For the MBE, I often see bar takers trying to seek endless questions and debating minutiae like AdaptiBar vs UWorld.
Instead, you want to know the rules cold. This doesn’t just mean memorizing the general rule. It means knowing sub-issues like the elements, exceptions, possible defenses, and other nuances so you can hone in on and eliminate choices better.
The more nuanced your understanding of the rules, the clearer the choices, and the fewer ultimate 50/50 decisions you’ll be forced to make.
A relatively general understanding of the law can be enough for essays (as they are more about issue identification). The MBE is more focused on testing the specific ins and outs of the rules—and of course, knowing how to use those rules.
That’s how you could be one of those bar takers who are stellar at the written portion (essays and PT) but still struggle with the MBE.
But we can address this!
If you’re struggling with the MBE, consider these approaches:
These are short but essential tips if you want to succeed on the MBE.
Really understand what’s being tested by the MBE question by studying the answer explanations.
Advanced: Memorize the questions and answer explanations at AdaptiBar. It’s a demanding exercise, but if you’re struggling with the portion of the bar exam that’s 50% of your score, you need to do what you can. You can print and carry your practice sets and explanations so you can test yourself while standing in line at Starbucks.
Redo questions until you get them correct even weeks later.
If you do the same questions again, you WILL get some of them wrong, even though you may have assumed you “got” it after the first try.
Redoing the problems is an underrated tactic and has several benefits as discussed here. Unfortunately, some people will gloss over this idea and go back to asking where they can get more questions.
Memorize (and understand) the minute details of the rules.
Example: Tort battery has multiple elements, one of which is “harmful or offensive contact with P’s person.”
On the MBE, you may want to know:
(i) P’s person includes P himself or something closely connected to P (like a purse), and
(ii) The standard for the contact is that it would be offensive to a reasonable person (unless the defendant knew that the plaintiff was particularly susceptible).
In an essay, you’d create a heading for “battery,” recite the general rule for battery, create a sub-heading for the “harmful or offensive contact” element, and further define the rule for it (including what P’s person includes, if relevant to the facts).
If you don’t know these details, you might be led astray by a distractor choice of a question that tests one of these nuances on the MBE (or leave points on the table for the essay).
How do you memorize?