Bar Exam Multiple-Choice Tips: Small Changes That Make a Big Difference
If you are looking for some bar exam multiple-choice tips, look no further! Here, we discuss some small changes that you can make now that have the potential to make a big difference in your score. If you are like many others, you are starting to feel frustrated in your multiple-choice score. You may keep practicing and find that you barely see any improvement. Here are a few tips to implement to improve your bar exam multiple-choice score.
Five Small Changes That Make a Big Difference
1. Change how you read the question.
There are a few ways of reading a multiple-choice question. And something as simple as changing the way you approach it can actually make a big difference in your score. The three ways you may read a question are as follows:
- Start from the beginning of the question (read from start to finish, essentially)
- Start with the call of the question (the question right before the answer choices)
- Start with the answer choices
You can see the anatomy of a bar exam multiple-choice question below. (Click on the image to make it bigger.)
Note that we do NOT recommend that you start by reading the answer choices. This is a waste of time and often ends up leading a student to “liking” a certain answer (for no real reason) then getting the question wrong.
We generally recommend starting from the very beginning of the question. That way, you can read the question with a clear head and truly understand what the question is asking — you have no preconceived notions and you can picture the facts as you are reading them.
Some students find it helpful to start with the call of the question. (This gives them an idea of what subject is being tested and what facts to pay attention to.) We are not strongly opinionated on this but generally find this to be less effective overall.
The point is — try both approaches. Try reading from the beginning of the question if you have been starting with the call of the question. And vice versa. You may find one easier than the other.
2. Change when you do MBE questions.
Some students save MBE questions for the very end of the day. They are tired, exhausted, stressed out….it is no wonder that they do not perform well!
Others do it first thing in the morning and find themselves undercaffeinated and under-performing.
It is best to answer MBE questions during exam time — so you get used to answering them at the same time of day you will be taking the exam. This also helps combat MBE fatigue.
3. Change how you approach answer choices.
We typically recommend the following approach to a multiple-choice question.
- Read the question and try to think of the correct answer (if possible).
- Next, find an answer choice and find one that matches what you believed to be correct.
- Lastly, briefly review the other answer choices to make sure one is not better.
Sometimes students pick an answer, ignore all the other answer choices, and move on. Then, they miss the correct answer! We recommend you read all of the answer choices, just to double-check yourself. (If you find yourself constantly being tricked and switching your answer at the last minute, please review some of the tips below.)
4. Take a break and revisit the law.
A lot of students get multiple-choice questions wrong simply because they do not know the law.
If you find yourself with a low score on a certain subject (or a certain topic), please make sure to revisit your outlines so you can learn the law better.
Spending even a few hours reviewing your outlines can make a huge difference in your score and get you off the endless treadmill of answering questions but not seeing your score improve.
5. Keep track of why you are getting answers wrong.
If you keep answering questions but never take time to find patterns in why you are getting answers incorrect, then you are wasting your time! It only takes a few minutes to jot down some notes when you answer a question incorrectly and it can lead to invaluable insights. For example:
- you may find you haven’t memorized hearsay exceptions well enough
- you may find you do not understand the difference between claim preclusion and issue preclusion at all
- you may find you read the facts too quickly
- you may find you run out of time
If you are working hard but not giving yourself any feedback about when you answer a question incorrectly, then you are not working efficiently. Please review this post (and this free guide) for more information on how to do this!
Read a few other popular bar exam multiple-choice posts here:
- 10 Expert MBE Tips
- How to Improve your MBE Score 20 or More Points
- How I Scored a 180 on the MBE
- How to study for the MBE
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