The Multistate Bar Exam, owned by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, is a 200-question standardized multiple choice exam that measures a candidate’s ability to apply general legal principles and reasoning. Given as part of the multi-day exam for admission to the attorney bar in almost all states, the exam’s weight in a candidate’s overall bar exam score varies depending on the jurisdiction. The MBE yields two scores, a raw score and a scaled score.
The MBE raw score is the number of questions a candidate answers correctly. For example, if you answered 140 of the questions right you would have a raw score of 140.
Each MBE contains different questions, so the difficulty level of each test varies depending on when you take it. The NCBE uses a statistical formula to measure the difficulty of the questions in a given administration of the test and then statistically adjusts the raw scores to reflect the difficulty level. By taking the difficulty level of the test into account, the scaled score allows scores to be compared across different test administrations, regardless of difficulty level. For example, if you received a 140 raw score on a relatively easy test, the statistical process might give you a scaled score of 143. If you received a 140 raw score on a relatively difficult test, the statistical process might give you a scaled score of 149. A 140 raw score on an easy test is not as good as a 140 raw score on a hard test. Scaling serves to adjust the results to represent the same level of performance across all tests.
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