July 2017 MBE scores are higher than expected
If you are anxiously awaiting July 2017 bar exam results, you should know that July 2017 MBE scores are higher than expected. According to a blog post written by Excess of Democracy (which has accurately reported MBE scores in the past, though we are not sure where they acquired this most recent MBE data), the mean MBE score for the July 2017 bar exam is 141.7. You can see how this compares with past July bar exams by examining the past mean July MBE scaled scores.
- July 2007 – 143.7
- July 2008 – 145.6
- July 2009 – 144.5
- July 2010 – 143.6
- July 2011 – 143.8
- July 2012 – 143.4
- July 2013 – 144.3
- July 2014 – 141.5
- July 2015 – 139.9
- July 2016 – 140.3
- July 2017 – 141.7
The July 2017 mean MBE score is the highest it has been since 2013. And it is 1.4 points higher than the July 2016 MBE mean.
In many jurisdictions, a 141.7 would be a passing MBE score. (In New York, the passing MBE score is 133. In Michigan, it is 135.) If you are in a UBE jurisdiction, just divide the total passing score by 2 to figure out what a passing MBE score would be. (So New York’s passing score is 266, which technically makes 133 a passing MBE score.)
There is speculation about why the July 2017 MBE scores are higher than expected. Some say that the applicants taking the bar exam are of a higher caliber. Others say that the increase in test questions has helped the curve (though February 2017’s MBE score was very low, and that is when the NCBE increased the number of test questions from 10 to 25).
A few notes:
First, you do not need to achieve a passing MBE score to pass the bar exam in the vast majority of states. You could make up a lower MBE score with a higher essay score.
Second, while nationwide, the MBE mean has increased, this does not mean that passage rates in each jurisdiction will increase. To the contrary, it is hard to predict a jurisdiction’s performance based on the national MBE score.
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