What Does My DC Bar Exam Score Report Mean?
For applicants to the bar in Washington, DC, everyone learns at once who passed the bar exam. Then, everyone has to wait to get their individual score breakdowns. July 2017 bar exam applicants received their DC bar exam score reports less than a week after the pass list came out. But, the email you receive from the DC Committee on Admissions may be a little confusing. The following is a simple breakdown of the DC bar exam score report to help you understand it.
What Does My DC Bar Exam Score Report Mean?
Washington, DC is a Uniform Bar Exam (“UBE”) jurisdiction. The score you receive is a UBE score. It is structured like any other UBE score and is out of a possible 400 points. The DC bar exam score report provides your total score broken down between the MBE score and the written component score. In DC, the written component consists of the MPT and MEE, worth 50%. The MBE is worth 50% of your score.
Written Component Scaled Score
The written component scaled score is out of a possible 200 points. A 135 is generally considered a passing score. The written scaled score comprises both the combined scores for the MEE and the MPT. Both the MPT and the MEE are worth 50% of your total score in DC. The MPT is worth 20% and the MEE is worth 30%. However, you only get the combined score. The DC bar exam report does not give a separate breakdown for your MEE and MPT scores. Nor is there a breakdown of how your performed on each essay or MPT.
MBE Scaled Score
The MBE is scored out of a possible 200 points and is a scaled score. According to the NBCE website, MBE scaled scores are calculated based on a statistical process called equating which “adjusts raw scores on the current examination to account for differences in difficulty as compared with past examinations.” This occurs so that the NCBE can compare MBE scores of different exams to reflect the same level of difficulty. Your raw score is the number of questions you actually got right out of the 200 questions you were tested on. That raw score is then scaled to reflect the difficulty of this exam in comparison to other MBEs. You can read more about raw versus scaled scores here. You can read more about what your MBE score means here.
As shown in your DC bar exam report, your written component scaled score and your MBE scaled score are added to provide your combined score. Your combined score determines whether you passed or failed the DC bar exam. The UBE is out of a possible 400 points. A score of 266 points is required to pass the DC bar exam. Anything below that means you failed and will have to retake the exam to be barred in Washington, DC.
But, if you scored anything between 260 and 265, there is still hope for this exam. You still technically passed the bar exam in other jurisdictions. If you transfer your score to any of the states that require a 260 to pass then you can still be barred as an attorney as a result of this bar exam. Just make sure you transfer your score as quickly as possible and complete all other requirements the jurisdiction requires to be barred in its jurisdiction.
What comes next?
If you passed: If you know that you have passed the DC bar exam and you have your DC bar exam report there is still more waiting for you. In order to be barred in Washington, DC you have to pass the character and fitness requirement. You will probably have to wait roughly another month to find out whether or not you passed.
Applicants for admission to the DC bar usually receive the emails notifying them they have passed the character and fitness requirement a week before the swearing-in ceremony. For applicants who took the bar exam in July 2017 they were notified that they passed the character and fitness requirement the last week of November and were sworn in the first week of December. If you are wondering what the DC swearing-in ceremony is like, see this post.
If you failed: If you failed the DC bar exam, please check out our uniform bar exam resources below. You can also contact us and we will tell you exactly what you need to focus on to pass the next bar exam!
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