The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Discussions related to the bar exam are found in this forum
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about bar exam prep. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
believeland

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:49 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby believeland » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:21 pm

Hi Joe,

I put in all the work and I'm curious, so I may as well ask about my scores.

(Mass., July 2019)
UBE: 353
MBE: 175.3
Essays: 177.4

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:59 am

apnh wrote:Hi Joe!

I was hoping to see how I compared as well.

MBE score: 165
Total score: 304
Non-UBE state (Georgia).

Thanks!

Congratulations on passing the J19 GA bar exam. Based on your scaled MBE score of 165, your estimated raw MBE score was about 149/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 85.1% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 93.2% percentile for the MBE. This means that 6.8% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 165 (based on national data for the past 7 years).

Based on a total score of 304, your written score was 139, which would have placed you in the 42.2% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 57.8% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT).

Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 67.7% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 304 (meaning that 32.3% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.

Did you do anything special for the MBE, or did you just follow your review course?

Joe

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:01 pm

ChangeGoinCome wrote:Hi Joe,

DC bar.

Written Component Scaled Score: 154.

MBE Scaled Score: 166

UBE Scaled Score: 321

Your videos were incredible! Thank you for all your help!!!

Congratulations! Based on your scaled MBE score of 166, your estimated raw MBE score was about 151/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 86.3% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 94% percentile for the MBE. This means that 6% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 166 (based on national data for the past 7 years).

Based on a total score of 321, your written score was 154, which would have placed you in the 76.1% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 23.9% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT).

Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 85.1% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 321 (meaning that 15% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.

What was your overall % correct in MBE practice? I'm curious to see if it correlates with your 86% correct on the MBE.

Joe

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:03 pm

Hopeful29clerk wrote:Hi Joe,

Thanks for your contribution to the legal community! Here are my numbers for the NY UBE:

UBE: 313
MBE: 151.4


Congratulations on passing! Based on your scaled MBE score of 151.4, your estimated raw MBE score was about 130/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 74.3% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 70.6% percentile for the MBE. This means that 29.4% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 151.4 (based on national data for the past 7 years). Based on a total score of 313, your written score was 161.6, which would have placed you in the 88.7% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 11.3% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT). Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 79.7% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 313 (meaning that 20.4% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.

Since your written was higher than your MBE, did you put more time into the written component?

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:07 pm

believeland wrote:Hi Joe,

I put in all the work and I'm curious, so I may as well ask about my scores.

(Mass., July 2019)
UBE: 353
MBE: 175.3
Essays: 177.4

Congratulations on passing the J19 MA bar exam. Based on your scaled MBE score of 175.3, your estimated raw MBE score was about 164/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 93.7% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 99.2% percentile for the MBE. This means that 0.8% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 175.3 (based on national data for the past 7 years).

Based on a total score of 353, your written score was 177.4, which would have placed you in the 99.5% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 0.5% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT).

Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 99.4% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 353 (meaning that 0.6% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.

Your written was very high. I would love to see one of your practice essays of you don't mind - any MEE practice essay that you answered relatively close to the exam. if you don''t want to post a wall of text on here, feel free to PM it to me.

sleeplessindc

New
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:12 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby sleeplessindc » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:29 pm

I think this is the most important issue for repeaters (and first-time takers practicing MBE questions) to understand about themselves:

JoeSeperac wrote:However, what I take from this study is that failing examinees generally do not learn from their mistakes.

ChangeGoinCome

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:01 am

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby ChangeGoinCome » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:25 pm

JoeSeperac wrote:
ChangeGoinCome wrote:Hi Joe,

DC bar.

Written Component Scaled Score: 154.

MBE Scaled Score: 166

UBE Scaled Score: 321

Your videos were incredible! Thank you for all your help!!!

Congratulations! Based on your scaled MBE score of 166, your estimated raw MBE score was about 151/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 86.3% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 94% percentile for the MBE. This means that 6% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 166 (based on national data for the past 7 years).

Based on a total score of 321, your written score was 154, which would have placed you in the 76.1% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 23.9% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT).

Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 85.1% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 321 (meaning that 15% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.

What was your overall % correct in MBE practice? I'm curious to see if it correlates with your 86% correct on the MBE.

Joe


Thank you so much Joe! I definitely did not get 85% of my questions right on my practice. On the Barbri 200 Q practice exam, I scored around 145. I also completed over a thousand Abapti bar questions. Early on I was getting around 65% correct, but towards the end of my studies I was at 73%

believeland

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:49 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby believeland » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:11 pm

JoeSeperac wrote:
Your written was very high. I would love to see one of your practice essays of you don't mind - any MEE practice essay that you answered relatively close to the exam. if you don''t want to post a wall of text on here, feel free to PM it to me.


Thanks for all the information, Joe!

Unfortunately, my practice essays were all stored on Themis' website. It appears that I cannot access the course materials any more. Thanks for your compliment and interest, though. (And if anyone knows of a way to access the Themis materials, please let me know and I'll happily fetch a sample for Joe.)

neem518

New
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:45 am

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby neem518 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:56 pm

JoeSeperac wrote:
neem518 wrote:NY UBE - 280
MBE 141.4
MEE - whatever it was, I'm sure I didn't get any credit for my two sentences in answer to the last question on Civ Pro.

Second timer - first time NY Feb '19 UBE 265 MBE 135+, MEE 129+
Foreign JD - 1998
Licensed - 1999

I used the calculator and I should have failed with 240 in July and 250 in February.

Granting the 280 is not stellar, this employed full-time and a single mom will take it any day, but I was wondering how the 40 or 30 points disparity could be accounted for?

Thanks!


Congratulations on passing! The calculator has a lot of weaknesses in regards to predicting the performance of retakers and foreign examinees because there is little data on both. My hope is to collect enough data to overcome this, but it will take quite a while.

Based on your scaled MBE score of 141.4, your estimated raw MBE score was about 116/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 66.3% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 47.5% percentile for the MBE. This means that 52.5% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 141.4 (based on national data for the past 7 years).

FYI, based on your F19 scaled MBE score of 135, your estimated raw MBE score was about 116/175 correct so you basically did exactly the same but benefited from the J19 scale.

Based on a total score of 280, your written score was 138.6, which would have placed you in the 41.3% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 58.7% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT).

Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 44.4% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 280 (meaning that 55.6% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.


Thank you, Joe! I'm just glad I didn't see the calculator before I signed up to take the bar exam :) Wow, amazing that I was the same on the MBE both exam administrations. I studied for the J19 wanting to bump up my MBE, since most of the people I spoke to were of the opinion that it would be easier to improve on the MBE than the MEE which will remain subjective to a certain extent. It appears I benefitted from reading my MEE/MPT and realizing how lack of headings did me in. I actually avoided J18 thinking that it will be harder to pass

apnh

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:59 am

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby apnh » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:38 pm

JoeSeperac wrote:
apnh wrote:Hi Joe!

I was hoping to see how I compared as well.

MBE score: 165
Total score: 304
Non-UBE state (Georgia).

Thanks!

Congratulations on passing the J19 GA bar exam. Based on your scaled MBE score of 165, your estimated raw MBE score was about 149/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 85.1% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 93.2% percentile for the MBE. This means that 6.8% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 165 (based on national data for the past 7 years).

Based on a total score of 304, your written score was 139, which would have placed you in the 42.2% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 57.8% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT).

Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 67.7% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 304 (meaning that 32.3% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.

Did you do anything special for the MBE, or did you just follow your review course?

Joe


Thank you, Joe! I took Barbri but I didn't follow their schedule; I used only Adaptibar/Strategies & Tactics for MBE practice. I'm kind of a foreign examinee (completed all of my education abroad and then moved to the US for law school). Since English is not my first language and I don't have a lot of experience with multiple choice tests, I spent the bulk of my time memorizing and practicing on Adaptibar. I'm glad it worked out!

Medicine

New
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:41 am

The "Ask @JoeSeperac"

Postby Medicine » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:58 am

Joe, please help me. I scored 136 on MBE part of NJ UBE. I did not pass UBE, my score was 258. I am applying for Virginia BAR now. I have option to take the Virginia Essay exam and use/transfer an MBE scaled score of 133 or greater. I am not sure if it a good choice. Please advice.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Anonymous User
Posts: 340462
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:58 pm

Hi Joe,

NY UBE:

UBE: 325
MBE: 164.1

Thank you!

smile22

New
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 9:50 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby smile22 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:40 am

Hi Joe,

Thanks in advance for your analysis.

J19 UBE

UBE: 297
Scaled MBE: 139.4

Thank you!

Anonymous User
Posts: 340462
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:41 pm

Hi Joe,

general question: what conclusions are fair to draw regarding the national bump in MBE scores this year? Does it truly affect the grading curve? If so, how? For example, say you walked out of the exam feeling pretty down about your performance on the MBE--should this bump in scores make you feel a little more comfortable? Or is it the opposite and should we be freaking out even more? Or does it really not matter all that much? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Clueless

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:22 pm

believeland wrote:
JoeSeperac wrote:
Your written was very high. I would love to see one of your practice essays of you don't mind - any MEE practice essay that you answered relatively close to the exam. if you don''t want to post a wall of text on here, feel free to PM it to me.


Thanks for all the information, Joe!

Unfortunately, my practice essays were all stored on Themis' website. It appears that I cannot access the course materials any more. Thanks for your compliment and interest, though. (And if anyone knows of a way to access the Themis materials, please let me know and I'll happily fetch a sample for Joe.)


Thanks anyways. I am always interesting in seeing the writing styles of high scoring examinees.

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:37 pm

ChangeGoinCome wrote:
JoeSeperac wrote:
ChangeGoinCome wrote:Hi Joe,

DC bar.

Written Component Scaled Score: 154.

MBE Scaled Score: 166

UBE Scaled Score: 321

Your videos were incredible! Thank you for all your help!!!

Congratulations! Based on your scaled MBE score of 166, your estimated raw MBE score was about 151/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 86.3% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 94% percentile for the MBE. This means that 6% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 166 (based on national data for the past 7 years).

Based on a total score of 321, your written score was 154, which would have placed you in the 76.1% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 23.9% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT).

Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 85.1% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 321 (meaning that 15% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.

What was your overall % correct in MBE practice? I'm curious to see if it correlates with your 86% correct on the MBE.

Joe


Thank you so much Joe! I definitely did not get 85% of my questions right on my practice. On the Barbri 200 Q practice exam, I scored around 145. I also completed over a thousand Abapti bar questions. Early on I was getting around 65% correct, but towards the end of my studies I was at 73%


Thanks. Based on your practice scores, I would have predicted an MBE score of 153-163 so you slightly outperformed on the MBE.

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac"

Postby JoeSeperac » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:01 pm

Medicine wrote:Joe, please help me. I scored 136 on MBE part of NJ UBE. I did not pass UBE, my score was 258. I am applying for Virginia BAR now. I have option to take the Virginia Essay exam and use/transfer an MBE scaled score of 133 or greater. I am not sure if it a good choice. Please advice.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH


Does VA transfer the 136 as a 133 or a 136? I presume they transfer it as a 133.

In a 2005 study, NCBE analyzed the performance of 4,500 examinees who scored less than a scaled 140 on a July MBE and then re-took the MBE in February. Based on your MBE scaled score of 136, the average MBE score increase was 5 points, meaning an estimated scaled score of 141 on the February 2020 MBE (estimated 67% correct based on the February 2013 NY MBE scale). Keep in mind that this estimate is based on the average score change after an initial MBE score of 136. In contrast, the largest MBE score increase was 30 points (meaning a maximum estimated scaled score of 166) while the largest decrease among the 4,500 re-takers was 43 points (meaning a mimimum estimated MBE scaled score of 93).

Assuming you score the average MBE increase, you can expect to score a 141 in F20 if you were to sit for the whole exam assuming you study for the MBE about the same. How much time did the MBE represent in your J19 studies (e.g. 70%). Given all that MBE time could be devoted to the VA written, I would likely choose the written only as you should be able to pick up the 11 point difference with all the extra study for the written.

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi Joe,

NY UBE:

UBE: 325
MBE: 164.1

Thank you!


Based on your scaled MBE score of 164.1, your estimated raw MBE score was about 148/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 84.6% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 92% percentile for the MBE. This means that 8% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 164.1 (based on national data for the past 7 years). Based on a total score of 325, your written score was 160.9, which would have placed you in the 87.8% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 12.2% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT). Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 89.9% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 325 (meaning that 10.1% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect. Solid scores!

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:16 am

smile22 wrote:Hi Joe,

Thanks in advance for your analysis.

J19 UBE

UBE: 297
Scaled MBE: 139.4

Thank you!


Based on your scaled MBE score of 139.4, your estimated raw MBE score was about 113/175 correct (based on the last time an MBE scale was released in 2013). This means you answered about 64.6% of the graded MBE questions correctly. This places you in the 43% percentile for the MBE. This means that 57% of Jul examinees nationwide did better than you on the MBE based on your scaled MBE score of 139.4 (based on national data for the past 7 years). Based on a total score of 297, your written score was 157.6, which would have placed you in the 82.6% percentile among examinees nationwide (meaning that 17.4% of examinees nationwide would have scored better than you on the MEE/MPT). Although NCBE does not release percentiles for total UBE scores, based on the MBE and written percentiles, this would place you in the 62.8% percentile among examinees nationwide based on your total score of 297 (meaning that 37.2% of examinees nationwide scored better than you on the UBE). Please keep in mind this is just an estimate and may be incorrect.

Would you say you were at 60-65% correct in overall MBE practice?

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi Joe,

general question: what conclusions are fair to draw regarding the national bump in MBE scores this year? Does it truly affect the grading curve? If so, how? For example, say you walked out of the exam feeling pretty down about your performance on the MBE--should this bump in scores make you feel a little more comfortable? Or is it the opposite and should we be freaking out even more? Or does it really not matter all that much? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Clueless


With a higher MBE mean, national pass rates should go up. If I had to guess, I would expect it to be around 64%, which is 4% higher than the J18 national pass rate of 60% based on a mean of 139.5. You can see how pass rates track the MBE mean below. Please keep in mind this doesn't guarantee the pass rates in your state will go up as I have seen pass rates in some states go down even with a higher MBE mean, but overall, the pass rates should rise. So yes, a higher MBE mean should make you feel a little more comfortable (a high tide generally raises all boats).

Image

Billy Batts

Silver
Posts: 696
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:43 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby Billy Batts » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:06 pm

Hi Joe,

I was wondering if you have any thoughts on why the first-time pass rate for the attorney exam (essays only) in California is almost always higher in February than July, whereas the reverse seems to be true for other classes of examinees. I calculated the first-time pass rates on the attorney exam between February 2007 and February 2019, and the average pass rate is roughly 10% higher in February than July. Thanks!

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:53 am

chrisokc wrote:Hi Joe,

I was wondering if you have any thoughts on why the first-time pass rate for the attorney exam (essays only) in California is almost always higher in February than July, whereas the reverse seems to be true for other classes of examinees. I calculated the first-time pass rates on the attorney exam between February 2007 and February 2019, and the average pass rate is roughly 10% higher in February than July. Thanks!


In general (not sure about CA), each essay is graded using a score distribution that has a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10, so no one essay is harder than another. The only thing that matters for each essay is how well that examinee did as compared to the other examinees who answered that essay. For example, Question #3 on the July 2010 NY exam was a Corporations essay that was rather difficult. Based on the essays I received from 50+ examinees, the average answer length for this essay was 542 words with the shortest passing answer to Essay #3 being 347 words long. This is extremely short as compared to a typical essay answer or to the other answers from that exam. However, the bar examiners determined the order of the examinees based on the quality of their answers and ranked accordingly, which is how a 347 word essay can become a "passing" essay for one question, but not for another.

Next, NCBE tells essay graders to put essays into “buckets” so there is an equal number of 1 essays, 2 essays, 3 essays, etc. This is to create an even distribution of scores (I wont get into whether this is fair or not).

Then there is scaling to take into account. In regards to Feb vs July, an examinee that writes an essay that is better than 50% of July examinees will receive a higher scaled score on that essay as compared to an examinee that writes an essay that is better than 50% of February examinees. This is because the July examinee is in a stronger pool of candidates. If the essays weren't scaled to the MBE, the February essay scores candidates would benefit from being in the weaker pool. According to NCBE, "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: Volume 74, No. 2, May 2005.

What I think is happening is that the examinees taking the Attorney Exam are strong essay writers competing against a weaker pool of essay writers in February. Thus, their essays are ranked much higher and put into better buckets in February. In July, the Attorney examinees are competing with writers who are equally as strong, so they don't get as many favorable bucket drops. Thus, although July scaling is generally more beneficial than February scaling, this is outweighed by the better ranking and bucket drops.

FYI, I took some old data I had from the 1990s and noticed the same pattern exists (Feb pass rate of 59% versus July pass rate of 51%).

Image

Billy Batts

Silver
Posts: 696
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:43 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby Billy Batts » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:46 am

Thanks for the good info. So, it appears that for February examinees, competing against less knowledgeable examinees more than offsets the less favorable scaling that occurs in February. In other words, even though the scaling is less favorable in February, good essay writers generally do better in February than July because they are competing against a weaker pool of essay writers. Does that sound right?

JoeSeperac

Moderator
Posts: 421
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby JoeSeperac » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:09 am

chrisokc wrote:Thanks for the good info. So, it appears that for February examinees, competing against less knowledgeable examinees more than offsets the less favorable scaling that occurs in February. In other words, even though the scaling is less favorable in February, good essay writers generally do better in February than July because they are competing against a weaker pool of essay writers. Does that sound right?

Yes, that is my best guess. Another possible factor is that examinees who fail in July and re-take in February usually fail because of a low MBE, so they may focus more on the MBE in February at the expense of the essays. In contrast, July examinees follow their review course which takes a more balanced approach. I haven't checked CA stats, but in NY, 65% of Feb examinees are repeaters versus only 20% in July.

Anonymous User
Posts: 340462
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: The "Ask @JoeSeperac" Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:12 pm

Hey Joe,

Curious what feedback you have here - been reading this post for a long time, feels good to post finally!

Texas Bar Exam - July, 2019
Final Score: 707
(Minimum passing Final Score: 675)
MBE Scaled Score: 140.7


Thanks!



Return to “Bar Exam Prep and Discussion Forum?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.