Finding the Best Bar Exam Sample Questions and Answers
If you are getting ready to take the bar exam, you may feel nervous about the coming weeks and months of studying. This is completely normal! Rest assured that there are a number of ways to study efficiently for the bar exam. One strategy is to use actual bar exam questions and answers so you know what to expect on exam day. This post details where to find the best bar exam sample questions and answers.
Finding the Best Bar Exam Sample Questions and Answers
So, what makes certain practice questions the “best” ones? The answer is simple: the best bar exam practice questions are the real, official bar exam questions. “Real” bar exam questions are bar exam questions that the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) periodically releases. The NCBE produces the questions you see on the bar exam! You can’t get much better than practicing questions directly from the source!
Studying and practicing with NCBE-promulgated questions exposes you to highly tested topics for all components of the bar exam. Specific to the written portions, it provides you with practice structuring and formatting your answers the way the NCBE expects you and helps you to think like a grader to better write your answer in a way that will achieve maximum points on the exam. With course-invented questions, on the other hand, many students end up feeling frustrated or unprepared on exam day because the questions on the exam inevitably look much different than the questions that a prep course has invented. Avoid this by incorporating previously-used bar exam questions when you practice–and use these questions right from the start!
The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE)
The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is a two-day exam that consists of three components: the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The UBE has been adopted (or is soon to be adopted) in over 40 jurisdictions. Below, we give a brief overview of each component of the exam. We’ll also include where to find the best resources for real, official bar exam sample questions and answers!
Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)
The MEE is one of two written components of the UBE. The MEE comprises 30% of your total UBE score. It consists of six essay questions. Examinees receive 3 hours to complete all six questions (meaning you should plan to spend no more than 30 minutes on each question!). During law school, you encountered some (or maybe even all) of the subjects covered on the MEE. These include:
- Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations and Limited Liability Companies)
- Conflict of Laws
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Family Law
- Federal Civil Procedure
- Real Property
- Trusts and Estates
- Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
Usually, six subjects different subjects appear on the MEE. Ocassionally, the NCBE combines multiple subjects in a single question (e.g., Criminal Procedure and Evidence). Additionally, some subjects are tested much more frequently than others. For example, Civil Procedure appears on almost every administration of the MEE. For a fuller breakdown of frequently tested subjects, review our MEE frequency of topics tested on the UBE chart available here.
The MEE primarily tests your ability to (1) identify legal issues raised by a hypothetical factual situation, (2) separate material which is relevant from that which is not, (3) present a reasoned analysis of the relevant issues in a clear, concise, and well-organized manner, and (4) demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental legal principles relevant to the probable solution of the issues raised by the factual situation. So, it is very important to practice with questions that will help you to prove your ability to achieve these!
For advice on how to best approach the MEE, other than practicing with the real, previosuly-used bar exam sample questions and answers, check out 15 MEE tips from a 99th percentile MEE scorer here and our guide on the best way to study for the MEE here.
Where can you find the best real, official bar exam sample questions and answers for the MEE?
NCBE Samples: The NCBE releases certain past MEE questions and answers that can be accessed for free. Better yet, the NCBE provides a breakdown of an ideal answer, as well as how much each portion of the question is worth since not all issues in a question are necessarily weighted equally (e.g., issue one may be worth 20%, issue two worth 30%, and issue three worth 50%). This is a great resource directly from the organization that drafts the MEE questions and promulgates answers! In addition to its free resources, the NCBE also has MEE Study Aids available for purchase, including questions from the last six bar exam administrations with accompanying answers and analyses.
JD Advising MEE Books: Our MEE books are available for purchase by subject electronically and include a compilation of every question tested from 2000 to 2021. The best part is that, in addition to the MEE questions, the MEE books also contain the official NCBE examiner’s analysis for each question, making them an invaluable resource. Having everything together in one place is the most efficient way to study because it saves you from wasting time searching for the analyses in order to grade the questions released by the NCBE. After all, time is one of your most valuable bar prep assets!
New York State Bar of Law Examiners Samples: New York (in addition to a few other state bars) has released MEE questions along with sample candidate answers available for free, currently spanning from July 2016 through July 2021.
If are looking for links to specific administrations of the bar exam (e.g., just the MEEs for July 2021), you can check out our post about past MEE questions and answers available for free here, which links directly to each MEE for your convenience.
Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
The MPT is the second written component of the bar exam, worth 20% of your overall UBE score. The MPT contains two questions. Students receive three hours to complete both questions, meaning you should spend 90 minutes on each question. Unlike other portions of the UBE, you do not have to bring any outside legal knowledge to the MPT. In fact, you are actually provided with all the factual material and legal knowledge you need to answer the question. Thus, the key difference between the MEE and the MPT is that the MPT tests your ability to, in essence, “practice law” by applying the law to “real life scenarios,” whereas the MEE tests your substantive legal knowledge and ability to answer questions on specific subjects from memory.
For each MPT question, you will be provided with a set of documents that contain the following:
Task memo: As the name itself makes clear, the task memo tells you about the assignment. Pay close attention to what the task memo is asking for in terms of format, audience, and tone (i.e., persuasive or objective), as well as any specific issues you need to address. The task memo might call for an objective memo, persuasive brief, demand letter, opinion letter, bench memo, persuasive memo, or some other wildcard task. Some formats, such as an objective memo and a persuasive brief, are tested much more frequently than others (check out our complete MPT frequency chart here!). We also have, attack outlines for each type of MPT and MPT cheat sheets for all formats.
File: The file contains various documents that show the facts of the case. This may include letters, deposition transcripts, client interviews, pleadings, discovery documents, and so on. Also, just like in the “real world,” some of the facts in the documents might be incomplete, ambiguous, or conflicting!
Library: The library contains the relevant law that you need to answer the question. It may contain caselaw, statutes, rules, regulations, or some other variation of law. Read everything provided in the library (even the footnotes!). Also, don’t assume that you know the law. sThe examiners may have changed it for purposes of the MPT! Also, keep in mind that not all the law will be relevant, so your job is to pull out what is important and applicable under the facts provided in the file!
Because the examiners give you all the material you need to write the MPT, you may be tempted to not study for it. But it’s important that you take the MPT seriously. Many bar examinees assume that the MPT is “easy” since it doesn’t require you to memorize any legal concepts. Those people show up to the exam unaware of exactly what they need to look for, and then they tend to run out of time trying to figure it out, resulting in lost points. Remember that the MPT is worth 20% of your overall UBE score, which is essentially the equivalent of four MEE essays.
Where can you find the best real, official bar exam sample questions and answers for the MPT?
NCBE: Similar to the MEE, the NCBE releases MPTs from past bar exam administrations. Free resources include summaries of the MPTs from the past 5 bar exam administrations, as well as MPTs with corresponding point sheets from older administrations (February 2012 to July 2016). You also have the option of purchasing the NCBE’s MPT Study Aid, which contains MPT questions, analyses, and point sheets from the last 6 bar exam administrations.
JD Advising MPT Books: Our MPT Books of previously tested MPTs are among the best sources of MPT bar exam sample questions and answers. Why? Because not only do we include the real, official questions and examiner’s point sheets, but we also include examples of high-scoring student answers, so you can study exactly how to write a high-scoring, passing MPT!
Georgia Office of Bar Admission: Georgia makes available past MPT questions along with high-scoring student answers, making this a great resource to see what the ideal answer looks like. Keep in mind, however, that the high-scoring student answers may not address every issue or fact, so they are not perfect answers—but were still well done!
To read more about available bar exam sample questions and answers for the MPT, check out our posts on where to find them and how to use them and, more specifically, where to find free MPT questions and answers.
Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)
Unlike the MEE and the MPT, the MBE does not require you to write. Instead, the MBE contains 200 multiple-choice questions worth 50% of your overall UBE score. The MBE contains two 100-question portions. Examinees complete each portion within three hours (for a total of 6 hours for the MBE). However, only 175 of the 200 multiple-choice questions are scored. Twenty-five of the questions are “test” questions. Test questions are unscored, and there’s no way to know which questions are test questions. So, you have to give each question your full effort!
The seven subjects tested on the MBE include:
- Civil Procedure
- Constitutional Law
- Contracts and Sales
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Real Property
Twenty-five scored questions on each subject appear on the exam, so the subjects are tested equally. Keep in mind though that certain MBE topics do appear more frequently on the exam than others. Read more about highly tested topics on the MBE here!
As for scoring, the MBE scores can range from 40 (low) to 200 (high). There are two types of MBE scores: raw score and converted score. Your “raw” MBE score (i.e., the number you actually got correct out of the 175 scored MBE questions) is scaled using a statistical process to account for the difference in difficulty between exams. Your converted score is the score that is released to you. The NCBE will not release your raw score, so it’s difficult to compare your MBE to past administrations. Read more about how scoring works in this post.
And don’t forget to check out our MBE guide for more information on MBE and tips on how to pass it here!
Where can you find the best real, official bar exam sample questions and answers for the MBE?
JD Advising “QBank”: Check out our MBE “QBank” here. We have 100 simulated questions available for you to try free. This allows you to make sure our platform is the right fit for you before you purchase access to the entirety of the QBank! More importantly, our QBank is full of real, official MBE questions promulgated by the NCBE. Since NCBE-released questions are the best indicator of whether you are on track to pass the MBE, this is a valuable resource for many students!
JD Advising MBE Tip of the Day: Last, but certainly not least, check out our MBE Tip of the Day series. This series not only has questions and answers but also includes strategies breaking down how to address each!
To read more about official bar exam sample questions and answers for the MBE, go to our post dedicated specifically to what “real” MBE questions are and where you can find them.
California Bar Exam
Although many states have adopted the UBE, some still administer their own exams, including California. If you are taking the California Bar Exam, be sure to take a look at the bar exam sample questions and answers from past California bar exams on the State Bar of California website!
Looking to Pass the Uniform Bar Exam?
Free or discounted resources
- A five-star UBE course (for as low as $1249.99!) that provides you with the best instruction, outlines, and questions. Preview our course for free here!
- Our new Free Bar Exam Resource Center, which includes our most popular free guides, posts, webinars, and more!
- Free popular bar exam guides (on the MBE, MEE, how to pass the bar exam, and what to do if you failed the bar exam) written by bar exam experts!
- A free Early Bar Prep Course for law students
Our most POPULAR and highly rated bar exam resources are:
- Our On Demand and Premium Bar Exam Courses
- Bar Exam Private Tutoring by bar exam experts
- MBE One-Sheets and MEE One-Sheets—rated five stars! Our customers love these supplements!
- Real MBE questions—the best practice questions available!