Is The MBE Getting More Difficult?
Taking the bar exam is indeed a strenuous exercise in discipline, patience, and perseverance. It’s also incredibly stressful. It only follows that given high stake circumstances, your mind asks the big questions that really help you to focus, stay calm, and remain positive. Like, is the MBE getting more difficult? So for those of you who have found this question lurking in the back of your overwhelmed mind, I’m here to tell you the answer is, like all things law…it depends. Kind of.
Is The MBE Getting More Difficult?
The internet has decided that the MBE is getting harder and less predictable but also that the MBE has basically remained unchanged for 40 years. Then of course there were the additional challenges of taking the bar exam during a global pandemic (as in, is the exam harder, or am I just sick of wearing my mask and inhaling Purell?).
Is The MBE Harder Now Than It Used To Be? Well, as we said in a previous blog post “Sure, maybe one MBE administration has a few questions that stump most of the examinees. This isn’t indicative of a trend on the MBE.”
Subjects within the MBE
Then there is the question of are specific subjects on the MBE that are harder or getting harder? The MBE tests seven subjects: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. Civil Procedure is a recent addition to the MBE that many students struggle with. The subject is hard and the fact patterns tend to be quite long. Because it’s new there’s not a lot of real questions to practice with, which leaves test-takers relying heavily on the questions their bar prep company made up for them. While this is still somewhat helpful, nothing beats the real thing. Students can become overreliant on the “fake” questions that don’t reflect the difficulty of the real MBE Civil Procedure questions. This leads them to struggle with the subject matter on the actual exam. If you’re struggling with Civil Procedure MBE questions, check out these tips!
Setting aside the relatively recent addition of Civil Procedure to the MBE, evidence suggests many students struggle with property questions (cue obligatory rule against perpetuities joke). For that reason, we encourage you to check out this post on key real property topics tested on the MBE.
Another consideration is whether your test prep materials are accurately reflecting the difficulty of the MBE in order to properly prepare you for the real exam! As mentioned above, many bar prep companies draft their own MBE questions for students to practice with. While this can be a helpful tool to study with, you should always incorporate real and recent MBE questions into your studying as well. If you’re performing well on drafted questions that aren’t as hard as the real exam, you are likely to feel that the MBE on exam day was challenging. However, by using real MBE questions throughout your studying, you are able to acclimate to the level of difficulty expected from each of those questions. Check out the reasons we encourage you to use real MBE questions in your bar prep!
Additionally, there is also the age-old question as to whether the February bar exam is “easier” than the July (or September/October) bar exam. For example, in New York, the February 2020 bar exam had an overall pass rate of 40%, whereas the October 2020 bar exam had an overall pass rate of 84%. Ultimately, we know that one difference between the February bar exam and the July bar exam is that at least in New York, the February bar exam is colder.
What Does Work
Instead of wondering whether or not the MBE is getting harder, remember, the best defense remains a good offense. Check out this free MBE Guide. Visit our “QBank” to get access to real MBE questions promulgated by the NCBE. Take an MBE class and look at those areas that students struggle with the most. In short, study hard and study smart!
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