How to Study for the MBE at the last minute! We know it is not ideal to study for the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) at the last minute. However, many students find themselves panicking or not feeling sure of how to approach the MBE and they wonder what they can do near the very end to boost their score.
In this post, we give you some tips to maximize your efficiency if you find yourself tackling the MBE at the last minute or looking for some last minute MBE boosters.
How to Study for the MBE at the Last Minute:
1. Focus on the highly tested topics.
Subjects are treated equally on the MBE but topics are not.
If you are studying for the MBE at the last minute, you need to spend your time where it is most likely to get you the most points. That is, you should be reviewing negligence, relevancy, hearsay, contract formation, etc.
You should NOT be reviewing present and future interest, the Rule Against Perpetuities, and other topics that will be tested with just one or a few questions on the MBE.
To see the most highly tested topics on the MBE, see this post. We also have a beautiful chart that summarizes these topics below.
2. Work on memorization and review.
Instead of trying to answer 100 questions a day (which is not a winning strategy) work on memorizing and reviewing the law — particularly for the highly tested topics.
So, for example, if you are spending time on negligence. Go through the entire portion of your outline on negligence. Actively review it! (See this post on how memorize your bar exam outlines if you are tempted to just “read” your outlines – as reading can be very ineffective.) Make a lovely chart of negligence topics. Color code your outline. Quiz yourself on it. And go through it again and again until you know it well.
Do not try to type out your whole outline. Do not make flashcards. Do not look at five outlines for the same subject and try to cross-reference the law every five seconds. Those things are too time consuming at this point. Instead, work with the outline you have and make sure you know it cold by using less time-consuming strategies mentioned above.
Spend time doing this each day with all of the highly tested topics.
3. Answer MBE questions each day – and dissect the ones you do not answer correctly.
Do not make the mistake of racing through 100 questions a day, never looking over your answers, and praying for your score to improve. It won’t. Instead, take time to go through MBE questions every day – maybe 20-40 depending on how many you have done so far and where you are in your prep – and dissect them.
We highly recommend you use real MBE questions when you do this, especially if you have only been using questions invented by Barbri, Kaplan, or Themis up until now. Using real MBE questions will go a long way toward boosting your score.
As a bonus, you can get the most recently released 210 REAL MBE questions for free if you download our MBE Favorites series, which a lot of students are using their last week of bar prep. (Not only do you get all 210 questions but you also get a 20-30 minute overview of the Examiners’ “favorite” MBE questions to test per subject. We cover a total of 35 questions. It is a great way to get out of an MBE rut!
When you answer MBE questions, answer them one by one. Answer them slowly. When you answer one incorrectly, write down the reason you answered it incorrectly on a legal pad. (If you did not know the law, write down the law you didn’t know – and go back to your outline and find it! If you did not read the facts carefully, write that down.) This way, you can identify some topics you may need to personally review. You can also find patterns in other reasons you may be getting questions wrong and address these head-on. Read this post on how to improve your MBE score for the exact process to do this.
It is important to do some questions “slowly” and untimed because these can reveal a lot about why you answer questions incorrectly. It can also help you develop the strategies and the law that you need to answer any similar questions correctly in the future. It is a much better strategy than just racing through 100 questions a day because you are actually learning as you go along and correcting your weaknesses.
4. Practice MBE questions in a timed setting.
Do not take a full, timed MBE on the weekend before or the day before the bar exam. (Please! You will make yourself anxious if you happen not to score high.) Instead, do this 5-10 days before the bar exam. You can answer 33 questions in an hour, or 66 in two hours, or 100 in three hours. The important thing is that you practicing your timing on the MBE. This is for a few reasons:
- First, you want to make sure you get your timing down (if you run out of time, it does not matter how well you know the law for those questions you do not have time to answer!).
- Second, you may be able to identify other mistakes you make. For example, if you tend to answer a lot of questions incorrectly in the beginning, anxiety may be the cause. (Some anxious students will have much more trouble with the beginning of the exam rather than the end.) If you happen to answer a lot of questions incorrectly toward the end of the exam then fatigue or timing could be the reason. If fatigue is the reason, you can make sure on exam day to refocus yourself (drink some water, stretch, etc.) as it gets later in the section to combat fatigue. If timing is the reason, read some tips to improve your timing.
- Third, it will boost your confidence for exam day if you know you have the timing aspect of it down. Mentally preparing for the MBE and knowing you can complete the task in the time allotted can help you calm down – and answer more questions correctly!
5. Don’t neglect the written portion of the exam.
In most states, the MBE is worth 50% of your score – and in states where it is not worth 50%, it is worth less! See this post if you are curious about that.
What that means is that the written portion is ALSO worth 50% of your score. Many students get so “bogged down” worrying about the MBE that they neglect the written portion where they could pick up substantially more points – especially at the last minute!
This is not to say you should ignore the MBE if it is getting close to the end. This is to say, please do not ignore the written portion of your exam. Especially if you have been semi-neglecting it up until now.
It is not only possible but it is extremely common to get a high written score and make up for a low MBE score. (We recently had a student who was a great writer and needed a lot of help on the MBE — we focused on her strength, writing, and her written score ended up being a 165! This means she could have gotten a scaled score of 105 on the MBE– in the bottom 1st percentile — and still passed the bar exam!)
And it bears repeating: It is also much easier to improve your written score at the last minute than it is to substantially improve your MBE score. If you are interested in improving your written score, check out these posts on:
- how to improve your Multistate Essay Exam score at the last minute, and
- how to improve your Multistate Performance Test score at the last minute.
If you are in an UBE or MEE jurisdiction, we recommend you purchase our MEE one-sheets or Multistate Essay Exam seminar or signing up for our MEE course if you are looking for a very efficient approach to the MEE. Or if you are not interested in spending money, we at least recommend you practice writing MEEs and MPT’s each day and check out our myriad free blogs!! It is a worthy investment of time – especially if it means not having to retake the bar!!
While studying for the MBE at the last minute is not ideal, if you keep these principles in mind you can gain some points in your last-minute MBE studying! If you have any questions on how to study for the MBE at the last minute, feel free to contact us here!
Looking for additional MBE help?
If you are looking for MBE help, read our 10 expert MBE tips here. Check out our step-by-step guide to improving your MBE score, please review this post for an overview of tips. This is a great free MBE resource. If you would like to receive our MBE tip of the day emailed to you, please fill out the form below.
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