The national Multistate Bar Examination mean scaled score for July 2019 was 141.1, an increase of about 1.6 points from the July 2018 mean of 139.5. This increase is a rebound from the drop in the MBE mean score observed between July 2017 and July 2018 and marks the largest increase compared to the previous July’s mean since July 2008. 45,334 examinees sat for the MBE in July 2019, a nominal increase of one tenth of one percent (0.1%) compared to the 45,274 examinees who tested in July 2018.
The percentage of July examinees who were first-time test takers* (about 65%) was steady, as was the percentage of examinees who had likely taken and passed the bar exam on a previous attempt (about 2%) and the percentage of examinees who had likely taken but not passed the bar exam on a previous attempt (about 23%).** (The percentage of examinees who, because of limited available information, are not identifiable as either first-time or repeat test takers also remained steady at about 10%.)
The MBE mean score increased for all July 2019 examinee groups except for repeaters who had not passed the bar exam on a previous attempt, with the largest increase (about 2 points) observed for first-time test takers.
Reliability for the July 2019 exam was .94, an increase from the .93 reliability for the July 2018 MBE, and the highest in program history for either a July or February administration. (Reliability is an indicator of the consistency of a set of examination scores, with a maximum value of 1.0.)
Jurisdictions are currently in the process of grading the written components of the bar exam; once this process is completed, bar exam scores will be calculated and passing decisions reported by jurisdictions.
* 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 is now used in all but two of the jurisdictions that administer the MBE, and it identified about 99% of the July 2019 examinees. Repeat test takers 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.
** In July 2018, about 65% of examinees were first-time test takers, about 2.5% were repeat test takers who had likely previously passed the exam, and about 23% were repeat test takers who had likely previously not passed the exam.