New York Bar Exam Score Calculator

NOTE: If you are looking for a calculator for the Feb 2017 UBE exam, you are better off using the July 2016 UBE Calculator since as it will give a better estimate (although the scaling will be different). I will make a February UBE score calculator after F17 scores are released.

The following calculator will calculate the total score for the February 2016 New York bar exam administration based on the scale scores you enter.

Click here to read more about how the scale scores are calculated

A total score of 665 is required to pass the New York bar exam. Please note the calculator only provides an estimate of your final score. The accuracy of the calculator diminishes with very high or very low scores. The calculated NYMC Scale Score is also an estimate.

According to the New York State Board of Law Examiners, the answers to the five essay questions and the MPT are each graded in accordance with a predetermined marking formula, and the grades attained by the applicant on the respective questions are the raw essay scores. The total number of questions answered correctly by an applicant on the 50 New York multiple choice questions is the raw score for that portion, and the number of questions answered correctly on the MBE questions is the applicant's raw score for the MBE portion. Through psychometrically approved scaling procedures based on the MBE scale, the raw scores on each portion of the examination are converted to scaled scores on a common scale of 0 to 1000, and the three scaled scores are then weighted and combined to yield total weighted scaled scores on the same 0 to 1000 scale.

The February exam itself is not more difficult, but the examinees generally score lower, particularly on the MBE. These lower MBE scores negatively affect the scale that is applied to arrive at a final score. Scaling is done to increase the reliability of the exam. Your individual score on a particular exam doesn't affect your final score - if you had the 50th best MBE score and 90th best Essay score before scaling, you will still have the 50th best MBE score and 90th best Essay score after scaling. However, to account for the lower reliability of the non-MBE components of the exam, these components are scaled to the mean MBE for that administration. For example, nationally, the average MBE scaled score on July exams (from 1974-2012) was 142.1 while the average MBE on February exams (from 1974-2012) was 136.7. For scaling, the lower the mean MBE, the lower the scale. To cite an example, although NY MBE mean scores are no longer available, the July 2009 mean MBE score in New York was approximately 143.7. If you had an average scaled score of 50 on the Essays/MPT on the July 2009 exam, your Essays/MPT Common Scaled Score would have been 708.5. The February 2009 mean MBE score in New York was approximately 128.7. If you had an average scaled score of 50 on the Essays/MPT on the February 2009 exam, your Essays/MPT Common Scaled Score would have been 650.4. This is a difference of 58.1 points. Since the Essays/MPT are 50% of your final score, this results in a 29 point difference in final score. This is why the February pass rates are lower. Put simply, the essays/MPT scores are scaled to the MBE because an examinee that scores a 50 in July is more knowledgeable than an examinee who scores a 50 in February (as demonstrated by the higher MBE average in July versus February) and deserves a higher essay grade. According to NCBE, "[s]caling the essays to the MBE is an essential step in ensuring that scores have a consistent meaning over time. When essay scores are not scaled to the MBE, they tend to remain about the same: for example, it is common for the average raw July essay score to be similar to the average February score even if the July examinees are known to be more knowledgeable on average than the February examinees. Using raw essay scores rather than scaled essay scores tends to provide an unintended advantage to some examinees and an unintended disadvantage to others." The Bar Examiner May 2005. (emphasis added)

You can see this effect in the New York pass rates between July and February. The NY BOLE 2005-2012 Pass Rate Chart is here:

The pass rate of all First-Time examinees (both Domestic-Educated and Foreign-Educated) between 2005-2012 was approximately 79% in July and approximately 62% in February. More telling, the pass rate of First-Time examinees who are graduates of New York ABA Schools between 2005-2012 was approximately 86% in July and approximately 70% in February. These graduates of New York ABA Schools should possess a similar level of proficiency - accordingly you would expect consistent pass rates among these first time candidates between the July and February exams. However, between 2005-2012, there was a 16% difference in pass rates between July and February for First-Time examinees who are graduates of New York ABA Schools. In 2012, this margin was 23% (85% pass rate for First Time New York ABA graduates in July 2012 versus 62% pass rate for First Time New York ABA graduates in February 2012). Put simply, a high tide lifts all boats - the higher the MBE mean, the higher the scale.  

Since the essays are scaled based on the MBE scale, the lower your Essays/MPT written average score, the higher the scale. This scale factor is reported in the last row of the calculator in the Common Scale Score column. The weighted scores for the individual essays and MPT are in italics because these weighted scores are approximations based on the scale used to calculate the Written Average weighted score. If you were to add up these individual weighted score estimates for the essays/MPT, the total would be close to the Written Average Weighted Score, but not exact.

There is a graphical breakdown of your score to help you identify your weak areas (In the exam, the Essays are 40%, MPT 10%, NYMC 10%, and the MBE is 40%). In addition, the default scores on the calculator are based on the average scores of all the grading sheets submitted to me for this administration. Since you only receive a grading sheet if you fail, these averages represent the score averages for those who failed the exam and submitted their grading sheet information to me.

The Estimated Score on Previous Administrations section reports the final score you would have received on prior administrations along with the scale factor for each administration.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO EXAMINEES: Effective February 2014, the Score Reports no longer contain any MBE sub-score information (e.g. a breakdown of your scores in Con Law, Contracts, Evidence, etc). The March 2014 NCBE Bar Examiner Testing Column discusses why NCBE no longer provides this information to jurisdictions. According to NCBE, the reasons for the change were to conform to standard test practice and to reduce confusion. Unfortunately, the less information the bar examiners provide, the less transparent their procedures, and the harder it is to formulate study strategies to pass the exam.

Note to re-takers: With more grading sheet information, I can continue to increase the precision of these calculators while also reporting the scoring averages and other information. It would be greatly appreciated if you could email me your past grading sheets or their contents so that I can improve the calculators. Alternatively, you can submit your previous bar exam scores to me electronically by completing the following online form. All information submitted will be treated confidentially. For more information on the free score analysis report or essay analysis report, click here.

  Feb 2016 New York Bar Exam  
  ESSAY 1       0.08    
  ESSAY 2       0.08    
  ESSAY 3       0.08    
  ESSAY 4       0.08    
  ESSAY 5       0.08    
  MPT       0.1    
  WRITTEN AVG          
  NYMC       0.1    
  MBE       0.4    
  FINAL SCORE              
  Estimated Score on Previous Administrations  
  Exam   Scale %   Final Score   Points Needed   Percent Increase  


Based on reports from others, below are the topics on the Feb 2016 NY bar exam essays. These topics will be updated if necessary when the exam is released.

Exam Q # Subjects
Feb 2016 1 Domestic Relations/Property
Feb 2016 2 Criminal Law
Feb 2016 3 Corporations/Contracts
Feb 2016 4 Conflicts/NY Practice
Feb 2016 5 Wills/Trusts
Feb 2016 MPT Memorandum


According to the New York State Board of Law Examiners, the essay and MPT answers of each applicant who receives an initial total weighted scaled score of 655 through 664 are re-read and re-graded by graders other than the initial graders. The two scaled scores for each essay answer are averaged to determine a final scaled score for each essay. The examination scores are then recomputed to determine each applicant's final scaled score. There is no appeal from this final score. There is no passing or failing on any one portion of the examination. Thus, a poor performance on one section of the examination may be offset by a superior performance on another section. Passing or failing is determined only on the basis of the applicant's total weighted scaled score.

If you have any additional questions or comments, please email me at

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