How to Study for the MBE Section of the Bar Exam

Study MBE Section

By now it’s settled in that this bar exam thing is going to require a lot of studying time. You have to review/learn the law, and practice the test itself. Still, how you study is just as relevant. After all, you want to make absolutely sure you’re making the best use of your time. Today I’m tossing out a few tips and tricks to help you ensure that MBE study time is as effective as possible.

1. Quantity…

You will face 200 multiple choice questions on the MBE section of the bar exam, spread out over seven subject areas. No matter your jurisdiction (with one or two notable exceptions), the MBE portion will be worth a substantial amount points. Making sure you expose yourself to as many MBE study questions as possible is important. One reason for this is to increase your knowledge and experience of what will be tested, but there’s another less obvious benefit as well.

When it comes to the bar exam, you need to be (relatively) comfortable on test day. That means having a pretty solid idea on the type of questions you’re going to be asked. Besides the need to see the material asked in MBE form, studying with lots of practice questions is going to build your test confidence. The strength of well-earned confidence on test day should not be undervalued. For some people, it’s the difference between keeping your cool during a string of particularly tough questions, and falling into a self-defeating spiral that slows you down and makes you less effective.

2. AND quality!

The usual lingo is that quality is more important than quantity. For MBE study purposes, you’re going to have to give them near-equal priority. I found over the course of my studying that I learned a lot of testable exceptions and nuances while reviewing why I missed questions. Also, in addition to knowing why you may have missed a question, you need to ensure that you got it correct due to a firm understanding of the law, and not because of a lucky guess.

The experience of reviewing a question is incredibly useful. It’s one thing to read a dry statement of law and believe that you understand it. It’s another to see that statement of law put into the form of a question you may not know. There’s a slight sting to realizing that you may not know as much as you thought about a topic. That’s okay! You’ll remember it now on the real thing.

3. Time yourself.

200 questions over six hours is 1.8 minutes (1 minute and 48 seconds) per question. That is an aggressive pace. Some fact patterns will be long and extensive, which is frustrating when you’re having to keep the reality of the clock ticking in the back of your mind.

Still, it’s not an insurmountable pace. A lot of the speed will come naturally after an abundance of MBE study questions, but it is still important to time yourself to make certain you’re keeping up the time needed. Keep in mind that the 1.8 minute-mark is an average. A few seconds longer on an extensive fact pattern will be made up for during a one-sentence question later, so don’t sweat a few seconds, but try to keep your pacing at a benchmark of roughly 33 questions per hour.

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I hope you found these MBE study tips helpful! I recommend perusing our other articles for many helpful tips, tricks, explanations, and insights into the examination.

Remember – quantity, quality, and time. You’re going to demolish the MBE.

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