Uniform Bar Exam Passing Scores by State

UBE® Passing Scores by State

Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) passing scores vary state by state. The UBE has been adopted by 41 jurisdictions (states), including the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands—and offers candidates a portable score, meaning that they can seek admission to the bar using their UBE results in any of the participating jurisdictions.

The UBE, coordinated by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), was established to maximize job opportunities. Scores are transferable, so a candidate can seek admission to the bar in more than one jurisdiction if desired. Additionally, a failing score in one jurisdiction can be transferred to a jurisdiction with a lower passing score, allowing candidates to seek employment without waiting for the next UBE administration and incurring the costs of registering and preparing again.

Keep reading for more details about the UBE, and passing scores and additional requirements for each jurisdiction.

What is the UBE?

The UBE is a multi-part exam that tests candidates’ knowledge of legal principles, and assesses their analytical, reasoning, and communication skills. Because it is administered by many states, the material tested exclusively concerns national law principles. Some jurisdictions require candidates to pass an additional jurisdiction-specific law component and/or a character and fitness assessment.

UBE Components

The Uniform Bar Exam consists of three components.

  • Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

    An assessment of lawyering skills. During these two, 90-minute items, candidates are presented with simulated case files and asked to complete an assignment via a mock memo from a supervising attorney.

  • Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)

    Six 30-minute items covering all areas of the law, including Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Real Property, Torts, Trusts and Estates, and Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

  • Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)

    200 multiple-choice questions—only 175 of which are scored—administered over 6 hours. There are seven subject areas covered on the exam: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

The UBE is typically administered over two days. During Tuesday sessions, candidates take the MEE and the MPT. The following day is devoted entirely to the MBE, which is split up into two parts: 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon.

Uniform Bar Exam States and Passing Scores

Each jurisdiction not only sets their UBE passing score, but also determines whether an additional jurisdiction-specific component must be completed before admission to the bar is granted. Below are the passing scores for each jurisdiction and information about whether a jurisdiction-specific component is required. Note that some jurisdictions do not allow concurrent applications, so candidates will have to wait for a decision from that jurisdiction before applying to another. States with two different time limits listed for accepting a UBE score transfer have different caps for candidates who have already been practicing law and those who have not. For example, a candidate who has been practicing law for two years or less can submit UBE scores up to 5 years old to Vermont, but if a candidate has not successfully been admitted to the bar in another state, Vermont will only accept scores that are up to 3 years old.

UBE Jurisdiction Minimum Passing UBE Score Jurisdiction-Specific Component? Time Limit for Accepting a UBE Score Transfer Allows Concurrent Transfer Applications?
Alabama 260 Yes 25 months No
Alaska 280 No 5 years No
Arizona 273 Yes 5 years No
Arkansas 270 No 3 years No
Colorado 276 No 3 years / 5 years No
Connecticut 266 No 5 years Yes
District of Columbia 266 No 5 years No
Idaho 272 No 37 months No
Illinois 266 No 4 years No
Indiana 264 No 5 years Yes
Iowa 266 No 2 years / 5 years No
Kansas 266 No 36 months Yes
Kentucky 266 Yes 5 years Yes
Maine 270 No 3 years Yes
Maryland 266 Yes 3 years Yes
Massachusetts 270 Yes 36 months Yes
Michigan* TBD TBD 3 years TBD
Minnesota 260 No 36 months No
Missouri 260 Yes 3 years Yes
Montana 266 Yes 3 years Yes
Nebraska 270 No 3 years No
New Hampshire 270 No 3 years / 5 years Yes
New Jersey 266 No 36 months No
New Mexico 260 Yes 36 months Yes
New York 266 Yes 3 years Yes
North Carolina 270 Yes 3 years Yes
North Dakota 260 No 2 years No
Ohio 270 Yes 5 years Yes
Oklahoma 264 No 3 years / 5 years Yes
Oregon 270 No 36 months No
Pennsylvania 272 No 30 months No
Rhode Island 270 No 2 years No
South Carolina 266 Yes 3 years No
Tennessee 270 Yes 3 years / 5 years No
Texas 270 Yes 5 years Yes
Utah 270 No 36 months / 5 years Yes
Vermont 270 No 3 years / 5 years Yes
Washington 270 Yes 40 months Yes
West Virginia 270 No 3 years No
Wyoming 270 No 3 years / 5 years No
Virgin Islands 266 Yes 3 years Yes

Note: The minimum passing score in Michigan has not yet been determined. The anticipated date of the first UBE administration is 2/1/2023.

When is the UBE administered?

The UBE is administered twice a year. The first administration is typically in February, and the second is in July. The cost of the exam varies from state to state.

How is the UBE scored?

The UBE is scored on a 400-point scale. The MBE component is scored by the NCBE. State jurisdictions score the MEE and MPT components of the exam. Not all three components equally impact the overall score: the MBE is weighted 50%, the MEE 30%, and the MPT 20%.

How to Study for the UBE

The NCBE provides free study aids on their website for the MEE, MPT, and the MBE, which include previously administered questions, sample questions, and summaries of recent exams.

Many students choose to take a comprehensive bar review course to prep for the UBE. Kaplan has courses to prep students for the UBE in each state, for either test administration. Attend live lectures by streaming online, or heading to a classroom where available. Or, study on demand and watch our recorded lectures at your own pace. 90%* of Kaplan students who complete 75% or more of the assigned practice pass the UBE.

KEEP STUDYING: What’s the Bar Exam like in your state? ]

*Pass rates based on responses to a survey of all first-time takers from accredited ABA law schools who are JD graduates and prepared for the July 2018 Bar examination with Kaplan Bar Review. “Assigned practice” means MBE questions and essays assigned by Kaplan in its Bar Review course.