Most Recent MBE Scores Steady Since Last Year’s Bar Exam

The national Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) mean scaled score for the July 2022 bar exam has just been announced as 140.3, consistent with results from recent years’ July administrations.

The MBE is the 200-question, multiple-choice portion of the exam that is used by most jurisdictions and is scored by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). Individual jurisdictions score the essays and performance tests and calculate pass rates.

The July 2022 mean score was just 0.1 point lower than the July 2021 mean score of 140.4

Comparability with 2020 results is of limited value due to the small number of examinees who took a full MBE in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The national mean for this July’s MBE administration was very close to last year’s mean, which suggests that pass rates overall may also look close to what we saw last year,” Rosemary Reshetar, Director of Assessment and Research at NCBE, said in a statement. “However, it’s important to remember that score distributions and pass rates will often vary across jurisdictions even when there is national score stability. Some jurisdictions will likely see higher pass rates than last year, while others may see fewer candidates pass, depending on factors specific to that jurisdiction, including local passing score, candidate performance, and performance distribution relative to that passing score,” Reshetar said.

The total number of examinees who took the July 2022 MBE was a decrease of almost 3% compared to the number of examinees who sat for the exam in July 2021.

Approximately 4 out of 5 of the of July 2022 examinees were likely taking the exam for the first time, and approximately one fifth were repeat test takers.

Some jurisdictions have begun reporting their July 2022 results, but most jurisdictions are still in the process of grading the written components of the bar exam.

Of the few jurisdictions that have reported so far, one saw a significant increase: Iowa’s overall pass rate was 71% for the July 2021 MBE administration.

You can read more about these early results here.

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