MBE practice techniques

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MBE practice techniques

Postby LawJunky » Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:34 am

I scored a 1710 in the July 2014 MBE (I bombed the essays though and failed by 1420/1440)

I was just asked to share any MBE practice techniques in a private message. Hopefully someone finds this useful.

You know?....... I think there "is" still time to make a "dent" for the Feb MBE. Here is what you should start doing right now. Make a spreadsheet that allows you to keep track of the questions you got wrong. Don't record the answer. Record the Subject (CN, EV...) and the Book (Barbri test 3) and the Q#. This spreadsheet idea is by far the most important word of advice. Crank through XXX number between now and Feb 10. Then get your spreadsheet out and start redoing ONLY the ones you got wrong and see if you can get them right. You'll probably miss half of those but that would show a huge improvement, and a bunch of confidence. I think confidence is worth something. The key is waiting long enough to forget the question so that when you see it around Feb 20, its pretty much a fresh question. You won't believe how hard a list of 20 questions you have previously got wrong is to do. You will get a ton wrong still, but you can feel the improvement even if you get only 50% of those correct.

Here is my spreadsheet of wrong answers....



I could easily do 1500 by Feb 10, doing 20 per day. In fact I could do 3000 by Feb 10 quite easily. Endurance is a key factor. Did you get tired during the MBE? Time management when practicing: When you get out of bed, do your MBEs right then. Go over the answers right away. Don't wait till later to go over the answer because you'll forget the fact pattern and you'll have to do the question again. This wastes time. Each time you get one wrong, dig into your favorite authority and look up the supporting law.

Concentrate on the legal authority before looking at the answers

This is a practice technique. When you answer your MBE question, force yourself to state the authority in your head before you pick your, or even look at your answer choices. Say for example, before looking at the answer choices, the answer to this has got to be negligence per se because there is a statute, and the statute is intended to protect this plaintiff. Then pick your answer. This will strengthen your thinking, expe when you have two close choices and you must decide. This will help you if the question is too hard, and you must pick something.

Touch every subject every day

But here is something I believe is key that you may already be doing. A lot of the MBE test questions are broken down by subject. I think it does not work too well to do 17 contracts MBEs today, 17, criminal law MBEs tomorrow, Evidence the next day. If you are weak on Evidence, and who isn't, you have got to be touching that topic every day. So today do 3 questions in each of the 6 topic areas. Its a pain because you must flip around a whole lot.

Make a form that allows you to quickly organize

So organize around that. Make a form that allows you to do random MBEs in a quick way, that allows you to write down your answers. I made one in Photoshop. I could actually email it to you.

This first link is a blank for I use to organize the previously-answered-wrong questions, that I will re-attempt over the next couple of days


Here is an example of a filled-out template, showing a spattering of non-sequential questions from various books (Emanuel Orange = FINZ)


CivPro is creating reading comprehension issues

Now for CivPro. It should not be interjected into the routine above "yet". It will require the "start-up costs". I am doing CivPro as 10 per day. That should be 800 questions between now and the bar in Feb. The reason is that numerous reading comprehension errors are occurring trying to understand fact patterns which I have never seen before. The other six topics will have very, very few reading comprehension errors. In CivPro, I am seeing RC errors all over the place. Plus in CivPro, I am getting a lot of them wrong. This requires careful understanding of why, which takes time. Those other topics are not this way. Keep track of these CivPro on the spreadsheet too, but you (and I) may want to just repeat all CivPro later, since any I get right could simply be pure luck.

Read the call, or rewind one sentence, and then read the call

Before you can begin reading the MBE question, you must read the call of the question first. But you must find the real call, not something which looks like the call on the surface. In a beginner's MBE class, I would say "go to the last sentence of the fact pattern and read it". You'll say "ahh, this question is about murder". Then go to the beginning of the fact pattern and read all of it, with your focus on murder. You'll find your stress level reduces when you do this. This makes your comprehension better. Of course, the examiners know that you will do this, so they'll put something useless as the last sentence like "what are plaintiffs rights against the defendant". In this case, you must rewind one more sentence and read the previous sentence as the call.

Diagramming the fact pattern

Some of the fact patterns are so confusing that you must diagram them with really quick stick figures. You would never do this during the real MBE test, because this takes too much time. This is especially useful in Property and Contracts. In property, when you have easements, and recording statutes, it is helpful to draw a square for Blackacre, and the lake to the south and the road to the north. Then the owner subdivides the lot so that there is a lot in between which has no access to either the road or the lake. In Contracts, assignments and third party beneficiary contracts can be really confusing, so diagram these. On each type of these questions, diagram them on paper. All of the sudden, you'll discover that you can diagram them in your head and will not need the paper. This means you can do the question way quicker and still be just as accurate. Recording statutes and chain of title requires diagramming in order to practice. I think that CivPro and party diversity requires diagramming.

Use these study materials

Strategies and Tactics are excellent books.
Finz Multistate Method, the orange book has awesome MBE questions. These are also written by Steven Emanuel.
The 2013 MCQ2 Book by Barbri is a super duper hard set of excellent MBE questions.
Emanuel's bootcamp are excellent MBE questions and are very new fact patterns.
The old released NCBE questions should be done first, though, to get those out of the way so you are not always worried "gee maybe I should do those released questions." Adaptibar is based on these questions. The Adaptibar answer analysis is not as valuable as the Steven Emanuel and Barbri. Many of my friends used Adaptibar on the MBE and got owned. Avoid adaptibar and use these Steven Emanuel questions and Barbri questions.

Here are the previously released MBEs by NCBE, the National Committee of Bar Examiners. These are the same MBEs that Adaptibar are based upon. There is no answer analysis provided with these MBEs, only the correct answer. Even though the front page says "don't use these", all the Adaptibar users use them, and I used them and it helped me progress in my studies a great deal. Use these until you can find better materials.

here are the 1998 questions in PDF format

Here are the 1992 questions in PDF format

I am so loaded with ideas on this topic, let me know if any of this makes sense. If you already know these ideas, or these are not worth much, I will bring on round two. Get your spreadsheet going now.

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