VBBE - Frequently Asked Questions
The MBE is only one of a number of measures that a board of bar examiners may use in determining competence to practice. The MBE is a component of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). Jurisdictions that administer the UBE weight the MBE component 50%. Virginia requires a scaled score of 85 or higher on the MPRE. . How is the multistate portion (MBE) of the Virginia exam scored? . On the day laptop registration begins, a link will be posted on our website which will take you to the software. Is there any correlation between GPA in law school and likelihood of relationship between MPRE scores and MBE scores (correlation of).
However, law schools stop short of actually remedying the problem and simply farm out these issues to commercial bar review courses who all have one-size-fits-all mentalities. Further, with less students applying to law school and with many law schools being tuition dependent, schools are accepting students with lower LSAT scores. While there are many reasons that can be attributed to the drop in MBE scores it does not make the bar candidate who was unsuccessful feel any better.
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So, if you did fail the bar exam, the first step to passing the next exam is admitting that what you did to study the last time did not work for you. Repeating the same program and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity! Keep in mind that the drop in MBE scores does not necessarily mean you are less likely to pass the exam.
They are merely a reflection on how the bar exam has changed, yet bar review courses have not. First time bar review courses give you the law you need to know, but they do not train you to pass.
Passing the bar exam is not just about memorizing law; you must also employ test-taking strategies that will maximize your bar exam score. The determinative factor on the MBE is not simply whether you memorized the correct rules; it is how good you are at narrowing the answer choices to two possibilities and choosing the best answer between them. This is why no one ever feels fully confident after taking the MBE.
And it is why so many students have been failing the MBE — they do not know how to apply the law they learned to individual MBE questions. The MEE consists of 6 essays each of which you will have 30 minutes to complete.
Group B's pass rate will match Group A's pass rate because the equators establish that they are of similar ability. When someone criticizes the MBE as being "harder," in order for that statement to have any relevance, that person must mean that it is "harder" in a way that caused lower scores; that is not the case in typical equating and scaling, as demonstrated in this example. Let's instead look at a new group, Group C. But on the equators, the measure for comparing performance across tests, Group C also performed worse, 13 right instead of Group A's We can feel fairly confident, then, that Group C is of lesser ability than Group A.
Their performance on the equators shows as much. That also suggests that when Group C performed worse on unique questions than Group A, it was not because the questions were harder; it was because they were of lesser ability.
There are, of course, many more nuanced ways of measuring how different the groups are, examining the performance of individuals on each question, and so on. For instance, what if Group C also got harder questions by an objective measure--as in, Group A would have scored the same score as Group C on the uniques if Group A answered Group C's uniques?
How can we examine the unique questions independent of the equators, in the event that the uniques are actually harder or easier? But this is a very crude way of identifying what the bar exam does. For all of the sophisticated details, including how to weigh these things more specifically, read up on Item Response Theory. So, when the MBE scores decline, they decline because the group, as a whole, has performed worse than the previous group.
And we can measure that by comparing their performance on similarly-situated questions. Did something change test-taker performance on the MBE? The only way to say that the failure rate increased because of the test would be because of a problem with the test itself. It might be, of course, that the NCBE created an error in its exam by using the wrong questions or scoring it incorrectly, but there hasn't been such an allegation and we have no evidence of that.
Of course, we have little evidence of anything at all, which may be an independent problem. But this year, some note, is the first year at the MBE includes seven multistate bar exam subjects instead of six. Civil Procedure was added as a seventh subject in the February exam. Recall how equating works, however.
National Conference of Bar Examiners
We equate similar questions given to the same groups of test-takers. That means, Civil Procedure questions were not used to equate the scores. If the Civil Procedure questions were more challenging, or if students performed worse on those questions than others, we can always go back and see how they did on the anchor questions. Instead, a "change" in the bar pass rates derived from the exam itself must affect how one performs on both the equators and the uniques.
The more nuanced claim is this: Civil Procedure is a seventh subject on the bar exam. Law students must now learn an additional subject for the MBE. Students have limited time and limited mental capacity to learn and retain this information.
The seventh subject leads them to perform worse than they would have on the other six subjects. That, in turn, causes a decline in their performance on the equators relative to previous cohorts. And that causes an artificial decline in the score. But there are several factors suggesting note, not necessarily definitively! First, this is not the first time the MBE has added a subject.
In the mids, the question MBE consisted of just five subjects: As a brief note, some of these subjects may have become easier; indeed, the adoption of the Federal Rules of Evidence simplified the questions at a time when the bulk of the evidentiary questions were based on common law. But, of course, there is more law today in many of these areas, and perhaps more complexity in some of them as a result.
It ultimately settled on Constitutional Law, but not after significant opposition. Indeed, some even went so far as to suggest that it was not possible to draft objective-style multiple choice questions on Constitutional Law. I've read through the archives of the Bar Examiner magazine from those days. There was no great outcry about changes in bar pass rates or inabilities of students to handle a sixth subject; there was no dramatic decline in scores.
Instead, Constitutional Law was, and now is, deemed a perfectly ordinary part of the MBE, with no complaints that the addition of this sixth subject proved overwhelming. The practice of adding a subject to the MBE is not unprecedented. Furthermore, it's an overstatement to say that the MBE now includes a seventh subject when all bar exams to my knowledge previously tested Civil Procedure.
Yes, the testing occurred in the essay components rather than the multiple choice components, but students were already studying for it, at least somewhat, anyway.
And in many jurisdictions e. Finally, Civil Procedure is a substantial required course at I believe every law school in America--the same cannot be said, at the very least, of Evidence and of Constitutional Law. To the extent it's something students need to learn, they are, generally, already required to learn it for the bar, and they already have learned it in law school. Retention or comprehension, of course, are other matters.
These arguments are not definitive. It may well be the case that they are wrong and that Civil Procedure is a kind of disruptive subject sui generis.What does my MBE score mean?
But it points to a larger issue that such arguments are largely speculation, ones that require more evidence before gaining confidence that Civil Procedure is or is not responsible, in any meaningful measure, to the lower MBE scores.
We do, however, have two external factors that predict the decline in MBE scores, and ones that suggest that the decline in student quality rather than a more challenging set of subjects is responsible for the decline in scores. First, law schools have been increasingly admitting--and, subsequently, increasingly graduating--students with lower credentials, including lower undergraduate grade point averages and lower LSAT scores.
Jerry Organ has written extensively about this. We should expect declining bar pass rates as law schools continue to admit, and graduate, these students.
MPRE/MBE Comparison - Top Law Schools
The degree of decline remains a subject of some debate, but a decline is to be expected. And because the MPRE is not subject to the same worries about changes in subject matter tested, its predictive value is beneficial to examine whether one would expect a particular outcome in the MBE.
Some states are making the bar harder to pass--by raising the score needed to pass Illinois, for instance, has announced that it will increase the score needed to pass the exam. When it adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, Montana decided to increase the score needed to pass. These factors are unrelated to the changes in MBE scores.
We might expect pass rates to decline. And we might attribute that decline to something other than the MBE scores. And it actually raises a number of questions for those jurisdictions. Why is the pass score being increased?