Massachusetts administers the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). The UBE is comprised of:
Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
20% of Overall Score
Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)
30% of Overall Score
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
50% of Overall Score
Two (2) 90-minute items designed to test an examinee's ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation to complete a task.
Six (6) 30-minute questions, each requiring a constructed response from the examinee based on generally accepted fundamental legal principles.
Two-hundred (200) multiple choice questions with four response options per question.
- The UBE is a uniformly administered, graded, and scored bar exam that results in a portable score that may be transferred by examinees to seek bar admission in other UBE jurisdictions. In order to ensure consistency in grading across UBE jurisdictions, Massachusetts graders follow grading procedures and standards set by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
- MEE and MPT grades reflect the examinee's ability to apply the law to the relevant facts in an organized and coherent manner, demonstrating the examinee's understanding of the legal principles raised by the facts and issues identified, and effectively communicating his or her analysis in writing.
- All bar exam grading is completed anonymously, with only randomly assigned seat numbers as the sole identifier.
The MBE Score: Scores for this portion of the bar examination are based on the number of multiple choice questions answered correctly by an examinee. The resulting “raw” scores are adjusted statistically by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) to account for variations in the difficulty levels of the exam over time. The adjusted score is referred to as the Scaled MBE Score and is reported to one decimal point.
The MPT and MEE Scores: Scores for these portions of the bar examination are determined on the basis of a possible score of zero to seven (0-7) on each question. The sum of the points received for each question comprises an examinee’s Raw Score. To account for differences in question difficulty and grader leniency across examinations over time, the Raw Essay Score is converted, or “scaled,” to a distribution that has the same mean and standard deviation as the
Scaled MBE Scores for all Massachusetts examinees. The resulting score, referred to as the Scaled MPT and MEE Scores, are rounded and reported to two decimal places.
If, after the initial grading of the MPT and MEE questions, an examinee achieves a Total Scaled Score of 270 or greater, the examinee passes the exam.
If, after the initial grading of the MPT and MEE questions, the examinee receives a Total Scaled Score of 264 or lower, the examinee fails the exam.
If, after initial grading of the MPT and MEE questions, an examinee’s Total Scaled Score is greater than 264 but less than 270, each of that examinee’s essay answers are graded again by a different grader (“Re-Read”).
For those examinees whose essay answers were Re-Read, the final score for each essay question will be the average number of points assigned by the two gradings, rounded to 1 decimal place. MPT and MEE exams are not subject to any further readings. Similar to the initial scoring, the sum of the averaged points received for each MPT and MEE question is the examinee’s Raw Essay Score.
The Raw Essay Score is then converted to a Final Scaled Score using the same procedures as used before re-reading. It is rounded and reported to two decimal places.
The Final Total Scaled Score: To calculate an examinee’s Total Scaled Score, the scaled MBE at 50% weight, scaled MPT score at 20% weight, and the scaled MEE score at 30% weight are summed together and then rounded to the nearest whole number (i.e., any score with a decimal portion < .50 is rounded downwards while any score with a decimal portion .50 or above is rounded upward). For example, a score of 269.49 is rounded to 269 while a score of 269.50 rounds up to 270. A Final Total Scaled Score of 270 or greater is required to pass the Massachusetts Bar Examination.