Raw Score, Scaled Score and Percentiles
The most pressing question among most bar exam candidates is “What is an ideal Multistate Bar Exam (MBE®) score?” Well, we’ve got just the answer for you!
Each MBE question is worth one point, with a maximum score of 175 points. This unscaled score is then normalized to a range from 0 to 200. Scores are modified to account for changes in test difficulty across the administration of the MBE. The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®) developed a statistical technique to ensure a scaled score on one examination is equivalent to a score on any other examination). You must shoot for a scaled score of 140 to 145 (which is the average score). A scaled score of 150 or higher is recommended.
What does the MBE Score Mean?
Scoring on the MBE is reported as a scaled score between 40 (very low) and 200 (high). NCBE uses a standard practice for calculating scaled scores on standardized tests called equating, to get an individual's MBE scaled score. By comparing the present exam's difficulty to that of previous exams, raw scores are normalized in this statistical procedure.
The ability to compare scaled scores from different test dates is made feasible by equating. It ensures that the same level of knowledge or performance is represented by a given scaled score regardless of when the test was administered and that no test-taker is unfairly disadvantaged or favored because of the type of test they choose to take. Examinees cannot know in advance how many questions they need to get right to get a particular scaled score, as this adjustment of scores during equating is examination-specific (i.e., based on the level of difficulty of the present examination as compared to past tests).
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MBE Raw Score vs MBE Scaled or Converted Score?
First, it's important to note that the NCBE stopped releasing the raw score vs. converted scores several years ago. However, we will help you thoroughly understand how the raw score conversion chart works.
So, what is a raw score? A raw score is a score you get for all the correct answers out of 175 questions. A converted score, on the other hand, is the NCBE granted score to your existing raw score. In layman’s terms, a converted score is an additional score to your current score!
Now, refer to the chart below to perform the score conversion as detailed below:
|Raw Score||Scaled Score||Percentile|
|155 -160||166 -170||94.5 - 97.5|
|149 -154||161-165||88.7 -93.7|
|143 -148||156 -160||80.4 - 87.5|
|136 -142||151-155||68.3 - 77.2|
|130 -135||146 -150||56.5 - 66.5|
|124 -129||141-145||44.5 -54.4|
|118-123||136 -140||33.0 -42.5|
|105 -110||126 - 130||14.2 - 20.4|
Finding the target scaled score can help you determine whether or not you will pass the MBE (again, this is usually between 130 and 140 or 144 if you are taking the California bar exam). For example, a scaled score of 133 is required in New York and DC. The "Scaled Score" is located in the middle column.
Next, check the left side to see what raw score is required. You need a "raw" score of between 111 and 118 to get a "scaled" score of 133. To be safe, let's suppose you're shooting for a raw score of around 115. This is the raw score or the percentage of questions answered correctly out of a possible 190. Calculate the percentage by dividing 115 by 190: 60.52%. That's the minimum number of questions you need to get right to pass the MBE.
What is the MBE Scaled Score Percentile?
A percentile score is the scaled score presented in a normative context, indicating where your scores fall within the range of all bar examinees. So, if you fall under the 23rd percentile, you did better on the exam than 23 percent of the students who attempted it. A score in the 90th percentile indicates that you performed better than 90% of the candidates.
What is the Average/Mean MBE Score?
On the July 2022 exam, the mean scaled score on the MBE was 140.3; this was 0.1 points lower than the national mean of 140.3 in July 2021 and 0.8 points lower than the national mean of 141.1 in July 2019.
How Much is the MBE Score Worth in Each Jurisdiction?
For the MBE, the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE®) jurisdictions have a more standard formula: divide the minimum passing score in half to get your target score. To get a 266 in New York, you'd have to get 133 on the MBE and 133 on the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE®) and Multistate Performance Test (MPT®) combined. Once again, a strong essay score can make up for a lackluster performance on the MBE.
The MBE has a 50% weight in practically all states. However, there are some exceptions as listed below:
- The MBE is worth 40% in Delaware, Virginia, and Mississippi.
- In the state of Nevada, the MBE constitutes 33%.
- Pennsylvania, the MBE is worth 45%.
- In the state of Kentucky, a minimum scaled score of 132 on the MBE is needed.
- In South Dakota a minimum scaled MBE score of 133 is needed to qualify for in-state tuition at public universities.
- For entry into Palau, a scaled MBE score of 120 is required.
- The MBE is not administered in Louisiana and Puerto Rico.
How is the MBE Score Percentile Calculated?
There is a lot of ground to be covered on the bar exam. How can you tell if you are ready before taking the bar exam?
To receive accurate percentile rank data, you should first choose an MBE supplement, like the one we have at UWorld Legal, that prepares thousands of law students each year for the MBE. Secondly, keep an eye on your percentile rank throughout each MBE subject so you may alter your study habits accordingly.
The average percentage of test takers who pass each state's bar exam ranges between 60–80 percent. It's estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of those who take the bar exam fail. Maintaining a percentile rank in the upper 30s to lower 40s across all of your MBE subjects should be your target as you work through your coursework. If you can do that, you know you are succeeding in a sufficient number of areas.
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How to Approximate Your Scaled Score?
The formula to approximate your scaled score is rather simple:
|Total Correct Answers
Approximate scale factor
MBE Scaled Score
For the most recent tests, the average national MBE scaled score was 132.66 in February 2022, 140.47 in July 2021, 134.08 in February 2021, 132.69 in February 2020, and 141.110 in July 2019.
How do you Improve your MBE Score?
Practicing with NCBE-licensed questions from past bar exams is essential to prepare for the MBE. UWorld's MBE QBank includes the licensed questions developed by the NCBE to help prepare for the bar exam, and the MBE QBank allows you to track your progress and figure out where you're doing well and where you need more work.
Since it often accounts for 33–50% of your total bar exam score across all jurisdictions, the MBE is arguably the most crucial part of the bar exam. That's why bar exam candidates should put in the time and effort required to get a good score on the MBE. If you want to do well on the bar exam, your best bet is to do well on the MBE by getting a high score.
To get expert tips on boosting your MBE score, peruse one of our most popular blogs, "How to improve your MBE Score"!
MBE Score Transfer Process
It is possible to request a transfer of your MBE score to a different jurisdiction. When submitting a Transfer Request for your MBE Score, please remember to:
The Step-by-Step Transfer of MBE Scores to Another Jurisdiction
- Step 1: Find out if the jurisdiction you want to transfer to will accept your MBE scores. In addition, find out if there are any additional requirements set forth by the jurisdiction. Move to Step 2 if your MBE scores were transferred and accepted by the jurisdiction.
- Step 2: Find out if your MBE scores are transferable in the jurisdiction where you took the exam. If so, move on to the third step. If not, you'll need to contact the authority responsible for your exam.
- Step 3: If you haven't already done so, head to the Score Services section of your NCBE account (or sign up for one and navigate there) to submit your MBE Score Transfer Request. A request like this will need you to specify the date and location of your most recent MBE exam (month and year). It will also require you to select the jurisdiction(s) to which you wish to have your MBE score moved.
Fee and Time Frame
Each MBE Score Transfer has a $25 charge. Once payment has been received, your MBE Score Transfer may be transferred the following business day, but not before the testing jurisdiction has made the examination results public and allowed the release of your score.
Examinees do not get their MBE scores upon transfer; instead, they are submitted immediately to the relevant jurisdictions. (To get your MBE score, you have to ask for it, although not all jurisdictions offer this service.)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Find out how to apply for the Bar Exam, including where to find required forms, deadlines, fees & more.
As the bar exam draws nearer, it’s reasonable to be concerned about your MBE performance. Here are some ways you can improve your score and performance.