've prepared to take the exam, have a study partner prepare questions for you based on this material.
    • Take other sorts of multiple choices test. Although the material may be different, you should try hard to do your best in order to simulate the tension of an actual exam.
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    Spread your study out over several days. Rather than cramming the information needed to pass a test, research suggests that you'll retain the information more accurately if you spend the same amount of time over several days.[2]
    • Begin studying early. If you have more time to space out your study sessions, you'll be more likely to retain what you learn.
    • If you have a very busy schedule, make sure that you set aside for studying several hours, multiple times per week.
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    Follow a few guidelines when taking the test. These aren't absolute, but general guidelines that are often true when taking multiple choice exams, like the patent bar. These guidelines are drawn from multiple choice exams in many disciplines.[3]
    • In a multiple choice exam like the patent bar, the answers are usually not found in absolutes. If you see words like "always" or "never", these answers are more likely to be false than answers including the words "sometimes" or "often".
    • "All of the above" as an option is often correct. "None of the above" is less likely to be true.
    • If you can't answer a question in less than 60 seconds, skip it and come back to it later. Sometimes you just need to move on.
    • If you have to guess at an answer, chose a middle response, i.e. the answer marked b or c. This is more likely to be correct.
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    Study with a friend. If possible, study for the patent bar with a friend. Having a study partner will help you stay focused on studying. If they're also studying for the patent bar, you can work together on learning the material and test each others knowledge.[4]
    • Studying with a partner allows you to benefit from the other person's strengths. A friend can help you understand things that you may not get on your own.
    • Many people are more motivated to study if it's a social activity. If you want to study, you'll be more likely to do it.

Method 2
Qualifying for Taking the Patent Bar

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    Earn a bachelor's degree. Getting a bachelor's degree in a recognized scientific or technical discipline is one of the primary ways a person becomes qualified to take the patent bar exam. The person will have to prove to the licensing board that she has the required knowledge to take on patent law.[5]
    • Earning the equivalent to a bachelor's degree in a non-US university is also permissible.
    • There is an exception if your degree is in computer science. Your degree must be accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation Commission (CSAC) of the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB), or by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
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    Get an official transcript from your college. A copy of your diploma or the transcript will not be sufficient. You'll need to make sure that the transcript comes directly from your university program.
    • You can get a transcript by calling or emailing your university.
    • There is usually a fee associated with requesting this service.
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    Have sufficient credit hours in recognized disciplines. If your bachelor's degree is in an area of study other than the ones above, you may still qualify for the patent bar. To establish that you possess sufficient scientific and technical training, you must have earned a minimum number of semester hours in certain courses. Usually, this means about 2 years worth of coursework. [6]
    • Semester hours must be in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology and related fields. Only courses listed for majors in these disciplines are accepted.
    • You may also choose to take the Fundamentals of Engineering test. If you pass this test, you may have a degree in any field, and still qualify to take the patent bar.
    • For more information about specific requirements regarding educational qualifications, see [1]

Method 3
Preparing for the Exam

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    Take a home study course. There are multiple options for preparing to take the patent bar. One of the most popular options is the PatBar Professional Education Program. It consists of written worksheets, handbooks, audio CDs.[7]
    • Other options include OmniPrep, Bullseye, Patent Education Series, and TAPRE.
    • These courses focus on questions drawn from the most highly tested sections of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). The instruction aims to clarify the more confusing questions generally found on the patent bar.
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    Attend a week-long seminar. Patent Resources Group and PLI (Practice Law Institute) offer week-long trainings in how to take the Patent Bar. These courses are held in many major metropolitan centers throughout the United States.[8]
    • The cost for the Patent Resources Group is about $2000, while the PLi costs nearly $3000.
    • Both are respected programs and improve your chances of passing the Patent Bar.
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    Study on your own. The material on the Patent Bar will be taken from the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). However, the material in this 2000-page manual is very dense, technical and concentrated. Studying it on your own is generally not considered the most effective way to prepare for the exam.[9]
    • The overall pass rate for the Patent Bar is much lower than in other bar exams. About half of all exam takers fail the first time around.
    • Once your application is accepted, you have 90 days to take the exam.


  • Be prepared to pay the fees associated with the patent bar. Currently, fees total $390 ($200 for examination fee; $40 for application fee; $150 to the testing site).[10]


  • You'll have to explain any legal or traffic violation in excess of $100 fine before taking the patent bar.
  • Remember that no one can guarantee success when taking the patent bar.

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