What does my Uniform Bar Exam Score Report mean?

Mee one sheetsWhat does my Uniform Bar Exam score report mean? So you’ve taken the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), waited many agonizing weeks for your score, and now have a confusing score report in front of you. What does your score report actually mean? In this post we will help you break down the different components of your score report.

In order to facilitate score portability, UBE jurisdictions will state your overall UBE score in terms of a 400-point scale. Each UBE jurisdiction decides what the passing score will be. Some states, such as Alabama, have set the passing score at 260 points. Other states, such as Alaska, set the passing score at 280 points. All of the states that have adopted the UBE up until now have set their passing scores anywhere from 260 to 280 points. Consult the bar admissions website for a particular state for the most up-to-date information regarding its passing score.

What do the scaled scores mean?

MBE Scaled Score:

When you read your score report, you will see two scaled numbers which will be added together to determine your score on the UBE. Your MBE score is a scaled score with a maximum of 200 points. You will see your MBE scaled score, which is generally worth 50% of your total score. In order to generate your MBE scaled score, your raw score (the actual number of MBE questions you answered correctly) is tabulated.

The raw score is then adjusted to reflect the difficulty of the MBE during this administration with respect to previous MBE administrations. The National Conference of Bar Examiners no longer releases the raw score; you will only see the scaled score. The mean MBE scaled score for the July 2015 exam was 139.9 (out of a possible 200 points).

If your MBE score was close to 135, this is generally considered to be a “passing” score. A 150 is about 70th percentile (you did better than 70% of the students taking the exam), a 130 is about 28th percentile. A 120 or below is generally in the 10th percentile. If you scored lower than a 115, you need quite a bit of help on your MBE score (and you may want to consider hiring an MBE tutor).  (The good news is, learning the MBE material better should also help your written score improve.)

If you want more detailed information on what your MBE scaled score means, see this post.

Written Scaled Score:

The other component of your score is the Written scaled score, which is comprised of your MEE score and your MPT score. Your Written scaled score is a scaled score with a maximum of 200 points.  The MEE constitutes 30% of your Written scaled score and the MPT constitutes 20% of your Written scaled score. Some jurisdictions do not give you these numbers. If yours does (and if yours scales the scores), you can generally tell how far you are from passing by how far off your scaled score is from 135. Some jurisdictions do not provide a scaled written score.

What should you do with your score?

If you passed the UBE, congratulations! If you are interested in working in another UBE state, check to see if you can transfer your UBE score to another UBE jurisdiction. Remember each state determines its own passing score.

Remember even if you pass the UBE, that many states require transfer to their jurisdiction within a specific time period. For many states, this is within two years of taking the UBE. Otherwise, you will have to retake the bar exam again!

If you didn’t pass the UBE, take a deep breath. Take some time to examine your score report. Did you struggle with the MBE? Or the written section? Or both? For example, if the passing score in your state is 260 points and you scored 220 points, see whether most of those points came from your MBE scaled score or the Written scaled score.

We also recommend ordering your essays according to the procedures stated at the end of the score report (if you are able to). Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you prepare more efficiently in the future. We also recommend you read this detailed post on what to do if you failed the bar exam. The last thing you want to do is make the same mistakes and fail it again!  We tell you how to avoid that and how to study better!

Additional Uniform Bar Exam Resources:

If you are looking for additional help to prepare for the Uniform Bar Exam, we offer the following resources:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising. Ms. Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011 after graduating as the #1 student in her law school class of over 200 students in 2011. She, as well as a team of others, offer bar exam courses, seminars, and private tutoring for bar exam students nationwide. This includes services for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and Michigan bar exam.  Please click here to contact her company, with any questions.

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