Chapter
09

MBE Scoring

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).

Subject Area
# of Scored Questions
Civil Procedure 25 Questions
Constitutional Law 25 Questions
Contracts 25 Questions
Criminal Law & Procedure 25 Questions
Evidence 25 Questions
Real Property 25 Questions
Torts 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.

Jurisdiction MBE % Notes
Alabama 50%
Alaska 50%
Arizona 50%
Arkansas 50%
California 50%
Colorado 50%
Connecticut 50%
Delaware 40%
District of Colombia 50%
Florida 50%
Georgia 50%
Hawaii 50%
Idaho 50%
Illinois 50%
Indiana 50%
Iowa 50%
Kansas 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
Maine 50%
Maryland 50%
Massachusetts 50%
Michigan 50%
Minnesota 50%
Mississippi 40%
Missouri 50%
Montana 50%
Nebraska 50%
Nevada 33%
New Hampshire 50%
New Jersey 50%
New Mexico 50%
New York 50%
North Carolina 50%
North Dakota 50%
Ohio 33%
Oklahoma 50%
Oregon 50%
Pennsylvania 45%
Rhode Island 50%
South Carolina 50%
South Dakota see note Scaled score of 135 or higher required
Tennessee 50%
Texas 40%
Utah 50%
Vermont 50%
Virginia 40%
Washington 50%
West Virginia 50%
Wisconsin 50%
Wyoming 50%
Guam 50%
Northern Mariana Islands 50%
Palau see note Scaled score of 120 or higher required
Puerto Rico Jurisdiction does not use the MBE
Virgin Islands 50%