NCBE Media Kit
The National Conference of Bar Examiners, founded in 1931, is a not-for-profit corporation that develops licensing tests for bar admission and provides character and fitness investigation services. NCBE also provides testing, research, and educational services to jurisdictions; provides services to bar applicants on behalf of jurisdictions; and acts as a national clearinghouse for information about the bar examination and bar admissions.
For a timeline highlighting key milestones in NCBE’s testing program, see NCBE Testing Milestones.
Our Products and Services
- MBE—The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice examination developed by NCBE and administered by user jurisdictions as part of the bar examination on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in July of each year.
- MEE—The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) is developed by NCBE and consists of six 30-minute questions. It is administered by user jurisdictions as part of the bar examination on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year.
- MPT—The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is developed by NCBE and consists of two 90-minute items. It is administered by user jurisdictions as part of the bar examination on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year. User jurisdictions may select one or both MPT items to include as part of their bar examinations.
- UBE—The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is coordinated by NCBE and is composed of the MEE, two MPT tasks, and the MBE. It is uniformly administered, graded, and scored and results in a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions. The UBE is administered over two days, with the MBE given on the last Wednesday of February and July and the MEE and MPT given on the Tuesday prior to that. Jurisdictions that use the UBE may also require applicants to complete a jurisdiction-specific law component.
- MPRE—The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), developed by NCBE, is a two-hour, 60-question multiple-choice examination that is administered three times per year.
Our relationship to the jurisdictions
- We develop and produce the licensing and professional responsibility tests used by most US jurisdictions for admission to the bar.
- We help jurisdiction bar admissions processes run well from start to finish by providing support and training to jurisdiction administrators and graders, providing scoring and research services after each exam and on an as-needed basis, and conducting character and fitness investigations on behalf of jurisdictions.
Our collaboration with the bar admissions community
- We sponsor a wide range of educational events for jurisdiction bar examiners, bar admission administrators, and states’ highest courts.
- We conduct ongoing research relevant to bar admissions testing, as well as provide support for graduate student research in this area.
- Our quarterly publication, the Bar Examiner, provides comprehensive, authoritative information about topics of interest to the bar admissions community.
Our support for applicants
- We help streamline the process of applying for bar admission by providing score services and other admission-related services to applicants on behalf of jurisdictions and providing NCBE Accounts that offer applicants a one-stop secure web portal.
- We offer study aids, including our BarNow® online study aids, with authentic bar exam and MPRE practice questions.
- Our website, www.ncbex.org, is a comprehensive resource for bar admission requirements in all US jurisdictions and for information about our tests, character and fitness investigation services, score services, and study aids.
Our commitment to the legal education community
- We sponsor educational events for legal educators and publish news and information of interest to the legal education community.
- We work with organizations that support students preparing for law school and the bar, advancing our shared goals and building foundations for the future of the legal profession.
NCBE’s Testing Task Force
The National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Testing Task Force, appointed by NCBE in January 2018, was charged with undertaking a three-year study to ensure that the bar examination continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent entry-level legal practice in a changing profession. The Testing Task Force’s study was completed at the end of 2020, and the Task Force’s recommendations were approved by the NCBE Board of Trustees in January 2021. NCBE is in the process of implementing the Testing Task Force’s recommendations for the next generation of the bar exam, which will measure both knowledge and skills holistically through a mix of item formats. It will take four to five years to develop and implement. To learn more, visit www.nextgenbarexam.ncbex.org.
NCBE Research/Psychometric Staff
- All NCBE research/psychometric staff have scientific backgrounds. Most staff currently in the department, and all staff working directly on the operational equating of NCBE’s exams, have PhDs in psychometrics. Most staff without PhDs specifically in psychometrics have advanced degrees in closely related fields.
- Some staff members worked at the National Board of Medical Examiners before joining NCBE, and others were previously on the faculty at R1 universities (major research universities).
- Collectively, current staff have well over 160 years of directly relevant professional experience, have published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed professional journals, and have made hundreds of presentations at peer-reviewed professional meetings.
- Staff have been nationally recognized for their technical expertise by invitations to serve as reviewers for dozens of professional journals, members of the editorial boards for professional journals, and members of dozens of grant review/technical advisory panels for the National Institutes for Health and other agencies, as well as by numerous awards and invitations to present at professional meetings.
NCBE Research, Articles, and White Papers
Testing Task Force reports
- Phase 1 report
- Phase 2 report
- Phase 3 report
- Overview of Recommendations
- Final Report of the Testing Task Force
Select articles by NCBE research/psychometric staff
- Mark R. Raymond & Zhehan Jiang (2020). Indices of Subscore Utility for Individuals and Subgroups Based on Multivariate Generalizability Theory. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 80, 67-90. (Published online May 2019)
- Mark R. Raymond & Joseph P. Grande (2019). A Practical Guide to Test Blueprinting. Medical Teacher, 41, 854-861.
- Mark R. Raymond, Craig Stevens, & S. Deniz Bucak (2019). The Optimal Number of Options for Multiple-Choice Questions on High-Stakes Tests: Application of a Revised Index for Detecting Nonfunctional Distractors. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 24, 141-150.
- Mark A. Albanese & Georgia L. Hinman, Types and Design of Assessment in PBL. In Wiley Handbook of Problem-Based Learning (Wiley, 2019).
- Mark Albanese & Susan M. Case (2016). Progress Testing: Critical Analysis and Suggested Practices. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 21, 221-234.
Select NCBE white papers
- Bar Admissions During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evaluating Options for the Class of 2020 (April 2020)
- Response by NCBE to the NYSBA Task Force Report (July 2020)
Studies addressing purported racial bias on the bar exam
- National Conference of Bar Examiners Research Department (August 20, 2019). Impact of Adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination in New York.
- Stephen P. Klein, PhD, & Roger Bolus, PhD. (November 1997). The Size and Source of Differences in Bar Exam Passing Rates Among Racial and Ethnic Groups. The Bar Examiner, 66(2), 8–16.
- Michael T. Kane, PhD, Andrew A. Mroch, PhD, Douglas R. Ripkey, & Susan M. Case, PhD. (November 2007). Pass Rates and Persistence on the New York Bar Examination: Including Breakdowns for Racial/Ethnic Groups. The Bar Examiner, 76(4), 6–17.
- Douglas R. Ripkey & Susan M. Case, PhD. (August 2007). A National Look at MBE Performance Differences Among Ethnic Groups. The Bar Examiner, 76(3), 21–28.
Press Releases and Latest News
- NCBE to Offer International MPRE Testing Opportunities in August 2021 (April 27, 2021)
- National Mean of 134.0 for February 2021 MBE (April 13, 2021)
- NCBE Makes New Study Aids Available on BarNow; Extends Discount on Everything Pack (March 1, 2021)
- NCBE Announces Remote Option for July 2021 Bar Exam (February 2, 2021)
- NCBE Board of Trustees Votes to Approve Testing Task Force Recommendations (January 28, 2021)
- October 2020 MPRE Mean Score Increases (January 7, 2021)
- Testing Task Force Releases Preliminary Recommendations (January 4, 2021)
- National Mean of 137.2 for October In-Person MBE (November 6, 2020)
- Survey of Remote Test Takers Continues Through November 11 (October 30, 2020)
- NCBE Announces Initial Plans for Remote Option for February 2021 Bar Exam (October 19, 2020)
- National Mean of 142.7 for September MBE (October 12, 2020)
- 2020 Bar Exam Process Comes to an End: Approximately 38,000 Applicants Took Bar Exam in July, September, or October (October 7, 2020)
- National Survey Finds Support for Bar Exam (September 30, 2020)
- August 2020 MPRE Mean Score Increases (September 18, 2020)
- July 2020 MBE Mean Score Increases (September 1, 2020)
- Hulett H. Askew Elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (August 7, 2020)
- NCBE and CLEO Extend Partnership to Better Diversify the Legal Profession (July 16, 2020)
- Important Update for August MPRE Candidates (July 10, 2020)
- NCBE to Provide Additional Support for Jurisdictions During COVID-19 Crisis (June 1, 2020)
Visit https://www.ncbex.org/news/ for a complete list of news items.
- The Bar Examiner—NCBE’s quarterly magazine, a one-stop resource for news and in-depth articles relating to all aspects of the bar admissions process.
- Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements—annually updated information on bar admission requirements in all US jurisdictions, including a directory of state bar admission agencies (published in collaboration with the American Bar Association).
- Annual bar exam and admissions statistics—NCBE collects statistics from all US jurisdictions on the February and July administrations of the bar examination and on annual admissions. These statistics, along with national score distributions, examinee counts, and mean scaled scores for the MBE and the MPRE, and scores earned and transferred by jurisdiction for the UBE, are published annually in the Spring issue of the Bar Examiner.
- NCBE Year in Review—NCBE’s annual Year in Review publication highlights the work of NCBE’s volunteers and staff in fulfilling its mission. It provides information about the many services NCBE provides to jurisdictions, the support it provides for applicants and for the bar admissions community, and the many educational events it produces and hosts. The Year in Review provides a data-filled snapshot into the work NCBE undertakes in its commitment to serving the bar admissions community.
- Bar Exam Fundamentals for Legal Educators—NCBE’s newest publication addresses questions drawn from conversations NCBE has had with legal educators across the country about how the bar exam is developed, administered, and scored.
What is the relationship between NCBE and the states (jurisdictions)?
NCBE develops and produces the licensing and professional responsibility tests used by most US jurisdictions for admission to the bar. We help jurisdiction bar admissions processes run well from start to finish by providing support and training to jurisdiction administrators and graders, providing scoring and research services after each exam and on an as-needed basis, and conducting character and fitness investigations on behalf of jurisdictions.
How does NCBE interact with the state (jurisdiction) bar administrators?
NCBE sponsors a wide range of educational events for jurisdiction bar examiners, bar admission administrators, and states’ highest courts, and we conduct ongoing research relevant to bar admissions testing, as well as providing support for graduate student research in this area. Our quarterly publication, the Bar Examiner, provides comprehensive, authoritative information about topics of interest to the bar admissions community.
How does NCBE interact with bar exam applicants?
NCBE helps streamline the process of applying for bar admission by providing score services and other admission-related services to applicants on behalf of jurisdictions and providing NCBE Accounts that offer applicants a one-stop secure web portal. We offer study aids with authentic bar exam and MPRE practice questions. Our website, www.ncbex.org, is a comprehensive resource for bar admission requirements in all US jurisdictions and for information about our tests, character and fitness investigation services, score services, and study aids.
What does NCBE do to help advance the legal education community?
We sponsor educational events for legal educators and publish news and information of interest to the legal education community. We work with organizations that support students preparing for law school and the bar, advancing our shared goals and building foundations for the future of the legal profession.