What Does My Illinois Bar Exam Score Report Mean?
Note on 12/2/2020: we will update this post shortly but please check out this post on how to interpret your Uniform Bar Exam score report in the meantime!
What Does My Illinois Bar Exam Score Report Mean?: You’ve taken the Illinois Bar Exam, waited many weeks in anticipation of your score, and now you have to make sense of confusing score report. What does it all mean? Below we will help you break down the different components of your Illinois bar exam score report. Currently, the minimum passing scaled score on the exam is 266 (out of a possible 400 points).
What Does My Illinois Bar Exam Score Report Mean?
What do the scaled scores mean?
MBE Scaled Score:
When you read your Illinois bar exam score report, you will see two scaled numbers added together to determine your score on the exam. Your MBE score is a scaled score with a maximum of 200 points. You will see your MBE scaled score, which is worth 50% of your total score. In order to generate your MBE scaled score, your raw score (the actual number of MBE questions you answered correctly) is tabulated.
The raw score is then adjusted to reflect the difficulty of the MBE during this administration with respect to previous MBE administrations. The National Conference of Bar Examiners no longer releases the raw score; you will only see the scaled score.
In Illinois, if your MBE score is 133 or higher, this is generally considered to be a “passing” score. In February 2017, a 150 would have put you in the 88th percentile (you did better than 88% of the students taking the exam), and a 130 would have landed you in the 40th percentile. A 120 or below is generally in the 16th percentile or below. If you scored lower than a 115, you need quite a bit of help on your MBE score (and you may want to consider hiring an MBE tutor or joining our highly-regarded full service Uniform Bar Exam full service course since Illinois is 80% UBE!)
Note that the “percentile” tells you the percent of people that scored lower than you. That is why you should be concerned if you scored, say, 100, 110, 120, etc. You are in the bottom quarter of applicants and you need to improve your score substantially.
If you want more detailed information on what your MBE scaled score means, see this post.
Written Scaled Score:
The other component of your score is the Written scaled score, which is comprised of your IEE score, MEE score and your MPT score. Your Written scaled score is a scaled score with a maximum of 200 points. The IEE and MEE constitute 40% of your Written scaled score and the MPT constitutes 10% of your Written scaled score.
The 6 MEE essays and 3 IEE essays are weighted equally. The MPT is weighted 2.25 times that of an individual essay. Your answer to each IEE, MEE and MPT receives a raw score on a 0 to 6 point scale. The average scores on the July 2016 administration for the IEE and MEE ranged from 3.2 to 3.55 raw points. The average raw (weighted) score for the MPT on the July 2016 exam was 7.68 points. The raw scores for each essay and MPT are added together to calculate your overall Written raw score. Your overall Written raw score is then scaled to the MBE to reflect the difficulty of the test during this administration with respect to previous administrations. You can generally tell how close you are to passing by how far off your scaled score is from 133.
You can see the chart above to see what your written score means.
What should you do with your score?
If you passed the exam, congratulations! If you are moving to another state, check and see whether you can transfer your Illinois MBE score. Remember that each state sets its own requirements regarding the portability of the MBE score (generally, this score must be transferred within a specific time period).
If you didn’t pass the exam, take a deep breath. Take some time to examine your score report. Did you struggle with the MBE? Or the written section? Or both? How close were you to a scaled score of 133 on the MBE and the written section?
We also recommend ordering your essays in accordance with the rules set forth by the Illinois Board of Admissions. The Illinois Board of Admissions states the following on its website: “Examinees who fail an Illinois exam may request Essay/MPT Study Materials which include “sample answers” that were written by fellow examinees. Sample passing answers are not perfect answers, but are representative of those answers that received the highest score.”
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you prepare more efficiently in the future. Please read this detailed post on what to do if you failed the bar exam. See how you can learn from your mistakes so that you don’t fail again! We tell you how to avoid that and how to study more effectively.
Can you appeal your Illinois bar exam score?
Note you cannot appeal your Illinois bar exam score. Illinois does not regrade exams. Students scoring between 262 and 265 are automatically regraded prior to results being released. So even if you come close to passing, an appeal is not an option according to the Illinois rules.
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