These random questions and the novel strange legal vocabulary that was apparently used in some questions on the multistate bar exam questions for the February 2016 bar exam is causing quite a bit of anxiety in some students who are still feeling anxious about bar exam results and can’t help but wonder if they prepared enough for the bar exam or if they passed or if they are going crazy.
If you feel this way, then this announcement by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) — the organization that writes the multiple-choice questions — may help explain why (and ease your anxiety).
The NCBE recently made this announcement:
Effective with the February 2017 administration, there will be changes to the Real Property scope of coverage for the MBE and the MEE. The Real Property topics will be slightly reordered and revised.
New topics will include conflicts of law (I.D.4.); property owners’ associations and common interest ownership communities (II.A.6.); drafting, review, and negotiation of closing documents (V.B.3.); and persons authorized to execute real estate documents (V.B.4.).
Minor modifications will include providing specific examples of rules affecting future interests (I.A.2.e.); including security deposits in termination of tenancies (I.C.4.); providing more detailed zoning topics (II.D.1.–3.); and including as separate topics transfers of restrictive covenants (II.A.4.), transfers of easements, profits, and licenses (II.B.4.), and acceleration of loans before foreclosure (IV.E.2.).
Note that the Real Property topics will no longer include (1) application of Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to fixtures (previously included in II.C.) or (2) abatement of devises (previously V.C.5.).
What does this announcement mean?
So basically, effective 2017, the NCBE will get rid of a couple minor details about fixtures and abatement that they decided you do not need to know, then add 20 other nuances to know!
We will of course be updating our Real Property outline prior to the February 2017 bar exam so that students can enthusiastically learn all of these nuances about zoning topics, security deposits, property owners’ associations, and other things they never teach you in law school. (As if Real Property isn’t detailed and brutal enough as it is!)
But the point is, if you took the February 2016 bar exam (and are worried about some of the questions you saw on the above topics), they were test questions! That is, they are still in the “test phase” so that the NCBE can see how many students get the questions right and which questions they should use (and which questions they should throw away) when it actually counts in someone’s score. (Remember, 190 of the 200 questions on the MBE are scored — ten questions are not graded each administration!)
So, to sum this up, if you saw some questions that fit the above categories on the February 2016 bar exam, then: (1) It was not in your head and you are not going crazy, (2) You did prepare enough, and (3) Whether you answered them correctly will not affect your overall score so stop worrying about it! So if you circled “B” and moved on, it shouldn’t affect your score (at least right now!)
Or if you are taking the July 2016 bar exam, do not freak out if you see some odd questions about conflicts, closing documents, or zoning on the MBE. Again, they are still in the “test question” phase now.
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