What You’ll Learn:
- How Your MBE Score is Calculated – Raw Scores & Scaled Scores
- How to Approximate Your Scaled Score
- Total Weight of MBE Score in Each Jurisdiction
How Your MBE Score is Calculated – Raw Scores & Scaled Scores
There are 175 scored questions, with 25 scored questions from each subject area tested (see chart below).
|Civil Procedure||25 Questions|
|Constitutional Law||25 Questions|
|Criminal Law & Procedure||25 Questions|
|Real Property||25 Questions|
|Total Scored Questions||175 Questions|
Each scored MBE question is worth one point, for a total of 175 points. This raw score is then converted to a scaled score between 1-200. The NCBE scales all scores nationally using a complex statistical formula to adjust for any differences in test difficulty relative to prior administrations of the MBE (to make sure a scaled score on one examination is equivalent to a score on any other examination).
You want to aim for a scaled score of at least 140-145 (which is the average score). Ideally, you should want a 150+ scaled score to have confidence to pass the exam. The national average MBE scaled score for the last two exams was: 134.06 in Feb. 2019; and 139.57 in July 2018. Historically, the average MBE score is lower in February than in July.
Based on our review of past exam examinee score reports, there is a high correlation to having a high MBE score and passing the exam.
How to Approximate Your Scaled MBE Score
When taking a full MBE practice exam, you can typically add 10-15 points to the number of questions correct to approximate your scaled score (see formula below).
Number of Questions Correct (out of 200 Questions)
(if taking less than 200 questions, then multiply the % correct x 200)
Estimated Scale Factor (10-15 points)
Approximate MBE scaled score
The above formula is useful to gauge how you are doing when taking practice exams. BUT, it must be noted that it is an over simplification of the scaling process, and is not how the MBE is actually graded and scaled – it doesn’t take into account scored vs. unscored questions and the MBE scale that varies from exam-to-exam.
Don’t concern yourself too much on determining how your scaled score is calculated. For MBE preparation, your main focus should be on increasing the number of questions you answer correctly.
Total Weight of MBE Score
The MBE is worth a large chunk of the total bar exam score:
- 50% if your state is a UBE jurisdiction (New York, New Jersey, etc.), or
- Between 40-50% in most other states.
Below is a chart of showing how much the MBE is worth in each jurisdiction.
|District of Colombia||50%|
|Kentucky||see note||Scaled score of 132 or higher is required. Effective for the Feb. 2020 exam, a scaled score of 135 or higher is required.|
|Louisiana||–||Jurisdiction does not use the MBE|
|South Dakota||see note||Scaled score of 135 or higher required|
|Northern Mariana Islands||50%|
|Palau||see note||Scaled score of 120 or higher required|
|Puerto Rico||–||Jurisdiction does not use the MBE|