Jurisdiction Bar Examination Data

(First-time and repeat test taker status based on an examinee’s testing experience in the reporting jurisdiction only.)NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most jurisdictions made modifications to their July 2020 bar exam administrations. (See “COVID-19: Implications for 2020 Statistics” for details.) In the jurisdiction data below, “July” refers to the entire July 2020 exam cycle, which included exams administered by many jurisdictions on alternative dates instead of or in addition to the July exam.

2020 Totals

Total persons taking: 60,784

  • 34% of 2020 examinees were repeaters
  • 66% of 2020 examinees were first-time takers
  • Total persons passing: 61%

Total first-timers taking: 39,968

  • Percentage of first-timers passing: 76%

Total repeaters taking: 20,816

  • Percentage of repeaters passing: 33%

February 2020 Totals

February persons taking: 19,409

  • 58% of February 2020 examinees were repeaters
  • 42% of February 2020 examinees were first-time takers
  • February persons passing: 41%

February first-timers taking: 8,126

  • Percentage of February first-timers passing: 58%

February repeaters taking: 11,283

  • Percentage of February repeaters passing: 29%

July 2020 Totals

July persons taking: 41,375

  • 23% of July 2020 examinees were repeaters
  • 77% of July 2020 examinees were first-time takers
  • July persons passing: 71%

July first-timers taking: 31,842

  • Percentage of July first-timers passing: 80%

July repeaters taking: 9,533

  • Percentage of July repeaters passing: 39%

4% of 2020 examinees were graduates of non-ABA-approved law schools

  • Total graduates of non-ABA-approved law schools taking: 2,244
  • Percentage of graduates of non-ABA-approved law schools passing: 24%

9% of 2020 examinees were graduates of law schools outside the USA

  • Total graduates of law schools outside the USA taking: 5,635
  • Percentage of graduates from law schools outside the USA passing: 38%

 

NCBE MBE-Based Data

The first-time and repeat test taker data above are those obtained from the jurisdictions and are based on the examinees’ testing experience in the reporting jurisdiction only. Therefore, they do not account for possible previous attempts at the bar examination in other jurisdictions. The data below are based on an examinee having previously taken the MBE in any jurisdiction.*NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many jurisdictions administered a remote exam instead of or in addition to the July 2020 or alternative-date exam. (See “COVID-19: Implications for 2020 Statistics” for details.) These remote exams either included only a limited set of MBE questions (in the case of NCBE’s remote testing option) or did not include the MBE at all (in the case of jurisdiction-drafted remote exams). (One jurisdiction also offered an in-person exam consisting solely of jurisdiction-drafted questions.) These types of exams administered during the July 2020 exam cycle account for 32,523 examinees. Only persons taking the full in-person MBE during the July 2020 exam cycle are included in the data below. Note that the use of “July” below refers collectively to the three MBE administrations during the July 2020 exam cycle: July 29, September 10, and October 1.

2020 Totals

Total persons taking: 27,028

Total likely repeaters taking: 13,973

  • 52% of 2020 examinees were likely repeaters

Total likely first-timers taking: 9,601

  • 36% of 2020 examinees were likely first-time takers

approximately 13% of 2020 examinees are untrackable

February 2020 Totals

February persons taking: 19,122

February likely repeaters taking: 12,897

  • 67% of February 2020 examinees were likely repeaters

February likely first-timers taking: 4,476

  • 23% of February 2020 examinees were likely first-time takers

approximately 9% of February 2020 examinees are untrackable

July 2020 Totals

July persons taking: 7,906

July likely repeaters taking: 1,076

  • 14% of July 2020 examinees were likely repeaters

July likely first-timers taking: 5,125

  • 65% of July 2020 examinees were likely first-time takers

approximately 22% of July 2020 examinees are untrackable

* The first-time and repeat test taker information calculated by NCBE is an approximation based on biographic data and the NCBE Number, which have not been used consistently in all jurisdictions across time. Use of the NCBE Number as a unique identifier has increased steadily since it was introduced in 2011. It was used in all but two of the jurisdictions that administered the MBE in February 2020, and in all of the jurisdictions that administered the full in-person MBE during the July 2020 exam cycle, identifying about 99% of the February and July 2020 examinees who took the full in-person MBE. Repeat test takers in the NCBE MBE-based data are defined as those who were identified as having taken an MBE in any jurisdiction at least once prior to the current administration. However, the identification of repeat test takers is less certain in the case of earlier previous exam administrations than for more recent administrations, depending on when a jurisdiction began using the NCBE Number. Approximately 13% of 2020 examinees are unable to be tracked with certainty by NCBE as either first-time or repeat takers due to either a jurisdiction’s non-use or only recent use of the NCBE Number or a lack of sufficient biographic information. The differences in the numbers of persons taking the MBE in the NCBE MBE-based data displayed above and those taking the bar examination as reported by jurisdictions in the jurisdiction bar examination data displayed earlier are accounted for by the following: (1) two jurisdictions do not administer the MBE, (2) certain jurisdictions allow concurrent administrations of the bar examination, (3) jurisdictions typically track repeaters within their own jurisdiction whereas NCBE tracks repeaters across jurisdictions, (4) certain jurisdictions accept banked or transferred scores, and/or (5) many jurisdictions did not administer the full in-person MBE during the July 2020 exam cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Note: The counts and percentages in the NCBE MBE-based data above are based on the designations effective at the time of publication. Because these designations may change as more information becomes available over time to more completely identify examinees, the counts and percentages published above may differ slightly from previously published counts and percentages.)

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