Implementation Timeline

Implementing the NextGen Bar Exam, 2022–2028

Building a competent, ethical, and diverse legal profession.

NCBE is developing the next generation of the bar exam, guided by the results of a comprehensive, empirical three-year study and consistent with testing industry professional standards. Implementation will be conducted in a collaborative manner, informed by input from and participation by stakeholders. This timeline provides a high-level overview of the process that will bring the new exam from concept to reality. The earliest stages of the implementation process, in 2021 and 2022, were focused on publishing and gathering feedback on the preliminary Content Scope Outlines and developing and evaluating prototypes of new item types and item sets.

Timeline Legend

Time FrameDescription
Q3 2022 – Q2 2023Conduct pilot testing of draft items and item types
Q2 2023Publish Content Scope Outlines
Q2 2023 – Q1 2026Upon request, assist jurisdictions with rule, statute, and policy changes
Q3 2023 – Q4 2026Publish sample items and study aid materials
Q1 2024 – Q4 2025Conduct field testing of operational items
Q3 2024Family law added to Content Scope Outlines (first administration July 2028)
Q4 2024Administer prototype exam
Q2 2025Perform national standard-setting
Q3 2025Provide standard-setting recommendations, concordance table to assist jurisdictions in setting passing scores
Q3 2026First administration of new exam
Q1 2028Final administration of MBE, MEE, and MPT
Q3 2028Family law tested as part of foundational concepts and principles

Glossary of Terms

Concordance Table. A table used to show corresponding scores between differing exam scales.

Field Testing. A large-scale administration of finalized new items under realistic conditions to a large and representative sample of students or recently licensed lawyers for the purpose of determining the operational feasibility of the items and format and to obtain estimates of item performance statistics.

Item Set. A collection of test questions (items) based on a single scenario or stimulus such that the items pertaining to that scenario are developed and presented as a unit. Item sets can be developed so that all items within a set are of the same format or of different formats.

Pilot Testing. A small-scale administration of early drafts of new item formats under semi-realistic conditions to small groups of law students and/or recently licensed practicing lawyers.

Prototype Exam. A large-scale administration of a full-length exam to a large and representative sample of students or recently licensed lawyers for the purpose of generating performance data to support the standard-setting process for jurisdictions.