The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

The National Conference of Bar Examiners has produced the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) since 1972.

The MBE consists of 200 ­multiple-choice questions in the follow­ing areas: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. The purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns.

Both a raw score and a scaled score are computed for each examinee. A raw score is the number of questions answered correctly. Raw scores from different administrations of the MBE are not comparable, primarily due to differences in the difficulty of the questions from one administration to the next. The MBE, like virtually all high-stakes exams, is equated. Equating is a statistical process that adjusts for variations in the difficulty of the questions, producing scaled scores that represent the same level of performance across all MBE administrations. For instance, if the questions appearing on the July MBE were more difficult than those appearing on the February MBE, then the scaled scores for the July MBE would be adjusted upward to account for this difference. These adjustments ensure that no examinee is unfairly penalized or rewarded for taking a more or less difficult exam. Each jurisdiction determines its own policy with regard to the relative weight given to the MBE and other scores. (Jurisdictions that administer the Uniform Bar Examination [UBE] weight the MBE component 50%.)

Jurisdictions Using the MBE in 2023

Map of the continental US plus Hawaii and Alaska with those jurisdictions that used the MBE in 2023 shaded green. All except Louisiana and Puerto Rico use the MBE

2023 MBE National Summary Statistics (Based on Scaled Scores)

The values in the following charts reflect valid scores available electronically as of 1/31/24.

February July 2023 Overall
Number of Examinees 19,228 45,968 65,196
Mean Scaled Score 131.1 140.5 137.8
Standard Deviation 15.2 17.1 17.1
Maximum 182.7 190.6 190.6
Minimum 65.4 46.3 46.3
Median 131.5 141.4 138.0


2023 MBE National Score Distributions

These data represent scaled scores in increments of 5, with the exception of 85, which includes all examinees below that score. For example, the percentage reported for 135 includes examinees whose MBE scaled scores were between 130.5 and 135.4. Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

ID MBE Scaled Score February (Mean = 131.1) — Percentage of Examinees July (Mean = 140.5) — Percentage of Examinees
1 85 0.2 0.1
2 90 0.2 0.2
3 95 0.8 0.4
4 100 1.1 0.7
5 105 2.3 1.3
6 110 4.2 2.1
7 115 5.7 3.0
8 120 8.7 5.0
9 125 11.8 6.8
10 130 13.0 7.6
11 135 12.6 10.6
12 140 13.7 10.4
13 145 9.5 11.0
14 150 6.0 11.0
15 155 4.6 9.0
16 160 2.6 7.9
17 165 1.6 6.4
18 170 0.9 3.5
19 175 0.4 2.1
20 180 0.2 0.7
21 185 0.0 0.2
22 190 0.0 0.0
23 195 0.0 0.0

MBE National Examinee Counts, 2014–2023

The values in the following charts reflect valid scores available electronically as of 1/31/24.

† 161 additional examinees took a makeup multiple-choice exam in Texas in March 2021 for local admission only as a result of severe weather that prevented them from taking the February 2021 MBE.

Bar graph of MBE examinee counts, 2014–2023—numbers are listed in previous chart. February counts are shaded orange; July counts are shaded blue

MBE National Mean Scaled Scores, 2014–2023

Note: The values in the following charts reflect valid scores available electronically as of 1/31/24.

Line graph of MBE National Mean Scaled Scores, 2014–2023—numbers are listed in previous chart. February is an orange line; July is a blue line

* Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the July 2020 MBE was administered on three separate dates: July 29, September 10, and October 1. The results shown are for in-person examinees only; approximately 29,000 additional examinees sat for a remotely administered exam using NCBE materials in October 2020. Comparability to other years’ results may be limited due to the lower examinee count.

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