Understanding Your UBE Results
When you get your UBE results, you will find out not only if you passed or failed the Uniform Bar Exam, but also, how you scored in each section. Here, we give you a guide on how to understand what your UBE results mean.
Understanding Your UBE Results
Your Overall Score:
First and foremost, when you are looking at your UBE results, you will see your overall UBE score. Your UBE score report should also clearly tell you if you passed or failed the bar exam.
Note that a “passing” UBE score varies based on your jurisdiction. You can see below whether your UBE score is considered passing or failing. Keep in mind that it is possible that you received a “passing” UBE score in one jurisdiction yet failed in another one. For example, if you received a 262, you passed in Alabama but you failed in New York.
Updated May 2023. Source.
While you examine your UBE results, you may wonder what your UBE percentile is—that is, how you scored in relation to other test takers that were taking the same exam. If you read this post on UBE percentiles, you can figure out your approximate percentile. A few numbers to give you a good idea of how you scored
- A 330 is top percentile (99th percentile for the February 2018 Uniform Bar Exam, though it is probably a little lower for a July exam. This means you scored higher than 99% of test takers!)
- A 300 is approximately 90th percentile
- A 280 is approximately 73rd percentile
- A 270 is approximately 58th percentile
- A 260 is approximately 44th percentile
- A 250 is approximately 26th percentile
- A 240 is approximately 17th percentile
- A 230 is approximately 9th percentile
- A 210 is approximately 2 percentile
What does a “percentile” mean?
If you scored 58th percentile, that means you scored higher than 58% of people taking the bar exam. If you scored 5%, you scored higher than 5% of people taking the bar exam.
The higher your percentile is, the better you scored!
Your MBE Score:
When you examine your UBE results, you should also see your MBE converted score. (This is not your “raw” MBE score—which would tell you exactly how many questions out of the scored 175 questions you answered correctly. Rather, this data is “converted” into a scaled score using an undisclosed formula.)
What is a passing MBE score?
In UBE states, you want to score between a 130 and a 140 to “pass” the MBE. To figure out what a “passing MBE score is in your jurisdiction, just divide the total passing score by two. So, if you are in New York and a 266 is a passing score, a 133 would be considered a passing MBE score.
*Note that technically there is no “minimum” passing MBE score. So if you scored low on the MBE but made up for it in the essays, you would still pass the bar exam. However, it can be useful to know how you performed on the MBE and the best way to gauge if your score is passing or failing is to use the formula to see if you are above or below the “passing” score.
If you failed the bar exam, it is especially important in understanding your UBE score that you understand exactly what your MBE score means.
If you look at the above chart from 2018, you can see an approximate MBE percentile. (It changes each administration and July’s data is not yet released.) Note that the MBE is scored on a curve so not all points are treated equally. Thus, it is sometimes harder—and sometimes easier—to make up points. For example, a 125 is the 32nd percentile, and a 135 is 60th percentile. That is only a ten-point difference but almost a 30-point difference in percentile! So, if you are in the 120’s on the MBE, you may still have a lot of work to do to move your score up a little bit.
Note: Some jurisdictions also tell you how you scored in each MBE subject. If your jurisdiction does, pay close attention! If you scored, say, a “20” in Torts that means you scored higher than 20% of test takers (in other words, you have some work to do!).
Your Written Score:
In a Uniform Bar Exam score report, you will see six scores for your multistate essay exam answers, and then two scores for your multistate performance test answers. The vast majority of states grade on a 1-6 scale. (Some states grade on a 1-10 scale, and other states, like New York, do their own thing, which you can read about here.)
Your score report may look something like this:
- MEE #1: 3
- MEE #2: 4
- MEE #3: 5
- MEE #4: 2
- MEE #5: 1
- MEE #6: 4
- MPT #1: 3
- MPT #2: 4
So, the first six scores are generally your multistate essay exam (MEE) scores. And the last two scores are your multistate performance test (MPT) scores. Remember that these are not weighted equally! The six MEE essays are worth 30% of your overall score (or 60% of your written score). The two MPTs are worth 20% of your overall score (or 40% of your written score)! So, the MPTs are worth more than the MEEs.
Note: Some jurisdictions will not tell you how you performed on each essay.
In most states, a “4” is considered a passing score. If you want to get really specific, for each essay:
- A 3.9 is considered passing in Uniform Bar Exam jurisdictions that require a 260 to pass.
- A 4.0 is considered passing in Uniform Bar Exam jurisdictions that require a 266 to pass.
- A 4.1 is considered passing in Uniform Bar Exam jurisdictions that require a 273 to pass.
- A 4.2 is considered passing in Uniform Bar Exam jurisdictions that require a score of 280 to pass.
Closely look at your score report to see if your score was passing or not! A lot of students just assume that they passed the essay portion, when on closer inspection, they did not. This is especially important to do if you failed the bar exam.
If you did not pass the UBE, we recommend you read this detailed post on what to do if you failed the bar exam. The last thing you want to do is make the same mistakes and fail it again! We tell you how to avoid that and how to study better!
If you have questions about your UBE score, feel free to post in the comments below or contact us.
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