How To Guess Correctly On The MBE
How To Guess Correctly On The MBE: No matter how much you study, it is inevitable that you will face a question on the MBE that you simply do not know the answer to. In this post, we give you tips for approaching the question and how to guess correctly on the MBE.
How To Guess Correctly On The MBE
1. If two answer choices are the same, there is a good chance they are both incorrect!
If you cannot see any practical differences between two answer choices, there is a chance that BOTH of those answer choices are wrong! So, if they still appear identical once you narrow down the answer choices to two, try going back to the other answer choices. A multiple-choice question can only have one correct answer. So, if there are two answer choices and you find it impossible to pick between the two, randomly picking one over the other is not a great strategy! Instead, be sure that the other remaining answer choices that you have already eliminated are not correct.
This is also a great method for eliminating incorrect answer choices right away. If you immediately see two answer choices that are practically identical, you can quickly eliminate both of them!
2. Don’t pick an answer choice that resolves a factual issue.
Fact patterns of multiple-choice questions are usually not long enough to provide you with all the information you need to resolve a factual question. If a question turns on the resolution of a factual question – a frequently tested factual question is the “reasonableness” of something – don’t pick the answer that resolves the factual issue. Instead, pick the answer choice that identifies the standard. The correct answer choice often uses the word “if” followed by the standard that needs to be met.
Below is an example of two similar multiple-choice answers from a question that turned on the reasonableness of the amount of time that has passed. Two of the possible answer choices are as follows:
(C) No, because a reasonable time had not passed since the firm offer was made.
(D) Yes, if a reasonable time had passed since the firm offer was made.
Between these two answer choices, (D) is a much better answer than (C). Why? The facts generally do not give enough information to determine whether a reasonable time had, in fact, passed. (D) uses the word “if” and states the standard: a reasonable time. This is a great answer choice!
3. Identify the subject being tested and analogize the facts to an area of law that you DO know.
The MBE is difficult because the examiners don’t label the questions according to subject. Sometimes it is difficult to even determine if the question is testing, for instance, Real Property or Contracts.
If you have difficulty even figuring out what subject is being tested, try skimming the answer choices to see the laws presented as possible answers to get a clue as to which subject is being tested. Once you figure out the subject, even if you don’t know exactly which law within that subject is applicable, analogize the facts to something you DO know about that subject to try to reason to an answer. This is a great way to help you guess correctly on the MBE.
Also, note that generally the correct MBE answer will often be in the same “subject realm” as the question. For example, if the question tests Evidence and three of the answer choices have to do with Evidence and one discusses a principle of Constitutional Law, the answer choice that discusses Constitutional Law is likely incorrect!
4. If you can narrow it down to two answers, go back to the facts.
Sometimes a wrong answer choice is wrong simply because it is not relevant. If you can’t decide between answer choices, go back to the facts and review the pertinent facts from the question.
Even if you don’t know the law, you may be able to pick an answer choice that is more relevant under the given facts.
Oftentimes when you go back to the facts you may notice a key fact you missed on the first read-through!
You can also use this method to eliminate wrong answer choices right away. Therefore, if you quickly see an answer choice that simply is not relevant, or that assumes facts that you have not been given, you can quickly eliminate that answer choice from the possible correct answers.
5. Don’t rely on patterns.
We have heard students say that if they don’t know the answer, they choose “C”. Or, others say if there are three “no” options and one “yes” option amongst the multiple-choice options, they always pick the outlier (the “yes”) option.
These are not great strategies for selecting an answer to a multiple-choice question. Of course, memorizing the law and confidently selecting the answer is the best option! However, when you don’t know the law being tested or simply cannot figure out the answer, try the above approaches before you resort to picking answer choices based on patterns!
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