What Is It Like To Take The Uniform Bar Exam?
What Is It Like To Take The Uniform Bar Exam?: If you just started your bar prep for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) you may be a bit confused as to what all the anagrams mean. Even after you figure out what MBE, MPT, and MEE all stand for and what they entail you still are not given a breakdown of what it is like to take the Uniform Bar Exam.
What Is It Like To Take The Uniform Bar Exam?
This can cause some anxiety in bar exam takers. You just want to know what is it like to take the Uniform Bar Exam. Once you do, it is one less thing to worry about for the UBE and you have a lot of things you are worrying about.
Luckily, you are not the first person to take the Uniform Bar Exam. We have laid out for you below how the UBE is administered. While administration can vary in the details from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (the exam room set-up, how they hand out test booklets, what items you can have) the test itself remains the same.
What is the Uniform Bar Exam?
The Uniform Bar Exam is a bar exam that tests on general legal principles and skills, not state specific law. The UBE is created and written by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) but it is administered, graded, and scored by individual jurisdictions. Currently, the UBE is administered in over half the jurisdictions in the United States with more jurisdictions joining every year.
One of the main benefits of taking the UBE is that it provides a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions if it meets that jurisdiction’s passing score requirement. So if you take the DC bar and pass it you can transfer your score to any other jurisdiction that requires a passing score of 270 and above as long as you meet that jurisdiction’s other requirements for admission.
Administered over two days, the UBE itself consists of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and a written portion made up of the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). For a more thorough understanding of what each topic tests, read our post on Uniform Bar Exam Topics.
Day One: The Written Portion (MPT & MEE)
The first day of the exam is the written portion. The written portion consists of the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). Unless you elect to handwrite it both of these portions of the exam will be typed on your laptop with whatever exam software your jurisdiction prefers. So make sure you have a reliable laptop with a long charger that you feel comfortable typing on for six hours.
Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
The first part of the Uniform Bar Exam that you get to take it the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). The MPT consists of two 90 minute performance tests.
However, while each MPT problem is allotted 90 minutes no one tracks that time but the bar exam taker themselves. The proctors only keep time for the entire three hours for the MPT. No one stops you halfway and tells you to move on to the next problem. This is why it is important to practice your time management ahead of time when practicing for the MPT.
Since time is not divided up you can go back and forth between the two MPTs. But generally, you should focus on one MPT, finish it within the 90 minutes, then move on to the next. If you have time left then you can go back and add to it. It sounds like a long time but 90 minutes really do fly by.
Once time runs on the MPT you will submit and finish that portion of that exam on your laptop. You will probably get about an hour for lunch and then you will come back and type (or handwrite in a bluebook) for three more hours.
Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)
The Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) consists of six essays administered over three hours. Each essay is meant to take 30 minutes. But like the MPT, no one is keeping that time for you. So you will want to be sure to allow yourself only 30 minutes per essay.
Practice ahead of time of how to properly manage your time. You really want to keep each essay to 30 minutes or you might find yourself running out of time to finish all the essays. If you find yourself running out of time go ahead and abandon writing in full sentences and work to get bullet points of information down.
Like the morning, once the MEE is finished you will upload and submit your exam electronically. Then you are free to leave and go and get a good night’s rest before the second and final day of the bar exam.
Day Two: Multiple Choice (MBE)
The second day of the Uniform Bar Exam is completely devoted to the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The MBE consists of 200 hundred multiple choice questions over the span of six hours It is divided up between a morning and afternoon session of three hours each. During each section, you only have access to those 100 questions so you cannot rush ahead if you finish early or go back and check your morning questions when you finish in the afternoon.
The MBE is much like any other standardized test you have taken in your life. You are given a sealed test booklet with questions and a scantron sheet with the bubbles to fill in. You get one test booklet and one answer sheet for each section.
Just like all the other scantron tests you have taken you have to be sure to fill in the bubbles fully and be sure to fully erase all pencil marks. You can write in the test booklets all you want. Only the answers on the scantron sheet will be scored.
You are given three hours for each session. Each section has 100 questions. That’s approximately 1.8 minutes a question. Luckily, some questions take barely any time to answer so you have time for the more difficult questions. If you find yourself running out of time pick your favorite letter and start filling in bubbles.
The Uniform Bar Exam is a 12-hour marathon spread over two days. Knowing how to budget your time is almost as important as knowing the law you are being tested on. Good luck and practice, practice, practice!
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