How Should I Practice MBE Questions?
When preparing for the bar exam, there’s a lot of emphasis on practicing MBE questions. In doing so, some students wonder how to make the most of their time doing MBE practice questions. In this post, we cover how to practice MBE questions so you can get the most out of your prep before you take the bar exam.
How Should I Practice MBE Questions?
Dissect each MBE practice question
During the beginning stages of your bar studies, your goal is to learn the law, and not to necessarily answer as many MBE questions as possible. In order to acquire the skills it takes to pass the MBE, consider slowing down enough to dissect the questions and recognize exactly how these questions are written before working on speed. You should answer questions slowly and methodically. Under this approach, you might only answer 10 practice multiple-choice questions each day to start, and that is ok. The following approach to answering MBE questions should take about 5-10 minutes for each question.
1. Read the fact pattern, then the call of the question, and then STOP.
We generally recommend that you start with the fact pattern in order to have a complete impression of what is being tested. When you read the fact pattern, you should be able to identify the subject, legal issue, and rule being tested.
2. Identify the subject.
You should be able to identify the subject being tested just by reading the fact pattern! Don’t forget which subjects appear on the MBE. These include civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts.
3. Identify the legal issue that is being tested.
For instance, if it is a Civil Procedure question, is this a subject matter jurisdiction issue? Personal jurisdiction issue? Venue issue? Being able to identify the legal issue is fundamental to doing well on the MBE!
When preparing for the MBE, your studies should focus on the highly tested topics for each of the seven (7) MBE subjects. Further, you should know that the topics tested within each subject are not tested equally. Click here to read more about the highly tested areas of law on the MBE.
4. State the rule.
Either state or write down the legal rule applicable to the issue you identified in Step #3. If you are unable to remember the actual rule, you should find it in your outline and write it down on a separate notepad so you be sure to memorize it. Also, if you have trouble recognizing the applicable issue and legal rule, consider spending more time memorizing your outlines and the rules before completing more practice questions.
5. Answer the question without looking at the answer choices.
Refresh your memory, re-read the call of the question, and try to answer the question before reading the answer choices. This should prevent you from picking a deceptive answer that is intended to trick you. If you need to look at the answer choices to identify the subject and applicable issue, you may need to spend more time memorizing your outlines and the rules before completing more practice questions. Many students think they will be able to recognize the issue being tested once they see it, but in order to do well on the MBE, you need to recognize the issue and know the rule without relying too heavily on the answer choices.
6. Find the correct answer choice.
Read the answer choices, and then select the answer choice that best matches the conclusion you reached in Step #5.
7. Review the incorrect answer choices.
As you review, read the remaining answer choices and identify why each one is incorrect. For practice purposes, identifying why the other answer choices are incorrect will test whether you really understand the nuances of the law. When it comes down to test time, knowing why an answer choice is wrong will make it that much easier to select the correct answer on exam day.
You can learn more about the steps to answering MBE questions by checking out our blog post, How to Answer an MBE Question.
Note Your Problem Areas
Increase the quality of your MBE studies by noting the areas and rule you need to revisit based on your incorrect answers. For instance, review the separate notepad containing the areas fo the law you missed whenever you answered an MBE question incorrectly. In addition to committing more rules to memory, the benefit of this practice is that you may also detect “patterns” in how certain areas of the law are tested.
Incorporate Timed Exams Into Your Study Schedule
1. Increase the number of questions you answer in a given period of time.
Once you are able to dissect the questions, speed up your process and work up to answering about 9 questions every 15 minutes. Of note, some students have only completed sever hundred practice questions and passed the MBE without an issue, while others have completed more than thousands of practice questions and failed. Quality practice often outweighs quantity!
2. Practice previously released MBE questions.
Increase the quality of your MBE studies by incorporating previously released MBE questions into your study plan. Click here to purchase the NCBE’s newly released 2022 practice exam.
3. Practice enough MBE exams under timed conditions.
The great news is that you are likely on course to pass if you have practiced enough MBE exams under timed conditions and answer enough questions correctly. This means that you have a strategy to help you complete both portions of the MBE on time. For example, you may have decided to “divide” your time into 15-minute increments, in order to complete about 9 MBE questions every 15 minutes. You should also practice MBE exams wearing a mask if you will be required to wear one on exam day.
4. Consider hiring a tutor.
A bar exam tutor can be a great investment to ensure that you’re effectively studying for the MBE. A tutor can show you how to approach the multiple-choice questions and eliminate incorrect answer choices. A tutor can also help you understand why your selected answer choice was correct or incorrect, and help you identify your weak spots. Tutors can also help you speed up your learning process by incorporating efficient time management practices into your study routine in a way that best suits you.
For more information on Bar Exam tutors, check out our blog post, Do I Need A Bar Exam Tutor To Pass The Bar?
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