MBE Score Lowest Since 1984

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 18, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Reading about low test scores is like reading the obituaries: nobody really likes to see the bad news.

But the truth is hard sometimes, and scores on the Multistate Bar Exam for July hit their lowest in 34 years. At an average score of 139.5, it's a miracle anybody passed the Bar Exam.

The good news is -- hopefully -- you're not on the bar exam obituary page. If you are, maybe you'll get lucky in the next life.

Pass Rate Down

The National Conference of Bar Examiners released the results from the July 2018 exam, and the average score dropped 2.2 points from previous July. The summer score was the lowest since 1984.

At the same time, essay scores also took a hit. NCBE President Judith Gunderson said bar pass rates overall are down.

"Pass rates will be lower in most jurisdictions," she told Law.com. "There have been some upticks, but generally, lower performance and bar passage is expected."

But no one expected it to be this bad. The average MBE score had gone up for each of the last two summers.

Not the Lowest

It was not the lowest MBE score ever. That distinction belongs to the February 2018 exam.

The average of 132.8 last February was the "all-time record low in test history," said Pepperdine School of Law professor Derek Muller.

But seeing others do worse on a test is like seeing others on the obituary page. It's not really a consolation; it's more like a relief that it wasn't you.

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