The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE)

The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), coordinated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, is composed of the MEE, two MPT tasks, and the MBE. Its first administration was in February 2011. It is uniformly administered, graded, and scored and results in a portable score that can be used to apply for admission in other UBE jurisdictions.

The UBE is designed to test knowledge and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate prior to becoming licensed to practice law.

NCBE scores the MBE component of the UBE. Jurisdictions grade the MEE and MPT components. The MEE and MPT scores are scaled to the MBE, and UBE total scores are calculated by NCBE. The MBE is weighted 50%, the MEE 30%, and the MPT 20%. UBE total scores are reported on a 400-point scale.

UBE jurisdictions agree to certain administrative policies in order to generate scores that qualify to be certified by NCBE as UBE scores. UBE jurisdictions independently set other policies, such as establishing their own passing scores, determining how long incoming UBE scores will be accepted, and whether or not to require applicants to complete a jurisdiction-specific component, such as a course or test on jurisdiction-specific law, either pre- or post-admission.

Jurisdictions Administering the UBE in 2020

This map shows the 34 jurisdictions that administered the UBE in 2020 and the 6 additional jurisdictions that will begin administering the UBE in 2021 or 2022. All jurisdictions except California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, and Puerto Rico administered the UBE in 2020. The 6 jurisdictions that will begin administering the UBE in 2021 or 2022 are Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Ohio was to begin administering the UBE in July 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it instead administered a remote exam in October 2020 for local admission only and began its first administration of the UBE in February 2021. Kentucky and Texas also began administering the UBE in February 2021. Oklahoma and Indiana will begin administering the UBE in July 2021, and Pennsylvania in July 2022.

NOTE: Ohio was to begin administering the UBE in July 2020; due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it instead administered a remote exam in October 2020 for local admission only and began its first administration of the UBE in February 2021. Kentucky and Texas began administering the UBE in February 2021. Oklahoma and Indiana will begin administering the UBE in July 2021, and Pennsylvania will begin administering the UBE in July 2022.

Minimum Passing UBE Score by Jurisdiction in 2020

This map shows the minimum passing UBE score in each of the 34 jurisdictions that administered the UBE in 2020. A minimum score of 260 was required in Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and North Dakota. A minimum score of 266 was required in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and the US Virgin Islands. A minimum score of 270 was required in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina*, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington*, West Virginia, and Wyoming. (The asterisks indicate that North Carolina and Washington temporarily reduced their minimum passing scores on an emergency basis for the July 2020 exam; North Carolina reduced its minimum score to 268 for both the July 2020 and February 2021 exams, while Washington reduced its minimum score to 266 for the July 2020, September 2020, February 2021, and July 2021 exams. The September 2020 exam was an additional exam administered in Washington due to the pandemic.) Idaho required a minimum score of 272, Arizona required a minimum score of 273, and Oregon required a minimum score of 274 but temporarily reduced that minimum score to 266 for the July 2020 exam only. Colorado, Maine, and Rhode Island required a minimum passing score of 276. (In March 2021, Rhode Island reduced its minimum passing score from 276 to 270 effective with the February 2021 exam administration.) Alaska required a minimum passing score of 280. Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas began administering the UBE in February 2021 with minimum passing scores of 266, 270, and 270, respectively. Indiana and Oklahoma will begin administering the UBE in July 2021, each with a minimum passing score of 264, and Pennsylvania will begin administering the UBE in July 2022 with a minimum passing score yet to be determined.

Minimum Passing UBE Score by Jurisdiction in 2020

* The minimum passing scores in North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington were temporarily lowered on an emergency basis for the July 2020 exam to 268, 266, and 266, respectively, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. North Carolina’s lowered minimum passing score also applied to the February 2021 exam. Washington’s lowered minimum passing score also applied to the September 2020 and February 2021 exams and will apply to the July 2021 exam. (The September 2020 exam was an additional exam administered in Washington due to the pandemic.)
† In March 2021, the minimum passing score in Rhode Island was reduced from 276 to 270, effective with the February 2021 exam administration.NOTE: Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas began administering the UBE in February 2021 with minimum passing scores of 266, 270, and 270, respectively. Indiana and Oklahoma will begin administering the UBE in July 2021, each with a minimum passing score of 264, and Pennsylvania will begin administering the UBE in July 2022, minimum passing score to be determined. This bar graph shows the number of jurisdictions requiring the eight different minimum passing UBE scores used in 2020. The score of 260 was required by 5 jurisdictions; the scores of 266 and 270 were required by 11 jurisdictions each; the scores of 272, 273, and 274 were required by 1 jurisdiction each; the score of 276 was required by 2 jurisdictions; and the score of 280 was required by 1 jurisdiction.

UBE Scores Earned and Transferred by Jurisdiction in 2020

To earn UBE scores, applicants take all portions of the examination (MEE, MPT, and MBE) in the same UBE jurisdiction and in the same administration. Use of a banked, transferred, or concurrent MBE or written scaled score earned in a prior examination or concurrently in another jurisdiction does not result in a UBE score.NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most jurisdictions made modifications to their July 2020 bar exam administrations. Seventeen UBE jurisdictions that had adopted or were already administering the UBE in 2020 administered NCBE’s remote testing option on October 5–6 instead of or in addition to the July or alternative-date UBE administration. Scores earned on the remote test were used for local admission decisions only and did not qualify as UBE scores. (See “COVID-19: Implications for 2020 Statistics” for details.)

* Ohio and Texas began accepting transferred UBE scores in March 2020 and December 2019, respectively, but did not yet administer the UBE. Their first UBE administrations were in February 2021.

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