(a) Authority. Pursuant to section (c) of Rule 19-206, the State Board of Law Examiners adopts the Multistate Bar Examination and the Multistate Performance Test as part of the Maryland Bar Examination. Pursuant to section (d) of Rule 19-206, the Board establishes the policies and standards set forth in the following sections of this Board Rule to govern the format, scoring, and passing standard for the Maryland Bar Examination.

(b) Multistate Bar Examination (MBE).

(1) One part of the Maryland Bar Examination is the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). The MBE is published and scored by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and its agents.

(2) The MBE is a multiple choice test. An applicant's MBE raw score is the number of questions answered correctly. MBE raw scores are scaled to adjust for possible differences in average question difficulty across administrations of the examination. As a result of scaling, a given MBE scale score indicates about the same level of performance regardless of the particular administration of the examination on which it is earned.

(c) Written Test: Board's Essay Test and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

(1) The other part of the Maryland General Bar Examination is the Written Test, which comprises the Board's Essay Test and one MPT question. The Board shall prepare and grade the Board's Essay test. The MPT is published by the NCBE and graded by the Board.

(2) The Board's Essay test shall consist entirely of questions requiring essay answers. Questions shall not be labeled by subject matter. Single questions may involve two or more subject matters from the list in Board Rule 4.

(3) The format and specifications for the MPT are determined by the NCBE.

(4) The raw score for the Written Test shall be calculated as follows:

Written Test raw score = Sum of Board's Essay test raw scores + (MPT raw score x 1.5)

(5) The Written Test raw score shall be converted to the same scale of measurement as that used on the MBE to adjust for possible differences in average question difficulty across administrations of the examination.

(d) Combining MBE and Written Test Scores to Calculate Total Examination Score.

(1) For purposes of calculating an applicant's total scale score, both the MBE and Written scale scores shall be rounded to the nearest whole number.

(2) The Written Test shall be weighted twice as heavily as the MBE in the computation of the total scale score. The following formula shall be used to compute an applicant's total scale score on the Maryland Bar Examination:

Total Test Scale Score = (Written Scale Score x 2) + MBE Scale Score

(e) Passing Standard. In order to pass the Maryland Bar Examination, an applicant shall achieve a total scale score, as defined in subsection (d)(2), of 406 or higher.

(f) No Carryover of MBE Score or Written Score from Prior Examinations. For purposes of the Board's calculation of the total scale score and determination of the applicant's pass/fail status, an applicant shall achieve both the MBE and Written Test scale scores on the same administration of the Bar Examination.

(g) Recognition of MBE Score Achieved Concurrently in Another State. The Board shall accept an MBE score which an applicant achieves in another state in an administration of the MBE which is concurrent with Maryland's administration of the Written Test to the applicant. For purposes of the Board's calculation of the total scale score and determination of the applicant's pass/fail status, the concurrent MBE score shall be treated exactly as though it were achieved in Maryland.

(h) Adjustment of Passing Standard. For any particular administration of the Maryland General Bar examination, the Board may, in the interest of fairness, lower (but not raise) the passing score standard at any time before notices of the examination results are transmitted.

When the Maryland Board of Law Examiners, DC Bar Committee on Admissions, or any character committee questions your character and fitness for bar admission, bar applicants should retain an attorney to assist in disclosing information relevant to character and fitness, to guide them through the bar admissions process, and to represent applicants in character committee hearings and in hearings before the Court of Appeals to determine whether they are fit to practice law. Character and fitness concerns may arise in connection with prior criminal convictions, academic dishonesty and honor code violations, addictions, drunk driving, neglected debts, and a failure to disclose material information on law school applications or on bar applications. If you have a history of misconduct, traffic citations, crimes, arrests and other facts to disclose in response to the character portion of the Maryland Bar Application or the DC Bar's NCBE application, you should strongly consider retaining bar admissions counsel if you want to avoid denial of a law license and get a license to practice law. This is even true for applicants for admission to law schools as these applications ask similar questions about character. A failure to disclose facts material to your admission could result in a denial of bar admission.


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