uniform bar exam format and overview

Uniform Bar Exam Format and Overview

Are you wondering what the format for the Uniform Bar Exam looks like?  In this post, we discuss the Uniform Bar Exam format and provide an overview of general bar information that will help as you gear up to study for the exam!

Uniform Bar Exam Format and Overview

The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is a 2-day exam that is administered in 36 states.  The UBE has three parts: the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).

Day one of the exam is composed of the MPT during the morning session and the MEE during the afternoon session.  Day two of the exam consists of two sessions of MBE (multiple choice) questions.

Multistate Performance Test (MPT) 

The MPT requires examinees to complete two “lawyerly tasks,” such as writing a memo or drafting a brief.  You will have 3 hours to complete the two tasks, so it is recommended that you spend approximately 90 minutes on each task.

The MPT consists of a file, which encompasses a hypothetical set of facts and generally asks examinees to presuppose that they are associate attorneys at a law firm, or representing a client in some capacity.  It also includes a library, which has all the relevant authority that is necessary for completing the task.  This means that no knowledge of any outside authority is generally required to complete the MPT.

The most common tasks that appear on the MPT are drafting an objective memo or a persuasive brief.  Other tasks include drafting a demand letter or opinion letter, drafting a bench memo to a judge, or preparing articles of incorporation. Learn how to break down the MPT and approach each task.

The MPT is worth 20% of the entire score for the UBE.  States have discretion as to how to score the MPT. Some states use a 0-6 scale or a 0-10 scale, and the passing MPT score may vary.  Other states may have other grading scales (such as New York, which provides a score on a scale from 20-80), so it is important to check with your jurisdiction to see if they provide any additional information for how the MPT will be graded.

Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)

As mentioned above, the MEE occurs during the afternoon session of the first day of the exam.  The MEE consists of 6 essays and you will have 3 hours to complete the 6 essays (so you should spend approximately 30 minutes on each essay).

The subjects that can appear on the MEE include all seven MBE subjects:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Contracts
  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts

Aside from the MBE subjects, the MEE may also include the following:

  • Agency and Partnership
  • Corporations
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Decedents’ Estates
  • Family Law
  • Secured Transactions
  • Trusts & Future Interests

Check out our Frequency Chart for a breakdown of how often each of these subjects is tested, and master the highly-tested topics!

The MEE is worth 30% of the total score for the UBE.  Like the MPT, each state has discretion as to how to grade the individual essays.  Many states use the same grading scale for the MEE as is used for the MPT, so, again, it is important to check with your jurisdiction and see if it provides additional information regarding how your essays will be evaluated! Learn what the average MEE score is to pass.

Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

The MBE makes up the second day of the exam.  The MBE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions.  You will have 3 hours in the morning session to complete 100 questions and 3 hours in the afternoon session to complete an additional 100 questions.

As mentioned above, the subjects that are tested on the MBE include Civil Procedure, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

Of the 200 questions, 175 are scored and the remaining 25 questions are “test” questions that the Examiners are evaluating for use on future exams.  You will not know which of the 200 questions are the “test” questions.

Check out of Frequency Chart for a breakdown of how often each of these subjects is tested, and get our free guide on How to Pass the MBE!

Your MBE score makes up 50% of your total score of the UBE.  The MBE portion is scored by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), so individual jurisdictions do not have any discretion over how to score this portion of the exam.

UBE Scoring

The UBE is scored on a 400-point scale, meaning that you will receive a score that is out of 400 points.  Each jurisdiction sets the minimum score that it requires to be considered “passing” and the passing scores range from 260 to 280 (check out our list of Minimum Passing Scores by State).

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