February 2018 bar exam statistics for the multistate bar exam (MBE) portion were recently released and the results were dismal. The average MBE score fell to an all-time low of 132. This is the lowest it has been in bar exam history.
There is a lot of speculation about why results were so bad. We have also received questions from July bar exam takers who wonder how they should approach the July bar exam given the February 2018 bar exam statistics.
We are not sure how the July 2018 MBE statistics will look. However, if you are taking the July 2018 bar exam, instead of worrying about what the MBE statistics will be, just make sure you are doing everything you can to pass the bar exam!
Given the February 2018 bar exam statistics, a few tips we have for July 2018 bar exam takers are as follows.
Tips for July 2018 bar exam takers given the dismal February 2018 bar exam statistics:
Make sure to use released MBE questions.
Many commercial courses do not provide released MBE questions (or if they do, they provided outdated MBE questions from the 1970’s — and these are simply not helpful!). Make sure to get ahold of released questions that reflect the style and format of today’s bar exam. You can read about several sources for real MBE questions here and you can get the most recently released MBE questions with answer explanations right on our website here.
After writing our post about February 2018 bar exam statistics as well as a few other recent posts, we have heard from several readers who either commented on the posts or emailed us, telling us that they saw several questions that were very similar to NCBE-released questions. A few said they recognized 8-10 questions immediately from the NCBE-released questions.
So it is very worth it to make sure you get these real questions and hopefully be on the upper end of whatever the MBE curve is in July!
Do not ignore the essay portion of the exam.
No matter how scary the MBE is, remember in most states it is worth 50% of your score – and you can definitely make up for a few lost points on the MBE with a stellar essay score. A lot of bar exam takers worry so much about the MBE that they neglect to study properly for the essay portion. And oftentimes, it is much easier to quickly improve an essay score than an MBE score!
We had a student who, before retaining us, scored low on the bar exam – a 110 on the MBE and a 130 on the essay portion. We read her essays and told her that she was an excellent writer. She had only about a month and a half before the bar exam and we knew it would be difficult for her to increase her MBE score the 25 points she needed to pass. So while we did not neglect the MBE portion, we paid extra attention to her essays, as we knew she could make substantial progress if she memorized the highly tested issues. This was a risky plan but we thought it was her only chance of passing the bar exam that administration. She ended up getting a 150 of the essay portion and a 120 on the MBE portion and passed the bar exam.
We do not recommend that you only focus on the essay portion. But certainly, make sure you are not neglecting it. If the MBE is worth 50% and the essay portion is worth 50% (which is true in most states), then spend 50% of your time on the MBE and 50% of your time on the essay portion. Many students divide their time 80/20 or even 90/10, then they wonder why they fail the bar exam.
Remember that bar exam statistics are based on thousands of people and do not indicate how you will perform on the exam.
Bar exam statistics are based on several thousand students. So a low MBE statistic does not mean that you personally will score on the MBE. Even in Pennsylvania, where MBE statistics were posted, someone scored a 188! The best thing you can do is focus on your preparation and try not to get too sidetracked by doom-and-gloom statistics or posts!
These are just a few tips for July 2018 bar exam takers given the dismal February 2018 statistics!
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