How to Pass the DC Bar Exam
The DC bar exam is becoming more and more popular with each administration. We get a lot of inquiries about what students need to do to prepare so that they can pass the exam. Before hopping into how to pass the DC bar exam, it is helpful to first see what the exam consists of. If you are looking for more information about why the DC bar exam is so popular, click here.
Note: please check the DC board’s website for the latest information on the DC Bar Exam!
How To Pass The DC Bar Exam
What does the DC bar exam consist of?
DC adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and started administering it for the July 2016 exam. So, like other UBE jurisdictions, the test consists of the MBE, MEE and MPT. The MBE counts for 50% of your score, the MEE counts for 30% and the MPT counts for 20%. There is not a DC-specific element to the exam, like some jurisdictions have. In other words, you simply take MBE, MEE and MPT—there are no additional essays or an additional course that you must take in order to pass the exam.
What is the passing score?
The minimum passing score for the DC bar exam is 266. It is also important to note that if you took the UBE in a different jurisdiction you can transfer your score to DC if you meet certain rules. Please be sure to check the DC board’s website for the latest information!
UPDATE 2021: You must take the full UBE, there is no longer a partial score option in DC. See the exam instructions here.
So, how to pass the DC bar exam?
If you are going to take the exam and are wondering how to pass the DC bar exam, keep reading.
First things first—what materials do you need?
Generally, you should be sure that you get your hands on good quality material. You want to make sure that you are paying attention to your learning style before you invest in a bar prep company. Many commercial courses offer very little accountability to examinees. For some people preparing, this is just fine. For others, this is one of the main reasons they are unsuccessful.
When looking for good quality materials, try to take some time to actually look at the material before you sign up. Pay close attention to whether you need to sit through a two-hour lecture in order to have a filled-out outline, or if you have the ability to ask questions if you don’t understand something. You should also ask questions, such as when was the last time the outlines were updated?
Another thing to keep in mind when deciding what material to purchase is to see what types of MBE, MEE, and MPT practice questions they provide. You want to be sure that you are practicing with real, released questions—not made up ones. Most companies generally use released MEEs and MPTs. However, that is not true for the MBE portion. Again, make sure that you take the time to actually view the material with your own eyes and ask questions, such as whether or not they are utilizing real MBE questions if you want to take the first step in making sure that you know how to pass the DC bar exam.
How do you prepare for the MBE portion?
Many people preparing for the bar exam utilize commercial courses. This means that your schedule likely has you spending a lot of time listening to lectures. However, keep in mind that this is passive review. While you need to take time to make sure that you understand the material, one of the keys to how to pass the DC bar exam is to spend the bulk of your time actively reviewing. Active review will ensure that you actually have the material memorized.
You also want be sure that you are saving time to practice application of everything that you are memorizing. So, in other words, the process has three steps: you must understand the material, memorize the material and then practice application of the material. For the third step—application, again, you want to make sure that you are practicing with released questions. Finally, be sure that you are taking time each week to do both timed and untimed practice of the questions. If you are looking for tips on how to improve your MBE score, check out this post.
How do you prepare for the MEE portion?
Just like our advice above—if you want to know how to pass the DC bar exam, preparing for the MEE portion is also a three-step process. You want to ensure that you are taking time to understand the material. Then, once you feel like you have had the chance to go through the material and think about it and have some of your questions answered, you should move on to active review. Just like for the MBE, you need to work on memorizing the material so that you can apply it to the fact patterns presented.
Finally, each week you should be carving out timed practice. Many students find it helpful to write out a few timed essays each week and then to issue spot a few. That way, they can gain greater exposure to the questions asked, they can quiz themselves and yet not have to devote 30 full minutes to every single MEE that they read. For more information on how to study for the MEE portion of the bar exam read this!
How do you prepare for the MPT portion?
The MPT is the one component of the UBE that most students put off until the last minute and never fully prepare for. However, this is a terrible approach. If you want to know how to pass the DC bar exam, you should be sure that you do not ignore the MPT. The MPT is an easy place to pick up points, so long as you practice. The main reason that the MPT should be embraced, instead of avoided, is that it is one the area of the bar exam where you are not expected to know any outside law. Instead, the tasks are testing whether you can take the information provided, both law and facts, and respond appropriately to the task presented within the 90 minutes given.
So, to prepare for the MPT, start early. Be sure that you start practicing with the highly tested tasks and work through the odd or “wildcard” tasks. We highly recommend doing timed MPT practice early on so that you can figure out if you struggle with timing. If you do, you should continue to do timed practice to ensure that you improve. For more MPT tips click here.
If you want more information on how to prepare for the DC bar exam, click here
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