format of the ubeWhat Is the Format of the UBE?

To date, 34 states have adopted the Uniform Bar Exam or UBE.  If you are taking the Uniform Bar Exam, you may wonder exactly what the format of the UBE is like.  In this post, we discuss the structure of the Uniform Bar Exam.

What Is the Format of the UBE?

Length of the UBE

The Uniform Bar Exam is a 2-day exam.  Day One consists of a written portion, and Day Two consists of a multiple-choice portion (the “MBE”). Each day has six hours of testing in three-hour increments.

What is on the written portion?

The written portion of the UBE has two parts: The Multistate Performance Test (or “MPT”) and the Multistate Essay Exam (or “MEE”).

Multistate Performance Test (“MPT”)

The MPT is on the morning session of Day One.  During this session, you will have 3 hours to complete two MPTs (or, approximately 90 minutes per MPT).  The MPT asks you to complete a “lawyerly task”.  The MPT file consists of a task memo, usually some factual documents, and a library of all statutes and case law that you need to incorporate into your MPT.  You are not expected to apply any outside authority.  The most common tasks required by the MPTs are drafting a persuasive brief or drafting an objective memorandum.  Some of the other assignments that have been tested include drafting a demand letter, an opinion letter, and a bench memorandum.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) writes the MPT.  The MPT is worth 20% of the total score (the equivalent of 80 multiple choice questions!).  However, each state has the discretion to apply its own grading standards.  Some states, such as Washington, assign a raw score of 0-6.  Other states, such as Missouri, use a scale of 0-10.  It is a good idea to consult your state’s Board of Law Examiners website to see if they have released their scoring rubric.

Multistate Essay Exam (“MEE”)

The other half of the written portion, the MEE, occurs during the afternoon session of Day One.  The MEE consists of 6 essays on various subjects.  You will have 3 hours to complete the 6 essays or approximately 30 minutes per essay.  The subjects that can be tested on the MEE include Business Associations (Agency, Partnership, Corporations, & LLCs), Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law & Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Real Property, Secured Transactions, Torts, and Trusts & Estates.  Often the essays focus on one of these possible subjects, but sometimes one essay combines one (or more!) of these subjects.  If you are interested in seeing exactly which subjects have been tested each administration, you can check out our MEE Frequency Chart here.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) also writes the MEEs.  The MEE portion of the exam is worth 30% of the total score.  Like the MPTs, states have the discretion to use their own scoring standards.  Be sure to consult your state’s Board of Law Examiners website for more detail as to how the MEEs will be scored.

It is important to note that the MEE is a national test, so no particular state’s law applies.  Often, the MEEs expect examinees to address the majority approach to a particular legal issue, and to also address alternate approaches.

Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”)

Day Two of the UBE consists of the Multistate Bar Exam (or “MBE”) which consists of 200 multiple-choice questions.  Day Two is has two sessions. The 3-hour morning session covers 100 multiple-choice questions. The 3-hour afternoon session does the same, bringing the total multiple-choice count to 200 questions.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) writes the MBE.  It is a national test, so majority law is applied.  The MBE portion is worth 50% of the total UBE score.  175 of the 200 questions are scored.  The remaining 25 questions are “test” questions and will not be scored (but you will not know which questions are the “test” questions).  The NCBE scales MBE raw scores according to an undisclosed formula.

We hope this post of the format of the UBE is helpful!