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, and the Strategies & Tactics for the MBE book.

To decide which one(s) you may like, I condensed some of my key strategies for the MBE and looked into which resources could help you hit them all:

  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

Here are the options and what you should consider in choosing them:

Option 1 – UWorld vs. AdaptiBar

UWorld is a great resource to help you do all of the above, with everything you need to support your MBE preparation:

  • Find real questions and other questions written using the current MBE style. UWorld offers 1,375+ of the newest licensed questions & hundreds of simulated questions in the current format for 2,000+ questions total
  • Visual, intuitive explanations. Great for visual learners or for looking at a concept in a different way to reinforce the material
  • Analytics and other tools to surgically target your weak areas
  • Memorization tools, such as custom spaced-repetition flashcards
  • Budget friendly. Use this link (or use code MTYLT10) to get started for $40 off.

If you’re enrolled in Themis, UWorld comes with it already.

AdaptiBar was the reigning resource for the MBE before UWorld entered the block. Another good supplement:

  • 1,758 licensed questions including the ones with older testing styles, 1,900+ questions total
  • Analytics to surgically target your weak areas (also has adaptive technology to automatically vary the difficulty of questions…hence the name). You can also compare your performance to other users, which may be a pro or a con depending on your stance on “comparison is the thief of joy”
  • Revisit questions you got right
  • Optional lectures you can add on
  • Use this promo code to get $30 off ($365) (I’ll email it to you since they don’t want me posting the code publicly)

Whatever you decide to do, implement the above three keys with the right tools, and you’ll be well on your way to seeing higher scores on your next practice sets.

Not sure which of these tools is right for you?

Someone had a succinct dilemma about this:

Good dilemma (and choice of outlines). 

Key feature for UWorld is visual learning. Key feature for AdaptiBar is a bigger bank of licensed questions and robust analytics that provide data.

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.

But first, make sure you want to use one of these in the first place. They’re both helpful MBE supplements, but you don’t NEED to use either one.

Option 2 – Strategies & Tactics for the MBE

There are other choices… For example, you could use the excellent Strategies & Tactics for the MBE by Steven Emanuel. Fewer questions than either UWorld or AdaptiBar, 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 3rd edition is out), and Barbri questions to pass the 3-day California Bar Exam the second time, 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.
  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.
  3. Primarily focus on real questions, but also bring in simulated questions to grind problem areas. I specifically used S&T + Barbri questions. Now we have great tools like UWorld and AdaptiBar.

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

Even though I’m an ambassador for both UWorld and AdaptiBar, I don’t promote spending $250+ on things that aren’t right for you. That said, I will push you toward something if it could be right for you.

But if your question is “do I NEED X?” the answer is NO. It would be intellectually dishonest for me to say yes just so I can bring them another customer. You don’t NEED anything.

Will X help?” Probably! But everyone is different. 

I hate questions like “how many questions/essays/PTs do I need to do to pass?” I don’t know your situation. Don’t make me responsible for your life choices. My answer is “quite a bit until it’s enough.” If you’re wondering how few reps you can get away with, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. The point isn’t to “do questions.” It’s to learn from what you’re doing.

Thanks for this! I plan to use X for Y reason in Z manner because of my W situation and experience. Would you agree with this approach if you were me?” Let me give you a forehead kiss and a nuanced answer without grumbling at my screen.

Ask questions better and don’t make me responsible for your choices. That’s what coaching is for (assuming you can convince me to) if you want to stop agonizing and want me to just tell you what tf to do.

If you want my “just get this” rec, I lean toward UWorld. Almost everyone who has this dilemma goes to UWorld. People have warmed up to the visual explanations, and the discount is a bit more ($40 vs. $30 unless you’re re-enrolling in AdaptiBar). Use promo code MTYLT10 to get $40+ off.

Alternatives are AdaptiBar and S&T book(s). If you’re set on getting either UWorld or AdaptiBar but still aren’t sure which, read my review and comparison here.

Although the questions will overlap, you can use S&T for the primers and excellent explanations with either one of UWorld or AdaptiBar.

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 that you use it to learn from it.

Remember, no one can teach you. You can only learn.

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