Biggest Areas of the MBE to Focus On (Highly Tested Topics)

The MBE isn’t just a mixed bag of questions. It’s actually not even an evenly distributed bag of questions.

There are some topics that are tested disproportionately and more frequently on the MBE! Not all questions are equally important.

💡 There are just THREE highest-priority topics…

💡 These top 3 tested topics EACH account for over a whopping 7% of your score (over 21% total)!

💡 What can you do with the lower-priority topics?

But these takeaways are not that obvious if you simply skim through the NCBE’s subject matter outline. The language isn’t as clear or intuitive. Let’s break this down into charts so we can visualize it better.

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Underutilized Strategies for Fixing a Poor MBE Score

Someone wrote in to ask about improving his low MBE score:

“Hope all is well with you. It has been awhile since we last spoke. Unfortunately,  I was not able to pass the bar. It was quite a horrible moment.

If possible, I wanted to get your thoughts on how to effectively study for the MBE? I scored between 55%-60% on Uworld. However,  I did very poorly on the day of the exam. The questions were much harder than expected. I’ve come to realize the multiple choice is a weak spot for me more than the essays right now. Just needed a bit of your guidance on how to study for them. In addition, how should really repeaters now study for the bar?”

Here’s my pointed answer:

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101 Rules for Bar Exam Preparation

Here’s a list of 101 quick bullets on preparing for the bar exam.

Your answer is probably somewhere in here if you ever feel like asking the worst questions in the world:

  • “Do you have any advice?” (only if there’s enough context)
  • “Can you help?” (can you help?)
  • “Thoughts?” (a minimalist reply seems rude but tempting)
  • “HELP!” “Let’s connect” (?)
  • Anything with more than one question mark in a row unironically

If you have the Magicsheets & Approsheets suite, you already have access to the exclusive pocket guide “17 Strategies to Get Un-stuck and Un-frustrated by the Bar Exam.”

I tried something even more straight to the point.

Why 101? I wanted to do something contrived like 100 and ended up with 1 more (say hi to your OCD for me). I’ll probably update this in the future. This is an amorphous and evolving draft. Nothing is set in stone. Things change. Things get better. Same with your bar prep.

Feel free to disagree with any point. Advice is autobiography. Advice is never one-size-fits-all. Take what you like and leave the rest.

If some rules seem contradictory, that’s where interesting things happen.

Let me know which parts you agree with, parts you disagree with, or contradictions you thought about on your own and resolved.

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3 Strategies I Used as a Repeater to Study for the Bar Exam: Fight for Simplicity!

I went on a Zoom call to discuss how to study for the bar exam. If you’re just starting out, you may be lost on what the right way to do this all is.

So I distilled three key strategies from what I did differently to pass the California Bar Exam on my second attempt. These are applicable to all jurisdictions and whether you’re taking a bar exam for the first time or you’re a repeater.

Here’s the recording (volume/quality warning):

Slides (with links and coupons)

Giveaway link (enter by 11:59 PM PT on Thurs, May 20, 2021)

Writeup & timestamps below…

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How Stan Finally Passed the Bar Exam Using Proven Bar Preparation Strategies (Anyone Can Do This!)

I recently had a back-and-forth with Stan, yet another reader who passed the (online/remote) 2020 October California Bar Exam on his 5th try.

When I asked to showcase his incredible personal journey, Stan offered to rewrite his emails into a more comprehensive story with approaches he discovered, his realizations, and specific study tips to help others join him beyond the bar.

Some of my favorite impressions among many:

✅ Respecting the exam is important but so is enjoying the process

Practice as if it were the real thing. Do the real thing as if it were practice—with confidence

Bar prep doesn’t have to be expensive

✅ Use the right approach to focus on what’s important

✅ The mental aspect (discipline, grit, fear, and doubt) can be what hinders you more than anything

Enough about my impressions. It’s time for yours. Here’s Stan’s story on what he did to finally pass the bar exam.

No substantive edits made except adding relevant links and [comments in brackets] and writing out some abbreviations.

One for Five: How I Finally Passed the Bar Exam

After I told Brian about my journey to passing the Oct 2020 California bar exam, he was gracious enough to offer me a chance to share my story on his blog.  I discovered Brian’s website by searching stories on how people passed the exam.  I’d bet that’s pretty common.

Before we get into my story, please know my only intent is to show you if I can pass, you absolutely can too.  I’m not special, nor am I looking for credit or praise of any kind.  I’m just an ordinary guy from LA who took the bar exam five times, dealing with life along the way.

Everyone’s journey to passing the bar is unique.  What worked for me might not necessarily work for you.  But I would bet a quality everyone needs is discipline.  My story is a cautionary tale of why discipline should always be where bar prep starts and ends.

The October 2020 California bar exam was my fifth attempt, but I was finally ready to pass.  Let me tell you why you should never think you’re not smart enough or good enough to pass, or that it must not be meant for you.

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