NCBE COVID-19 FAQs

Last updated September 16, 2020, 9:00 am (CDT)

Questions about the October 2020 Emergency Remote Testing Option

These questions pertain to the limited set of MBE, MEE, and MPT questions that NCBE will provide to jurisdictions for an emergency remote testing option for local admission should administering the in-person bar exam not be possible during the COVID-19 crisis.

Registration

Who is eligible to take the remote test?

Only candidates who are registered to take the bar exam in a jurisdiction that must use the remote testing option are eligible to take the remote test. Each jurisdiction administering the remote test will determine its own eligibility guidelines.

When will the remote test be held?

The MEE and MPT questions will be administered on October 5, and the MBE questions will be administered on October 6. The times at which at which the questions will be administered will be announced later. Each jurisdiction administering the remote test will have the flexibility in deciding which of the abbreviated test materials to use.

When will I find out if the jurisdiction in which I am registered to take the bar exam is instead administering the remote test?

Candidates should continue to check with the jurisdiction in which they plan to test for the most current information. Regularly updated information is also available on our July 2020 Bar Exam: Jurisdiction Information page.

Can I choose to take the remote test if I don’t feel comfortable taking the in-person bar exam my jurisdiction still plans to administer?

The remote test is being provided as an emergency option to jurisdictions that are unable to administer the in-person bar exam in 2020. Each jurisdiction will decide whether local or state health and safety restrictions prohibit it from administering the bar exam and will also determine, as is the current practice, its own eligibility guidelines for who may take the remote test. The remote testing option is not available to candidates on an individual basis.

Can I take both an in-person bar exam and the remote test?

No. Candidates who sit for an in-person bar exam in July, September, or October 2020 may not also take the remotely administered test. NCBE understands the enormous challenges facing recent law graduates during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the uncertainty over whether they will be able to sit for the bar exam. The remote option should be seen as an emergency option should in-person administration of the bar exam not be possible.

Preparation

What limited set of questions is NCBE providing for the remote test?

NCBE will provide 100 MBE questions divided into two 50-question sets, 3 MEE questions, and 1 MPT item, such that the materials can be administered in four 90-minute testing sessions. There are no unscored items in these materials. Jurisdictions may choose some or all of the materials.

Will the subject matter coverage on the remote test differ from what is covered on the standard bar exam?

The remote test will consist of fewer questions but will cover the same subjects as the standard, full-length bar exam. MBE questions will cover the MBE subject areas and subcategories in similar proportions to those represented on the standard, full-length MBE. Candidates who have already begun preparing for the bar exam will not have to study different or additional subjects to prepare for the remote test.

What resources are available to help me prepare for the October remote exam?

The remote exam’s subject matter coverage follows NCBE’s subject matter outlines for the MBE, MEE, and MPT. Free and low-cost study aids are available to help you prepare. 

Additionally, two mock exams from ExamSoft are available to help candidates familiarize themselves with the experience of taking the exam remotely. One mock exam reviews the functionality of the ExamSoft software; the other allows you to practice with actual exam questions, and includes 21 MBE items, 3 MEE items, and 1 MPT item. An answer key for the MBE items, analyses for the MEE items, and a point sheet for the MPT item are available on the NCBE website. More information for candidates is available on the ExamSoft website.

Computer Equipment and Other Requirements

What computer equipment would I need to take the remote test, and what other requirements would need to be met?

Information about computer equipment and any other requirements will be provided to candidates by the jurisdiction and/or the technology vendor selected by the jurisdiction to administer the remote test.

What if I don’t have the computer equipment or can’t meet other requirements (e.g., private room in my own environment in which to test)?

Candidates with concerns about their ability to take a remotely administered test should contact their testing jurisdiction about what, if any, alternative arrangements can be provided by the jurisdiction for candidates who cannot test remotely.

What if there are technical problems during the October remote exam?

ExamSoft support will be available on test day should issues arise; visit the ExamSoft website for more information. Your jurisdiction will provide detailed information about what to do should you need technical support. As with the standard, in-person bar exam, each jurisdiction is responsible for addressing issues that arise for its candidates during the administration of the emergency remote exam.

If there is a technical problem with the administration of the remote test, will NCBE offer a make-up test?

There will be only one remote test administration on October 5–6, with the MEE and MPT questions administered on October 5, and the MBE questions administered on October 6. The next opportunity to test will be the February 2021 exam, currently planned as a standard, in-person bar exam administration.

Accommodations

How would test accommodations for the remote test be handled?

Each jurisdiction will be responsible for making its own accommodations decisions and delivering the accommodations to candidates for the remote test, just as for the standard bar exam. Jurisdictions will be responsible for making alternative arrangements available for candidates who cannot test remotely.

Scores

Why is NCBE not providing equated MBE scores to jurisdictions for the remote test?

Administering an abbreviated version of the MBE by remote testing is a significant departure from standard administration conditions. For scores on different versions of an exam to be accurately equated, the research-based standards for professional licensure exams require that the exams be administered under comparable conditions. Due to potential differences in the remote test-taking experience and to the shortened nature of the abbreviated test compared to the standard in-person bar exam, scores on the remote test cannot be equated to scores from the standard, full-length bar exam. 

If my jurisdiction uses this remote option, will I be able to earn a UBE score?

 No. The remote test is not comparable to the UBE, and the scores will be used by jurisdictions to help them make local admission decisions only. 

Other

What should I do if I have a concern or complaint about the administration of the October remote exam?

As with the standard, in-person bar exam, each jurisdiction is responsible for addressing issues that arise for its candidates during the administration of the emergency remote exam. Concerns or complaints about the administration of the exam, including any concerns about the technology vendor used to administer the exam, should be directed to the jurisdiction in a timely manner.

Fall 2020 Bar Exam Questions

Which jurisdictions have made announcements about the fall bar exams?

For a list of jurisdictions that have made announcements about the fall bar exams, visit July 2020 Bar Exam: Jurisdiction Information. We will continue to update this list as we receive information from the jurisdictions.

Does NCBE decide if/when the bar exam will be held? If not, who makes that decision?

Each jurisdiction decides whether to hold the bar exam. NCBE’s role is to provide tests for the jurisdictions to use.

Can I sit for both the July exam and a fall exam?

NCBE is offering bar exam materials to jurisdictions for two additional administration dates so that as many people as possible have at least one opportunity to test in 2020. The multiple dates are intended to enable jurisdictions to offer a bar exam during the remainder of 2020 while also observing federal, state, and local health guidelines regarding COVID-19. While each jurisdiction determines its own rules for eligibility to sit for the bar exam, we anticipate that adherence to federal, state, and local health guidelines will place pressure on a jurisdiction’s ability to provide seating for candidates. Therefore, candidates should not view the additional dates as an opportunity to test in multiple jurisdictions or to test multiple times in a single jurisdiction.

What if I can’t take the bar exam in the fall?

We understand that a fall administration date adds complications and could affect your housing, employment, and personal commitments. There is unfortunately not a one-size-fits-all solution as we navigate these unprecedented times. The UBE may provide solutions for some of these complications. We’re working with the UBE jurisdictions on these questions.

Should I register for the bar exam even if there’s a chance it will be delayed or postponed?

Contact the jurisdiction in which you were planning to sit for the bar exam for instructions. Decisions about extension of deadlines, transfer of registration to alternative dates, and refunds are all decisions made by the jurisdictions. 

My jurisdiction is no longer administering the bar exam in the fall. Can I take it in another jurisdiction?

If you originally applied in a UBE jurisdiction and that jurisdiction cancels its fall administration, you can apply in another UBE jurisdiction and earn a portable score that will qualify you to seek admission in all the UBE jurisdictions.

2021 Bar Exam Questions

I plan to take the bar exam in February or July 2021. What can I expect the 2021 bar exam to be like?

Jurisdictions are in the process of determining their plans for administering the 2021 bar exams. The jurisdiction in which you plan to test will continue to be the most up-to-date source of information. As jurisdictions make announcements about 2021 exams, NCBE will post announcements on our website as well.

October 2020 MPRE Questions

Will the October 2020 MPRE be administered as scheduled?

NCBE continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely. At this time, the MPRE scheduled for October 23 and 28 at Pearson VUE testing centers is proceeding as scheduled. If there is any change in your testing center schedule, you will receive an email from Pearson VUE. Pearson VUE is posting related updates to its website.

Will I be required to wear a face mask or follow other health precautions for the October 2020 MPRE?

Candidates are currently required to wear a face mask that covers their nose and mouth while at any Pearson VUE-owned testing center. They are also asked to confirm that they meet listed health requirements and that they will follow health and safety guidelines while testing. You should continue to check Pearson VUE’s website for the most up-to-date information.

What health and safety precautions will be taken at Pearson VUE testing centers for the October 2020 MPRE?

Pearson VUE is following CDC and WHO recommendations and enforcing local requirements at its test centers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect candidates. For information about the specific precautions being undertaken by the testing center at which you have a test appointment, contact the testing center directly (contact information can be found in your Appointment Confirmation email). Pearson VUE is posting related updates to its website.

What should I do if my appointment was canceled by Pearson VUE?

If your test appointment was changed by Pearson VUE due to updated social distancing requirements or other issues, such as a power outage at the testing center, you may be able to cancel or reschedule your appointment online at https://home.pearsonvue.com/mpre. If you are unable to cancel or reschedule online, you will need to contact Pearson VUE customer support at 888-205-1855 for assistance.

NCBE and COVID-19 Questions

What is the relationship between NCBE and the jurisdictions?

Jurisdictions determine licensure requirements and handle registration for and administration of the bar exam. NCBE is a nonprofit that creates the tests used by most of the jurisdictions for their bar exam.

Have any NCBE services been disrupted?

At this time, all NCBE services, including character and fitness services, NCBE Accounts, MPRE registration, MPRE test accommodations, and Score Services, are functioning normally.

How can I contact NCBE?

Due to the high volume of inquiries, we are unable to respond to individual questions about COVID-19 and the bar exam. We continue to add FAQs to this page to address the questions we have received so far; please check this page and NCBE COVID-19 Updates for further updates.

What is NCBE doing to prepare for additional disruptions due to COVID-19?

NCBE has implemented business continuity procedures to help ensure that we can keep providing the services that candidates and jurisdictions rely upon. Should the situation change drastically, we will make all efforts to continue to provide core services. 

We encourage you to follow CDCWHO, and local health official guidelines on safety precautions and restrictions.