The national Multistate Bar Examination mean score for February 2019 was 134.0, an increase of about 1.2 points from the February 2018 mean of 132.8. The February 2019 results represent the first increase in the February mean score since February 2013. 21,316 examinees sat for the MBE in February 2019, an increase of about 1% compared to February 2018.
The percentage of February examinees who were first-time test takers* (about 22%) continued to drop, as did the percentage of examinees who had likely taken and passed the bar exam on a previous attempt (about 6%). The percentage of examinees who had likely taken but not passed the bar exam on a previous attempt (about 62%) continued to increase.** (The percentage of examinees who, because of limited available information, are not identifiable as either first-time or repeat test takers remained steady at about 10%.)
While the MBE mean score increased for both February 2019 first-time test takers and February 2019 repeat test takers, the increase was smaller for first-time test takers and repeaters who had passed the bar exam on a previous attempt, and higher for repeaters who had not passed the bar exam on a previous attempt.
Reliability for the February 2019 exam was .92, the same as the reliability for the February 2018 MBE, which was the highest in program history for a 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 three of the jurisdictions that administer the MBE, and it identified about 96% of the February 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 February 2018, about 23% of examinees were first-time test takers, about 7% were repeat test takers who had likely previously passed the exam, and about 59% were repeat test takers who had likely previously not passed the exam.