The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

The National Conference of Bar Examiners has produced the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) since 1972. In 2016, the MBE was part of the bar examination in 54 jurisdictions.

The MBE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions in the following areas: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. The purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns.

Both a raw score and a scaled score are computed for each examinee. A raw score is the number of questions answered correctly. Raw scores from different administrations of the MBE are not comparable, primarily due to differences in the difficulty of the questions from one administration to the next. The statistical process of equating adjusts for variations in the difficulty of the questions, producing scaled scores that represent the same level of performance across all MBE administrations. For instance, if the questions appearing on the July MBE were more difficult than those appearing on the February MBE, then the scaled scores for the July MBE would be adjusted upward to account for this difference. These adjustments ensure that no examinee is unfairly penalized or rewarded for taking a more or less difficult exam. Each jurisdiction determines its own policy with regard to the relative weight given to the MBE and other scores. (Jurisdictions that administer the Uniform Bar Examination [UBE] weight the MBE component 50%.)

Jurisdictions Using the MBE in 2016

This map shows that all U.S. jurisdictions, with the exceptions of Louisiana and Puerto Rico, used the MBE in 2016.

2016 MBE National Summary Statistics (Based on Scaled Scores)

The values reflect valid scores available electronically as of 1/18/2017.

 

2016 MBE National Score Distributions

The values reflect valid scores available electronically as of 1/18/2017.These data represent scaled scores in increments of 5. For example, the percentage reported for 135 includes examinees whose MBE scaled scores were between 130.5 and 135.4.

 

MBE National Examinee Counts, 2007–2016

The values reflect valid scores available electronically as of 1/18/2017.

 

MBE National Mean Scaled Scores, 2007–2016

Note: The values reflect valid scores available electronically as of 1/18/2017.

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