How to Use a Bar Exam Calculator to Predict Your Results

A bar exam calculator is key to helping you track your progress as you study for the bar exam. Since you will likely only have a few months to study, every minute you have is crucial to your ability to pass the bar exam on the first try. So, you’ll need to ensure you study efficiently and effectively. Let’s look at how a bar exam calculator can help you track your progress and keep you on the path to passing the bar exam.

Bar exam scoring

To do well on the bar exam, you need to understand how the exam is structured and scored. If your state administers the uniform bar exam, then you’re going to be preparing for (and crushing!) three different components: the Multistate Essay Exam, the Multistate Performance Test, and the Multistate Bar Exam. Let’s take a quick look at each of these components and how they’re scored.

The Multistate Essay Exam, or MEE, is made up of six essays testing you on a variety of legal subjects. Your score will be based on your ability to correctly identify legal issues, weed out irrelevant information and present a well-reasoned, coherent analysis—all in 30 minutes. Also, your overall score on this section will make up 30% of your UBE score.

The Multistate Performance Test or MPT is made up of two tasks where you will be given the laws that you need to apply to a fact scenario and asked to analyze those laws and write a brief or a memo. You’ll have 90 minutes for each of these tasks. These two MPT tasks will account for 20% of your UBE score. There is no set scoring for the MPT as each jurisdiction grades its own applicants MPT tasks.

Last but certainly not least is the Multistate Bar Exam, or MBE. The MBE makes up half of your bar exam score so it’s crucial to do well on this part of the UBE in order to pass. Luckily, of the three sections, it’s the easiest to track how well you’re doing while you’re studying. The reason for this? It’s a 200-question multiple choice exam, so you can keep an eye on your progress by quickly scoring your practice exams with a bar exam calculator. (More on this exciting tool in the next section!) Also, since the MBE makes up half of your bar exam score, make sure you use only one of the best MBE books to prepare—your materials will be critical to learning all of the topics tested.

Bar exam calculator

Since the grading is a bit more subjective, the MEE and the MPT are tricky to grade on your own. Scoring your practice MBEs, however, can be quick and easy. The MBE is made up of 200 multiple choice questions, but 25 of the questions are considered “pretest,” meaning they don’t contribute to your overall score. So, when you’re grading your own tests you can’t just determine your score based out of a total score of 200. Instead, there’s a scaled score that’s used for the MBE. The graders, or the National Conference of Bar Examiners, will add points to your score based on the level of difficulty of the exam. This process is similar to the dreaded curve in law school—and like the curve in law school, sometimes it can help and other times it can hurt your score.

What does this all mean for your MBE score? First and foremost, don’t ever leave an MBE answer choice blank. There’s no penalty for a wrong answer, so it’s always worth a shot to guess.  Second, don’t be alarmed when your MBE score on practice exams isn’t as high as what you were hoping for. Remember that the actual MBE will be scaled, and 25 questions will be disregarded.

As a quick point of reference to help you as you’re studying, the the median MBE score for July 2016 was 138.6. So, aim to keep your score right around a 138 for the MBE and you should be just fine. If you’re curious about the passing scores for your state, check out UBE Passing Scores by State.

Recap

Although the MEE and the MPT are graded by particular jurisdictions, the MBE is a standardized, multiple choice exam graded by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Since the exam is graded in a standardized manner, you can more easily track your progress on the MBE portion of the UBE.

Now that you’ve got a sense of how to measure your progress on the MBE, start studying by making your own MBE flashcards!

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