You may be wondering what “raw” score you need on the Multistate Bar Exam in order to achieve a passing score on the MBE. We have input the data that we have available into an MBE raw score conversion chart (above). (You can click on the picture to make it bigger.)
Update: Please make sure you are using released MBE questions when you are reviewing your raw score! (The BEST current exam is the 2022 exam released by the NCBE, which you can purchase here.)
What Data Did we Use to Create this Raw Score Conversion Chart
This was released in 1998 by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), which is the organization that writes the exam. The NCBE stopped releasing data on raw v. converted scores a few years ago.
However, the data surprisingly matches up with the same data we found from self-reported MBE scores from 2008 to 2013. So it looks like the raw v. scaled scores have not changed that significantly!
Note that the MBE has changed, even since 2013 in some of the following notable ways:
- Civil Procedure was added as an MBE subject in 2015.
- Only 175 questions are scored now. (190 used to be scored.)
- The national MBE mean has dropped.
Thus, this MBE raw score conversion chart should be used as guidance only! It should give you a general ballpark of how you are scoring. You should not depend on it.
MBE Conversion Chart Guide:
Here is the vocabulary explained:
RAW SCORE: This means the number correct (out of 190 scored questions) to pass. (So if you are trying to figure out the percentage, divide the raw score by 190. We do the math for you below.) *Note: only 175 questions are scored now, but since this data was captured when 190 questions were scored, 190 is used.
CONVERTED SCORE: This is the number that your raw MBE score “converts” to after the NCBE does its magic and adds some additional points to your score. We won’t say no to additional points!
PERCENTILE: This tells you how you score in relation to other test takers. For example, if you are in the 20th percentile, you scored higher than 20% of exam takers. If you are in the 90th percentile, you scored higher than 90% of exam takers.
What score do I need to pass the MBE?
The short answer:
- If you are aiming for an MBE score of 131-135 (which is a passing score in jurisdictions that require scores of 262-270 to pass), you should aim for 58%-62%. We suggest aiming for at least 60% to be safe.
- If you are aiming for an MBE score of 136-140 (which is a passing MBE score in jurisdictions that require a 272-280 to pass) you should aim for 62%-65%.
- If you are aiming for an MBE score of 144 (which is considered passing in California), you should aim for about 67%.
(If you are curious about the math, we got these percentages by dividing 111/190, 118/190, 123/190, and 129/190. We used 190 because there used to be ten “test” questions that are not counted in your raw score. Now there are 25 test questions not counted in your score.)
If you want to do the math yourself:
If you are trying to figure out what you need to pass, find the scaled score that you are aiming for (again this is usually between 130 and 140 or 144 if you are taking the California bar exam). If you are in a jurisdiction like New York or DC, you will need a 133 as your scaled score. So look for this score in the middle “Scaled Score” column.
Then, look to the left and see what raw score you need. It looks like if you are aiming for a 133 “scaled” score you want somewhere between a 111 and 118 “raw” score. We’ll say you should aim for a raw score of about 115. This raw score is the number correct that an examinee got out of 190. So, do the math: 115/190 = 60.52%. That is the percentage of questions that you need to answer correctly to “pass” the MBE.
Looking for a free resource to help you boost your MBE score? Review our free MBE guide here.
Note: You should be using real MBE questions to evaluate if you are on track!
Instead of solely using questions invented by Barbri, Kaplan, or Themis, (or even free sample questions invented by us!) use actual official MBE questions! “Real” MBE questions are a much better gauge of whether you are on track to pass. (We define “real” MBE questions as those released by the NCBE. These closely resemble the style and format of the MBE. And a lot of issues tend to be retested in the same way!) You can purchase real MBE questions here. (If you are curious about all of the sources of real MBE questions that we know of, check out this post. If you are looking to review “MBE favorites”–that is, those issues that we have seen come up time and time again throughout the years on the MBE, check out our MBE Favorites series here.
You can see a screenshot of the QBank of over 1,900 released questions we offer below.
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