TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, April 20, 2018

February Bar Exam Performance Hits Record Low

MBELaw.com, February Bar Exam Performance Hits Record Low:

A decline in the average MBE score from the February 2018 bar exam does not bode well for pass rates, which are beginning to trickle out.

Performance of law graduates taking the attorney licensing test in February has hit the lowest point in more than a decade, while scores for those taking the exam during the more popular July session have been on the upswing.

According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the average score on February’s Multistate Bar Exam—the 200 multiple-choice question portion of the test used by all jurisdictions—fell 1.3 points from the previous year, to 132.8. That’s the lowest average in more than 10 years, and marks the fourth straight year that the February average declined.

By contrast, the average MBE score from the July exam ticked up slightly in 2016 and went up 1.4 points in 2017.

The diverging performance of July and February bar takers largely boils down to repeat test takers, according to Judith Gundersen, president of the national conference. Fully 70 percent of those who sat for the bar in February had already taken the test at least once, and repeat takers on average perform worse than those in their first sitting.

Indeed, the average MBE score for first-time takers in February was 135, compared to 132 for repeat test takers, the national conference reported.

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Comments

I took the February Bar exam back in the day, because I had taken Summer classes and graduated early.

Posted by: MarkInFlorida | Apr 21, 2018 7:31:03 AM

It should be noted that most of the February test takers are those who failed to pass the previous July's bar exam. Are these results a one-off thing, or has this been a trend for awhile?

Posted by: Chris Pastel | Apr 21, 2018 10:48:36 AM