When preparing for the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE®) portion of the bar exam, many law students wonder about the minimum MBE score they need in order to pass the bar exam. Unfortunately, this is difficult to answer with certainty since the NCBE—the entity that creates the MBE—no longer offers raw score data that indicates what it takes to pass. However, we have a loose framework based on other data to determine a rough estimate for passing scores.
How Much Is the MBE Score Worth in Each Jurisdiction?
The MBE can make up 33% to 50% of your total bar exam score, and the passing bar exam score varies from state to state. You can see the variety in passing UBE scores here. Regardless, getting a higher score on other sections of the bar exam will likely allow you to get away with a lower score on the MBE.
Determining your target MBE score is easier in UBE jurisdictions because they have a more consistent formula to go off of—simply divide the required passing score in half. New York, for example, says you need a 266 to pass, so you’d need a 133 on the MBE and 133 on the two other sections of the exam, the MEE and MPT. Again, a higher essay score can save you from a lower MBE score, and vice versa.
In almost all states, the MBE is worth 50% except:
- Delaware, Virginia, and Mississippi, where it is worth 40%
- Nevada, where it accounts for 33%
- Pennsylvania, where it is worth 45%
- Kentucky, which requires a scaled MBE score of at least 132
- South Dakota, which requires a scaled MBE score of at least 133
- Palau, which requires a scaled MBE score of at least 120
- Louisiana and Puerto Rico do not use the MBE
So, What Percentage of MBE Questions Do I Need to Answer Correctly in Order to Pass?
In jurisdictions where a total score of 262-270 is required to pass the bar exam, you should typically aim for at least 60% correct answers (or 131-135 questions) on the MBE to be safe.
On the other hand, in jurisdictions requiring 272-280 to pass the bar exam, you should typically aim for at least 62-65% correct answers (or 136-140 questions) on the MBE (the higher the better).
How to Approximate Your Scaled Score During Practice Exams
While there is no way to know exactly how the MBE will be scaled in the end, you can use a simple formula to get an approximate scaled score while you’re taking MBE practice tests. In the end, it’s best that you focus on getting as many questions right as possible, but this can at least help to give you an idea of where you stand in your MBE prep progress.
# of Questions Answered Correctly 200 + 10-15 Points (Estimated Scale Factor)
Improve Your MBE Score With Thorough Prepping
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