Updated April 20 2023. Originally published April 20 2023
The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) section of the Uniform Bar Exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions—175 scored, and 25 unscored pretest questions; the latter indistinguishable from the others.
The 175 scored questions on the MBE are distributed evenly, with 25 questions from each of the seven subject areas: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. Candidates have to choose from four possible answers, but it's not as easy as it seems.
The best way to ensure you pass the MBE is to properly prepare for the exam. Here are several helpful tips how:
Learn How to Approach Each Question
Before reading each question, look at the "call of the question," which is the statement or inquiry that follows the mini fact pattern in most MBE questions. The call usually gives away the subject, and can help you better understand the question and focus on the most important information. If the call is nondescript (e.g. “How is the court likely to rule?"), head to the fact pattern and look for keywords that can tip you off as to what subject you’re in. If they tell you a someone purchased a car under a written contract, you’ll know it’s a contracts question and that UCC Article 2 applies. If they tell you that a state statute makes certain activity a felony, you’ll know it’s a criminal law. Then, carefully read the question with the subject in mind, circling and underlining the most important information, so you don't get distracted. Identify every legal issue that might be raised based on the details they’ve given in the fact pattern, and then revisit the call of the question. In many cases, you’ll have identified the legal issues that relate to the call and you’ll know the answer before you even look at the answer choices.
Process of Elimination
The National Conference of Board Examiners (NCBE) uses tricky language toconfuse examinees. It may offer a choice that contains a correct statement of law, but not the appropriate law for the fact pattern presented in the question. Avoid being fooled by using the process of elimination to eliminate as many confusing answer choices as possible. Even eliminating one or two incorrect answer choices will significantly boost your chances of getting the question right.
To pass the MBE, you must practice. Do as many practice questions as you can to improve your skills and overall test-taking speed. Remember: Timing counts on the MBE! Practice will also increase your familiarity with the test's language, which will make you more comfortable and more likely to spot incorrect answers. It's important to understand why you've gotten specific questions wrong, too. This will help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
Signing up for a bar review course is a great way to help you pass the MBE. Such programs teach you the subjects and issues on the MBE, as well as tips and tricks about how to best answer its multiple-choice questions. You'll also be able to apply your skills and test your progress on thousands of MBE practice questions.
If you're still getting a majority of practice MBE questions wrong, sign up for atutor specializing in preparing candidates for the MBE. This expert will help to identify and overcome problem areas to improve your skills and MBE score.
Pieper's Question of the Daydelivers one free sample MBE question to your email inbox every single morning for you to answer or to save for later. This daily reminder is designed to keep you focused on the task at hand, and get you more acquainted with common topics and principles tested on the MBE. Sign up for the question of the day here.
As a first time bar exam taker, if you don't pass the Uniform Bar Exam after completing Pieper's Full Bar Review Course, you can re-take our next course for free!
Pieper Bar Review teaches students the legal concepts and exam skills necessary for success on the bar exam, and reinforces students’ knowledge through thought-provoking examples and bar exam questions. Pieper’s courses do more than teach the material to students. They enable students to master concepts as they are tested so that students can excel within the time constraints of the exam. The proof that the Pieper teaching method works is found in the success of our former students—now present-day attorneys. Ask them, and you’ll learn why Pieper People Pass.