I scored low on the Barbri Simulated MBE Exam. What Should I do?
If you are like most students, if you scored low on the Barbri simulated MBE, you may be tempted to freak out, start answering 100 questions a day, and neglect other parts of your bar study – like learning outlines or practicing essays.
But, that is the exact opposite of what you need to do! If you scored low on the Barbri simulated MBE exam, here is what you need to do:
Steps to take if you Scored Low on the Barbri Simulated MBE
1. First, go through your MBE practice exam slowly and methodically.
Go through each question on the simulated MBE. For each question you got wrong (or got right for the wrong reason), write down why you got it wrong on a notepad or legal pad. If you forgot the four elements of a dying declaration, write down the four elements of a dying declaration. If you answered a question wrong because you misread the facts, write that down. This may take some time, but it is a way to actively learn the law. Further, now you have some data to work with.
2. Review the legal pad and “quiz yourself.”
Now you have your legal pad full of all the law you didn’t know and the reasons you answered questions incorrectly. Use this to quiz yourself. For example, cover up the elements of dying declaration and see if you can state them. Go through the legal pad again and again until you have learned everything. You should feel a little bit better.
(Also, make a note to review this legal pad later so that you do not forget anything!)
3. Go back to your legal pad and look for patterns in why you are answering questions wrong.
You may have already detected some patterns while you were quizzing yourself.
Did you keep getting hearsay questions wrong? Or negligence questions wrong? If so, go back to your lecture or outline to try to learn those areas of law better. If you did not find the lecture helpful and if you hate your outline, consider looking at a different outline. Or consider bar exam private tutoring. The first step to improving your score (on the MBE and the essays!) is to learn the law. There is no shortcut to learning the law! Once you have a better grasp on these areas of law, you will find your score improving.
Note that learning the law entails both understanding it and memorizing it. If you have trouble understanding (which might also mean you have trouble applying the law), consider bar exam private tutoring. If it is memorizing you struggle with, read this post on how to memorize your bar exam outlines.
4. Continue to practice MBE questions and give yourself the same feedback.
Work on questions in both timed and untimed settings. Don’t go crazy trying to answer 100 questions a day. Instead, focus on quality and focus on reviewing when you answer questions incorrectly.
At this point, you should also read this step-by-step guide to improving your MBE score. (Also if you are interested in getting MBE tips emailed to you up until the bar exam, sign up for our MBE strategies tips here.)
Want a do-over of your MBE simulated exam? Check out our 200-question exam here. It is much better than Barbri’s because it is composed of REAL MBE questions. So it will be a better indicator of how you will score. Read this post on why a simulated MBE composed of real questions is much better than a simulated MBE composed of course-invented questions.
We also highly recommend you check out our MBE Favorites series, which will give you an upper edge on the bar exam. We cover five highly tested topics in each MBE subject to help you quickly boost your MBE score! As a bonus, you get the NCBE-released questions for free!
5. Make essays one of your top priorities.
This may sound weird if you are struggling with the MBE, but PLEASE DO NOT neglect the written portion of your exam. This is a huge – and super-common – mistake we see students make.
Please do not forget that in every state (including UBE states), the most your MBE score is worth is 50%. Unless you are in Kentucky (in which case you need a 132 to pass the Kentucky bar), you do not need a minimum score to pass the MBE. This means you can score lower on the MBE and higher on the essays, and still pass.
Note that the states where the MBE is not worth 50%, it is worth less than 50%! These states are:
- Delaware (it is worth 40%),
- Maine (36%),
- Maryland (33%),
- Mississippi (40%),
- Nevada (33%),
- North Carolina (40%),
- Ohio (33%),
- Pennsylvania (45%),
- Texas (40%), and
- Virginia (40%).
Note: Louisiana does not administer the MBE (but it does administer a 21-hour, three-day exam…). Make sure to check out this post for the latest updates on states’ MBE scores or check your states’ website, do not rely solely on this post because states change the scores frequently!
See this post to figure out the minimum MBE score you need to pass the exam.
If you struggle with the MBE, perhaps essays are your strength – or perhaps you can make them a strength! We have some clients who come to us because they have low percentiles on the Barbri simulated MBE. But they work very hard on the essays to balance out any low MBE score. Who cares how you pass, you just want to pass!
So while you may be tempted to only work on the MBE, please do not do this! Dedicate time each day to work on the essay portion of the bar exam. In fact, if you have been ignoring the written portion, dedicate substantial time to it. If writing is your strength, you can make rapid improvement on the essays with less effort.
Also, check out this post on what to do instead of the Barbri simulated MBE.
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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