Six Overlooked UBE Tips
Many students realize too late that they should have studied differently for the Uniform Bar Exam. In this post, we provide six overlooked UBE tips that will help you pass the Uniform Bar Exam!
Six Overlooked UBE Tips
1. Practice timing.
If you don’t pass the bar exam, you want it to be because it is a hard test, and not because you simply ran out of time! If you have ever struggled with timing on exams during your education, start working on this crucial skill early! Time yourself as you work on practice multiple choice questions, essays, and performance tests.
On the written portion of the UBE, you will have three hours to answer six Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) essays. This breaks down to approximately 30 minutes per essay. As you are studying, you should ALWAYS time yourself when you complete practice essays. You don’t want to give yourself a false sense of accomplishment if you write a great essay, but take 45 minutes to do it and can’t replicate those efforts the day of the exam!
As for the multiple choice portion, you will have three hours in the morning to answer 100 questions and three hours in the afternoon to answer another 100 questions. This breaks down to approximately 1.8 minutes per question. There is huge benefit to doing multiple choice questions slowly and methodically as you are learning the material, but it is important to incorporate some timed sets throughout your study. This does not mean that you should sit down and take a six-hour MBE test every other day. Rather, try doing smaller sets of questions under timed conditions (e.g., 10 questions in 18 minutes).
2. Use real, released MBE questions when you practice.
Many students overlook the value of real, released MBE questions as they are preparing for the bar exam. So this is the second of our six overlooked UBE tips — though it may in fact be the most overlooked tip! Many courses write their own practice MBE questions, but the NCBE has released actual MBE questions from old exams that you can use to practice. There are a number of reasons why we recommend using real, released MBE questions as you practice . . .
- First, you will get used to the format of the multistate bar exam. You will be more familiar with the style, length, and complexity of the questions.
- Second, you will see how the NCBE tests specific areas of the law.
- Third, you will know what level of difficulty to expect on the exam. Original questions are frequently much easier or much harder than the actual bar exam questions, and thus do not adequately prepare you for the exam.
- Fourth, you will feel more confident going into the bar exam knowing exactly what to expect.
If your bar prep course does not utilize real MBE questions and you are wondering how to get your hands on real questions, check out this post on Where to Find Real MBE Questions.
Many students attend the lecture and then jump straight into practice questions. This misses a crucial step in the studying process – memorization. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to spend time memorizing the law prior to doing practice questions. Otherwise, you will not know the law that you are attempting to apply!
Some students take the approach that if they see a certain law tested enough times within practice questions, it will eventually stick. Although this might be true, a much more efficient approach is to memorize the “big picture” and then try to fit all the little pieces into it – more of it will stick this way! JD Advising has multiple resources on how to memorize, such as this explanation for How to Memorize Bar Exam Outlines or these Memorization Tips for Visual Learners.
4. Self-grade your practice essays.
Self-grading is the process of comparing your essay answer to the model answer and grading it yourself. Self-grading will improve your MEE score more than simply writing a practice essay and either handing it in or never looking at it again because self-grading will allow you to internalize the feedback you give yourself and you will remember it better.
As you are self-grading, things you should look for include whether you spotted all of the issues, whether you stated the rule correctly, whether your analysis focused on the same facts as the model answer, and whether you reached the correct conclusion. Check out our Tips to Self-Grade an MEE for additional information.
Self-grading allows you to turn practice essays from simply a measuring stick to see how much you know into a learning experience from which you can improve your MEE score. Self-grading should draw attention to the things that you missed or stated incorrectly, highlighting what you need to spend more time as you continue studying. It should also give you an idea of how you can write or structure future essays differently to improve your score. As you get closer to the bar exam, you should see that you miss fewer and fewer issues in your essays and that your essays are improving, increasing your chance to get a fantastic score on the MEE!
5. Focus on the highly tested material.
There is far too much material that could potentially appear on the Uniform Bar Exam to try to memorize all of it. Therefore, the best and most efficient approach is to focus on the subjects and topics that appear more frequently so that you are most prepared for what is most likely to appear on the exam.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners has provided a breakdown of the topics that appear on the MBE. In Torts, for instance, the NCBE has stated that 50% of the multiple choice questions will focus on negligence. The other 50% of the Torts multiple choice questions will come from the other parts of the Torts material (intentional torts, products liability, other torts, etc.). With this in mind, it is much more important to spend time learning and memorizing all the nuances of negligence than it is to focus on something less highly tested, such as defamation. Check out this breakdown of the Most Highly tested MBE Topics for further guidance on where you should spend the most time studying.
Our MEE guide depicts the subjects that are more frequently tested on the MEE. Civil Procedure is the most highly tested subject, while Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure don’t come up as often as the others. While you should not ignore any of the subjects that could be tested on the MEE, spending more time on the highly tested subjects will increase your chances of success!
6. Don’t ignore the MPT!
Many students do not devote a significant amount of time to preparing for the Multistate Performance Test, or MPT. In UBE jurisdictions, the MPT is worth 20% of the total bar exam score. That is the equivalent of 70 multiple choice questions! It is important that you not only approach the MPT with a plan of attack, but also that you try some practice MPTs to become comfortable with how you will execute that plan of attack on the day of the exam. These skills can be honed throughout practice and take your MPT score from good to great (which could be the difference between passing and failing!)
We hope you enjoyed these UBE tips! Looking for more help with the Uniform Bar Exam? JD Advising offers tons of resources, which you can read about below!
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