Beginning in February 2019, North Carolina will join the ranks of jurisdictions administering the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). Thirty-one jurisdictions now administer the UBE—twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia and Virgin Islands. Late last year, the Board of Law Examiners of the State of North Carolina announced their state’s switchover. The Board explained that new rules will “provide for the adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination in North Carolina, and apply to all applications for admission filed in North Carolina on or after June 30, 2018.” If you are planning to take the North Carolina bar exam down the road or find yourself in another UBE jurisdiction, hopefully the information below can answer some questions and get you started in preparing for your bar exam!
What is the UBE?
The UBE is administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). It is made up of the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). For more on the UBE, check out the Bar Exam Toolbox’s collection of posts on preparing for the UBE.
How does Scoring Work?
The MBE accounts for 50%, the MEE accounts for 30%, and the MPT accounts for 20% of your overall score. The NCBE grades the MBE (the multiple-choice component), but the jurisdictions themselves grade the MEE and MPT (essay-style components). Minimum passing scores are also set by the administering jurisdiction. Minimum passing scores range from 260 to 280 out of 400. North Carolina’s minimum passing score will be 270. You can check any jurisdiction’s minimum passing score at the NCBE’s Minimum Scores page.
Does UBE Adoption Mean no Jurisdiction-Specific Components to Admission in UBE Jurisdictions?
The UBE is a uniform exam, meaning that it is the same in all jurisdictions, but certain jurisdictions still have local components in their bar admissions process. Check the NCBE jurisdictional profiles to determine if your jurisdiction has a jurisdiction-specific law component.
Is Adoption of the UBE Good or Bad News for Applicants?
Bar exams are challenging in whatever format they come. Being informed about your jurisdiction’s bar exam is the most important thing. There are some reasons the UBE can be a good thing—read Ben Nelson’s post Three Reasons You Should Support the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). As the post mentions, preparing for the UBE opens up your bar prep options beyond the limits of your jurisdiction. For example, check out Bar Exam Toolbox’s MEE and MPT courses and tools.
Why are States Adopting the UBE?
As stories continue to flood out about low bar exam passage rates nationwide, jurisdictions across the country are taking a hard look at their bar exams to ensure they are tough but fair. Many are turning to the UBE as a standard. Additionally, when states are seeking to attract law students, a more transferable bar exam is an asset. Other states are considering the switchover to the UBE as well. Recently the Task Force on the Texas Bar Examination presented a formal recommendation to the Texas Supreme Court that Texas adopt the UBE as well. The Texas recommendation summarizes the benefits of the UBE as follows:
Adoption of the UBE would not only be more efficient, it would also be of great benefit to Texas law graduates who wish to practice law elsewhere in addition to (or instead of) Texas. It would also better serve Texas residents who are in need of legal services, and who would therefore benefit from an easier path to practice in Texas for lawyers trained elsewhere.
How to Prepare?
There is no one way to successfully prepare for the UBE. For expert advice on tackling the UBE, visit Bar Exam Toolbox’s extensive collection of UBE resources. If you are thinking about passing on the expensive, one-size-fits-all commercial bar review courses, consider Bar Exam Toolbox’s UBE Self-Study Program. This comprehensive program will guide you through preparation for each component of the UBE while letting you remain in control of your preparation.
Whether you are sitting for the bar exam in North Carolina or anywhere else, start your bar preparations by investigating your jurisdiction’s specific bar exam information. Even jurisdictions that adopt the uniform exam have plenty of non-uniform aspects of their testing and bar admissions processes. Once you are informed about your jurisdiction’s exam, only then can you most effectively prepare to pass that exam. Best of luck with your bar exam preparations!