4 Common Uniform Bar Exam Questions to Prep For

Some Uniform Bar Exam questions are tested often. The following is a series of sample bar exam questions (not real past MBE questions) that have shown up in one form or another on many administrations of the exam. I invite you to see how you do on these frequently tested topics!

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Bar Exam Questions: Sample Question 1

A woman called 911 from outside of her apartment on her cell phone and stated, “My boyfriend just pulled a knife on me and threatened to kill me!” The police responded and after speaking with the victim some more, they went to her apartment. They found the boyfriend, sitting in the living room drinking a beer and watching TV calmly. They arrested him on charges of attempted murder and assault.

At the trial, the prosecution offered the 911 call into evidence to prove the truth of the attempted murder and assault charges. The defense objected to the introduction of the 911 call on the basis of hearsay. Will the judge exclude this call from evidence?

1. No. The court will admit the evidence based on the exception to the hearsay rule known as recorded recollection.

2. Yes, the evidence will be excluded. There is no applicable exception to the hearsay rule, as the timing of the out of court statement was not close enough in time to qualify as a present sense impression.

3. No. The court will allow the evidence under the present sense impression exclusion to the hearsay rule.

4. Yes, it will be excluded. The prosecution is attempting to admit this into evidence to prove the truth of the woman’s statements, which is hearsay. There is no justifiable exception to this rule.

Bar Exam Questions: Sample Question 2

A high school girl won the honor of Homecoming Queen. During her acceptance speech, she changed the atmosphere of the event when she began accusing both teachers and students of both illegal and inappropriate sexual activity. She was astonishingly vulgar in her descriptions. It sent a wave of suspicion and gossip throughout the school.

However, the principal was not amused. After many students and teachers expressed anger and distress over her words, the principal revoked this student’s title of Homecoming Queen with all its related privileges, and suspended her for 10 days.

The student and her parents sued in federal court. They sued for an injunction and damages based on the denial of the student’s First Amendment Right of free speech. The court ruled in favor of the student, and the case went before the U.S. Supreme Court. Will the Supreme Court uphold the decision of the lower court?

1. Yes. However uncomfortable the speech was for teachers and students to hear, everyone has the right to freedom of speech in the U.S. The very reason for this right is to enable people to speak their minds, which results in a wide variety of speech, not all of which is comfortable to hear.

2. Yes. Nothing the girl said was intended to cause panic or violence, nor was it “hate speech.” It was just speech, and that cannot be curtailed under the First Amendment except for when it incites violence.

3. No. Schools are allowed to exercise some limitation on students’ right to free speech. In the high school setting, they function appropriately by limiting vulgar, offensive, or defamatory language.

4. No. Students do not enjoy the right to freedom of speech in the school setting. Greater priority is placed on protecting kids from violence and school disruptions that have become almost commonplace in today’s society.

Bar Exam Questions: Sample Question 3

An elderly man died. In his will, he bequeathed his house, property, and personal belongings to his wife, so long as she remained his widow. If she remarried, or when she died, the inheritance was to be passed on to his daughter. Which one of the following estates in real property most closely reflects the wife’s interest in her husband’s property?

1. It is a fee simple with a precedent condition.

2. It is a fee simple absolute.

3. It is a vested and contingent remainder.

4. It is a life estate that ends at the remarriage or death of the wife, with a remainder to the daughter.

Bar Exam Questions: Sample Question 4

A driver comes up to an intersection. He is in the right turning lane. He stops at the red light, waits for a second, then turns right on red. A car slams into him as he makes his right hand turn.

At the scene of the accident an officer points to a sign above the red light which reads, “No right on red.” The officer then gives him a citation for an improper turn, which the driver promptly pays shortly thereafter.

The other driver who slammed into him sues him for his injuries, which were severe. He alleges that the first driver was ticketed for an improper turn, and negligence per se is appropriate. Will the judge instruct the jury that negligence per se applies?

1. Yes. The violation of a traffic ordinance is always proof that the defendant caused the accident.

2. No. A violation of a traffic ordinance never can be used as proof of negligence.

3. No. The violation of the ordinance under these facts did not support the claim that the motorist caused the accident.

4. Yes. The ordinance that was violated was intended to avoid the precise harm that occurred.

Answers

Question 1: #3 is Correct

No. The court will allow the evidence under the present sense impression exclusion to the hearsay rule.

This exception is set forth in Rule 803(1) of the Federal Rules of Evidence: “A statement describing an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition, or immediately thereafter.”

Timing is important when considering the hearsay exception of present sense impression. If a statement is made long enough after the event that the declarant has had time to think about the situation, gather her thoughts and potentially reconstruct her story – then this exception does not apply.

However, that does not always mean that the statement has to be made at exactly the same time as the incident is occurring. There can be a time gap that is ruled to not have been long enough, under the circumstances, for someone to fully compose themselves. Since the woman called 911 from outside the apartment, with a cell phone, this implies that the call was made right after the threat. It is highly likely, given the frightful nature of the threat, that the declarant was still in a state of shock and reeling from the altercation. Furthermore, the events were still happening since her boyfriend was still in her apartment and an arrest had not been made. See, for example, United States v. Hawkins, 59 F.3d 723, 730 (8th Cir. 1995).

Question 2: #3 is Correct

No. Schools are allowed to exercise some limitation on students’ right to free speech. In the high school setting, they function appropriately by limiting vulgar, offensive, or defamatory language.

A state has an interest in teaching students how to conduct themselves appropriately when speaking publicly. They further have an interest in avoiding any disruptions or intrusions into the high school environment. Therefore, students do not actually enjoy the same First Amendment protections as adults. While political speech is not restricted in most schools, speech such as that described in question 2 can be curtailed. See Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v. Fraser, 478 US 675 (1986).

Question 3: #4 is Correct

It is a life estate that ends at the remarriage or death of the wife, with a remainder to the daughter.

The will conveys the desire of the testator (the husband) to allow his wife use and enjoyment of the marital property while she lives, unless she remarries. His words also give the remainder of the estate – whether it’s at the time of the widow’s death or remarriage – to his daughter.

The disbursement of the remainder clearly gives the widow a life estate; and the fact that there must be a remainder upon her change in status that goes to the daughter is a clear indicator that she did not get a fee simple. See Giles v. Little, 104 US 291 (1881).

Question 4: #4 is Correct

Yes. The ordinance that was violated was intended to avoid the precise harm that occurred.

When there is an ordinance that specifically seeks to protect a certain type of person from a certain type of harm – and that ordinance is breached in a way that results in the type of harm sought to be protected against – then negligence per se is applicable. The violation of the ordinance must be targeted towards the specific type of harm, to the specific class of potential victims, in order for negligence per se to apply.

In other words, if the motorist turning right bumped into the back of another car in front of him after completing the right turn, the ordinance violation would not apply. The improper right turn is not relevant to bumping into someone ahead of you. But since the driver of the oncoming car was precisely the category of victim intended for protection, and the action that the ordinance intended to protect against, then negligence per se applies.

How did you do on these Uniform Bar Exam questions? Hope you found them helpful, and feel free to test your knowledge with our other sample bar exam questions!

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