How Do Experimental Bar Exam Questions Work? - JD Advising
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Experimental Bar Exam Questions

How Do Experimental Bar Exam Questions Work?

The MBE includes experimental bar exam questions, and these questions do not count towards your final score. In total, there are 25 experimental questions on the MBE portion of the bar exam. That means of the 200 total MBE questions you will answer on the bar exam, only 175 will be scored. Above all, the NCBE uses experimental questions on the bar exam only as a resource for examiners.

These questions are used by examiners to determine the level of difficulty, formatting, length, and complexity of future MBE questions. For example, if 90% of applicants missed an experimental question, that may mean the question was too difficult. Likewise, if 90% of applicants correctly answered an experimental question, that may mean the question was too easy.

How Do Experimental Bar Exam Questions Work?

Experimental questions are not marked in any way and will appear as ordinary MBE questions. That means students should NOT attempt to snuff out an experimental question in the hopes they can skip it. It’s nearly impossible to tell an experimental question from a regular MBE question. Therefore, students should answer each question that appears in front of them as if it was a scored MBE question. Chances are, the question staring at you will be scored, based solely on the ratio of scored to experimental questions.

Are bar exam course questions real?

Students enrolled in a bar prep course often wonder whether the materials included in the course consider experimental questions. For example, does the simulated Bar Exam included with your course materials include experimental MBE questions? The short answer is – it depends. Some bar prep companies like to include experimental questions and others do not. It simply depends on the company. Therefore, whether your course’s simulated MBE exam factors in experimental questions in score reporting is important. If it doesn’t, you may have to account for that yourself.

Experimental questions do not apply to the essay portion of the Bar Exam. That means you will receive a score for each and every essay question you come across, regardless of where you’re taking the exam. That’s right, the California Bar Exam and Uniform Bar Exam do not use experimental essay questions. So, why do examiners choose only to include experimental MBE questions and not experimental essay questions? The reasoning has to do with the additional technicalities of MBE questions.

For example, you not only have a hypothetical situation and call of the question to deal with. There’s also the tricky business of selecting what answer choices to include, something not present on essay questions. Examiners need to weigh each answer choice based on how likely students will be to select it. That means the NCBE will carefully consider things like clarity, logic, and truthfulness before including it as a graded question on an actual exam.

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