Which MBE Supplements Should You Get?

There are many MBE supplements out there, although only a few come to mind as the leaders of the space:

  • AdaptiBar
  • UWorld
  • the Strategies & Tactics for the MBE book

They can all help you raise your MBE score, but how do you choose which one(s) to use? There’s a balance of price, features, and the number of questions.

Here’s what you should consider:

Option 1 – AdaptiBar or UWorld

Someone had a succinct dilemma about this:

Good dilemma (and choice of outlines). 

AdaptiBar and UWorld are both online platforms to help you study for the MBE. They both draw on past exam (real) questions licensed from the NCBE, but each one has its own simulated questions.

Since MBE subjects do double duty and take up most of your score (since essays test them too), both of these are amazing resources if you want extra help, learning tools, and a big bank of questions to practice for the MBE.

Not sure which one is right for you? You can find a comparison of AdaptiBar vs. UWorld here.

But don’t agonize over the “best” tool. Both are the best. Be concerned about being the best student instead.

Weigh the pros and cons, and MOVE. Either can work. It’s not what you use but how you use it. It depends on you, not the tool.

Whatever you choose, use them properly using these strategies, and you’ll be well on your way to seeing higher scores on your next practice sets:

  1. Quality of review (quantity without sacrificing the learning)
  2. Track performance by subject and topic
  3. Primarily focus on real questions, but also bring in simulated questions to grind problem areas

But first, make sure you want to use one of these in the first place. They’re both helpful MBE supplements, but they aren’t the only options out there.

Option 2 – Strategies & Tactics for the MBE

There are yet other choices… For example, you could use the excellent Strategies & Tactics for the MBE by Steven Emanuel, which comes with hundreds of past exam questions and a 200-question practice exam.

It has fewer questions than either AdaptiBar or UWorld but comes with excellent explanations for under $100. S&T also comes with a primer for each subject which guides you on how to approach each subject.

I personally didn’t do well on the MBE (50-60% during practice) my first time prepping.

My second time around, I used only the S&T book above (Volume 1), S&T Volume 2 (new 4th edition is out), and Barbri questions to pass the 3-day California Bar Exam, using the key strategies I outlined above:

  1. Quality of review. I didn’t use tons of questions, around 800-1000. This is not to say 800 is enough for you. More is better, just not if you’re going through the motions and not taking anything away from your work. I improved without doing thousands of questions.
    • If you run out of questions… Just redo them. I guarantee you that you won’t get all of them right again.
  2. Track performance by subject and topic. Overall percentages don’t reveal specific areas you might be awesome in and areas you should improve. I used a simple spreadsheet, available in Passer’s Playbook. AdaptiBar and UWorld can do this for you, too.
  3. Primarily focus on real questions, but also bring in simulated questions to grind problem areas. I used S&T + Barbri questions to grind. Now we have great tools like AdaptiBar and UWorld.

“Just tell me which supplement to get for my MBE practice”

If your question is “do I NEED X?” the answer is NO.

All supplements are merely there to support your learning. Pick what will help you. Bar prep is personal.

Will X help?” Probably! But everyone’s different. 

Everything has pros and cons and works depending on you. I broke down everything in exhaustive detail in review articles so you can make informed choices (AdaptiBar review, UWorld review).

Again, instead of fixating on which is the “best” tool, focus on being the best student. These are all the best tools. Make independent choices for your bar prep.

Next, I will skip questions like “how many questions/essays/PTs do I need to do to pass?” or at least grind my teeth and judge you while I do my best to answer nicely.

Dude, how should I know? This isn’t a stamp card.

That said, I’ll narrow it down for you: 

The most you should go for is (1) either AdaptiBar or UWorld + (2) S&T. In most cases, (1) alone should suffice. 

If you’re budget-strapped and pretty confident about multiple choice, (2) could work. (2) is also good if you like working with a paper format. Also consider Volume 2 of S&T.

In the end, you can’t really go wrong with any of these MBE supplements. Each of these will help you as long as it fits what you’re looking for and you use it to learn from it.

No one can teach you. You can only learn.

Again, the tool itself is only a means to an end. Even if you have the “best” tool, whether you succeed on the MBE depends on how you use the tool. Just having the best tennis racquet won’t let you beat Serena Williams. It will come down to your technique and training.

To that end, I expand on some of my key strategies for the MBE here.

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