Law school graduates who took the February bar exam in Maryland still have about a month to go until their results are released, but according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the average score earned nationwide on the multiple choice portion of the test has reached its lowest point in 33 years.
The national mean scaled score on the February Multistate Bar Exam, or MBE — a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice test — fell to 135, down from 136.2 last year, according to the NCBE.
“We believe we’re in the middle of a downward trend that is likely to continue for at least a couple more years,” Erica Moeser, president of the NCBE, told the ABA Journal.
The mean scaled score on the multiple choice section of the July exam also fell last year, from 141.5 in 2014 to 139.9, its lowest point since 1988. July mean scores tend to be higher than those in February because more first-time bar exam takers sit for the exam in the summer.
When the portion of those who passed the Maryland bar exam last July fell to 63 percent in the fall, deans of both the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and the University of Baltimore School of Law said a more difficult MBE was partly to blame.
The state Board of Law Examiners plans to release results for those who took this year’s February exam on May 6.