Topic 5: How is the MPRE Graded?
Many students wonder how the MPRE is graded. Specifically, they wonder how many questions they should aim to answer correctly in order to pass the MPRE. Unfortunately, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) does not release exact data on this. Thus, it is impossible to say exactly how many questions you need to answer correctly in order to pass the MPRE. However, we do have information at our disposal which reveals a lot about how the MPRE is graded.
How is the MPRE Graded?
You receive credit for every question you answer correctly on the MPRE. You do not lose points for incorrect answers. So, you should answer every question! Out of the 60 MPRE questions given to you on test day, only 50 are scored. The remaining 10 questions are test questions. So, here we tell you how many questions you need to answer correct out of the 50 scored questions, and what percentage you should answer correctly if you are taking a 60-question practice exam.
According to an article written in 2011 by Susan M. Case, Ph.D., a former director of the NCBE:
- A score of 100 = 34 correct out of 50 (approximately 41/60 or 68% correct)
- A score of 85 = 30 correct out of 50 (approximately 36/60 or 60% correct)
- A score of 80 = 29 correct out of 50 (approximately 35/60 or 58% correct)
- A score of 75 = 28 correct out of 50 (approximately 34/60 or 56% correct)
All jurisdictions require a score between 75 and 86 to pass the MPRE.
Note that the exact numbers change each administration, so sometimes the raw number of questions that must be answered correctly will increase or decrease depending on the difficulty of the test. However, overall, the numbers will not change much.
Also, note that just two questions can be the difference between a 75 or an 85, or between passing and failing. This means that you have to fight hard for those 10 points (or two questions!) that can determine your MPRE fate if you are in a jurisdiction that requires a higher passing score.
Many law schools and bar review courses say that a score of approximately 32 correctly answered questions will lead to a score of approximately 85.
Our general recommendation is that if you are scoring between 30 and 35 on most practice exams, you are in the passing range. If you find yourself not quite meeting that score range or if you are consistently scoring on the lower end of that spectrum—and especially if your jurisdiction requires a higher passing score—it may be worth it to dedicate some extra time to study to ensure you pass the MPRE.
Go to the next topic, Topic 6: How to Study for the MPRE.
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