Barbri Admits it Only Offers 100 Real Released MBE Questions - JD Advising
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Barbri Admits it Only Offers 100 Real Released MBE Questions

In a recent article entitled “How Many MBE Practice Questions Do I Get With Barbri? Are They Real Released Questions?” Barbri admits it only offers 100 real, released questions to its students.

This article was written in February 2019 by Mike Sims, the Barbri President.

Here are a few quotes from the Barbri article, as well as our response.

Barbri says: The short answer is [in the Barbri bar review course] that you’ll have access to over 2,000 MBE practice questions, and an MBE final prep comprised of 100 “real” MBE questions recently released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), during your BARBRI Bar Review course.”

Our response: Here, Barbri admits to only providing 100 real, released MBE questions.

Barbri says: “Working practice questions is very important. Now add a big asterisk because, as with many things, it’s not just the quantity that matters. The methodology and approach is critical to your MBE success.”

 Our response: We agree with this!

Barbri says: “Since only about 80 questions per subject have been released in the past 10 years, they don’t provide a comprehensive representation of the questions that are most likely to actually appear on a future exam.”

Our response: These 550+ real, released questions provide an excellent representation of how issues are tested. Further, when you examine older questions and newer ones, you see quite a few patterns. Many older questions are similar to questions released in 2019—meaning that MBE issues are often tested in the same way. While it is true you may want to practice additional MBE questions, these real, released questions are the best representation of the types of MBE questions you will see on the real MBE.

The most recently released 210-question NCBE exam is particularly helpful.

When you were practicing for the LSAT, hopefully you used real, released “actual official” LSAT questions. Using real, released questions is simply the best approach for standardized tests.

In short, real, released MBE questions prepare you the best for the real MBE.

Barbri says: “Also, questions that have been released by the examiners will not appear in any future MBE. That’s why they were released.”

Our response: While it is true that the released questions will not appear word-for-word on any future MBE, there is a reason why the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has decided to release them. The fact is that the real, released MBE questions provide you with the most realistic idea of the format of the MBE and the issues that are tested even if you do not see the exact same word-for-word questions. As noted above, we have seen questions written in 1990 that are extremely similar to questions released in 2019! THAT is the advantage of using released questions.  

Barbri says: “That being said, the experts at BARBRI have carefully selected a subset of 100 of the most recent released questions to create an MBE final prep that is included in BARBRI Bar Review and presented through your Personal Study Plan (PSP).”

Our response: We would be curious to know the selection process for these questions. Also, with so many questions made available from the NCBE, why does Barbri select to only publish some questions and not others?

If real MBE questions are really not that effective (according to Barbri), why even publish 100 at all?

Barbri says: “If you ever see offers to work “thousands” of real, released MBE questions, we advise you not to waste your precious time or money.” 

Our response: We strongly disagree with this statement, and you’ll find many others who disagree as well. We advise students that they should spend their time on the types of questions most likely to appear on the upcoming MBE and not waste time with questions that are “similar” to real, released MBE questions. With so many companies creating their own MBE questions, how can students determine which questions are most similar to real, released MBE questions? We would encourage students to go directly to the source—the NCBE.

Barbri says: “Many of those questions are not representative of what is actually tested on a future exam and are likely very old.”

Our response: 210 questions were released in 2019. These are the freshest and best batch of MBE questions available. Several hundred more were released in years prior. Barbri admits that 550+ questions were released in the last ten years.

Further, older questions (even MUCH older questions) test many of the same issues as those tested in the MBE questions released in 2019!  It is true that these much older questions need to be restyled to conform with the current MBE format. But a restyled released MBE question is, in our view, much better than a completely invented question.

Barbri says: “Focusing too heavily on “real” released MBE questions is one way some bar preppers misuse limited study time.”

Our response: For all the reasons mentioned above, we could not disagree more! 

Barbri says: “BARBRI is the only course that has helped students pass the MBE since its inception in 1972, and we’ve learned that, even though a topic CAN be tested, it doesn’t mean that it is likely to actually be tested. Some topics are tested all of the time and others not as often.”

Our response: The best way to see what is tested “all of the time” and “not as often” is to actually look at past MBE questions that are released to see what topics are tested all of the time and which ones are not tested as often!

Using primarily simulated questions is outdated and not the best way to accomplish this goal.  

Why wouldn’t a course like Barbri offer more real, released questions?

There are a few likely reasons.

One might have to do with money. The licensing fee would require them to pay a substantial amount up front (as much as $30,000) plus an additional fee for every student that receives the MBE questions. We suspect most bar review courses would like to avoid paying this fee. We offer over 1,500 released MBE questions because we believe it is an integral part of preparing for the bar exam.  We pay the up-front fee and the licensing fees for each student because we believe the investment is worth it to prepare our students.

Or maybe the bar review courses truly believe that answering real, released MBE questions is not the best way to prepare for the real MBE. It is difficult for us to see the logic in this based on our experience with students. We find that students benefit the most (and see a larger increase in their MBE scores) when they practice with real, released MBE questions. We also often hear from students who do not practice with released questions that the questions they practice with “looked nothing like the questions” they saw on the bar exam.

Will I fail if I only used simulated questions?

Not necessarily!

Many students use simulated questions and pass the bar exam.

However, as more and more law students become aware of—and use—real, released MBE questions, you will put yourself at a competitive disadvantage if you only use simulated questions.

So, we recommend real, released MBE questions if you want to have a competitive advantage on the bar exam.

Looking for real, released MBE questions?

Check out our source for real, released MBE questions here!


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