Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

BeachedBrit
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Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby BeachedBrit » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:34 am

Without being too specific, so as to avoid angering our moderator gods, what advice do you have for the next round of people taking the MBE? The test seems to have substantially changed in character since a year or so ago (July 2014 was also weird) and I thought it would be best to make this thread while it's still fresh in everyone's minds. I'll go first:

1) Learn the basics of the Erie Doctrine, it's tested more than once

2) Pay a lot of attention to all of the nuances and little exceptions in Contracts

3) Find the absolute hardest Barbri questions, the ones that you get wrong and afterward think they were bullsh!t because they had some little trick or sneaky thing in there, and do lots of those; the MBE has become a lot more about tricks, tricky exceptions, and tricky answer choices than is reflected in the released tests

4) Know all of the crimes, including the weird ones that seem unlikely to be tested much, really well

Edit: 5) While Barbri has a list of answers that are almost always wrong/always wrong, other than the ones that are always wrong, don't pay too much attention to this. Yesterday's test had at least two questions where the correct answer was on one of those lists as something that was virtually always wrong.

aretoodeetoo
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby aretoodeetoo » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:06 am

BeachedBrit wrote:Without being too specific, so as to avoid angering our moderator gods, what advice do you have for the next round of people taking the MBE? The test seems to have substantially changed in character since a year or so ago (July 2014 was also weird) and I thought it would be best to make this thread while it's still fresh in everyone's minds. I'll go first:

1) Learn the basics of the Erie Doctrine, it's tested more than once

2) Pay a lot of attention to all of the nuances and little exceptions in Contracts

3) Find the absolute hardest Barbri questions, the ones that you get wrong and afterward think they were bullsh!t because they had some little trick or sneaky thing in there, and do lots of those; the MBE has become a lot more about tricks, tricky exceptions, and tricky answer choices than is reflected in the released tests

4) Know all of the crimes, including the weird ones that seem unlikely to be tested much, really well

Edit: 5) While Barbri has a list of answers that are almost always wrong/always wrong, other than the ones that are always wrong, don't pay too much attention to this. Yesterday's test had at least two questions where the correct answer was on one of those lists as something that was virtually always wrong.


Sadly I know exactly what you are talking about but let's not teeter on the copyrighted danger zone. Without getting into any specifics, felt Civ Pro MBEs were actually probably the easiest. Property as always takes a crap on my head and evidence... I'll be honest, I don't know evidence. If you see someone walking out of the exam and throwing in the towel in the 11th hour cause it's Cal Evidence, it is me.

jarofsoup
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:06 am

Learn mortgages, and land sale contracts cold.

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abogadesq
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby abogadesq » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:13 am

Time yourself. I was really time-crunched. I could barely bubble in the last two questions (I had to guess).

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aquasalad
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby aquasalad » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:47 am

How do you show up to the bar exam not ready to time yourself??

MichBar
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby MichBar » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:51 am

I finished with just seconds to go during each of the four sessions. At the start of the first session for the essays I sat there for 30 seconds fiddling with my watch in trying to push the pin in so that it would start before getting annoyed and giving up. Of course that never happened to me until right when it mattered.

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abogadesq
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby abogadesq » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:04 pm

aquasalad wrote:How do you show up to the bar exam not ready to time yourself??


Easy. Sure, you'll practice your timing on a bunch of timed practice exams, but you will almost always get stumped by a question that you think you can answer but can't. Next thing you know you've spent 3 minutes on that same damned question...at least that happened to me :(

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aquasalad
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby aquasalad » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:37 pm

First thing I did on both MBEs I've taken is write out the start time, end time, and 1/4 time increments for 25, 50, and 75 questions. You can do this while waiting for the exam to begin, and then you have a pretty clear pace of where you need to be at any given time in order to finish the exam with time to review difficult questions. This was like the first thing they taught us in Barbri.
The morning session I was lagging and this approach saved me, the afternoon I finished 40 minutes early. So I guess this would be a good lesson for anyone taking it in the future. Other things that work for me: reading the call of the question first and keeping a t-chart on the first page where I right down questions that I want to come back to. The questions I write on the left of the t-chart are minor issues, the questions I write on the right of the t-chart are WTF questions.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby Holly Golightly » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:01 pm

MPT was the only thing I didn't leave early from, so timing is not an issue for everyone. lol

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Albatross
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby Albatross » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:54 pm

Timing is my biggest issue. I read pretty slow and often have to go back and reread the fact pattern on MBE questions to make sure I actually comprehend the facts. Additionally, my strategy is to first scratch out any answers that I know are definitely incorrect. Four times out of five, I can remove two pretty quickly with near certainty. If then I can't spot the best answer immediately, instead of trying to figure out which one is correct, I think about why one of them would be incorrect. If I can spot that, it sometimes helps to recognize why the other is probably the one they're looking for. If I can't spot it, I generally assume that they're not testing a caveat I don't know and just pick the one that appears to be closest to the point. This tends to be the simplest of the two choices.

In short, I very rarely know the law. And while I tend to score around 70% on practice sets, I can almost never tell you with absolute certainty that any given individual answer I've chosen is correct.

It's also helpful to try and recall examples from case law you read in law school if you're stuck with two "good" answers. For example, with res ipsa questions, I think about a piano falling, why that invokes res ipsa, and then compare and contrast that with the facts of the question.

However, I had no problem finishing yesterday with a few minutes left on either section.

Just my two cents.

numbertwo88
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby numbertwo88 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:16 pm

jarofsoup wrote:Learn mortgages, and land sale contracts cold.
I second this.

Also do 2,000+ MBE questions. Some of the same questions save for a few different words show up.

YibanRen
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby YibanRen » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:19 pm

Here's the real deal on the MBE. Every time they will test some, but not all of the testable material. So, everyone telling you to study mortgages or eerie may be wrong for the next administration. NCBED will bring up crap you don't know, and will test on obscure recent supreme court cases that only practitioners in the field would know. For example, the issue of a recent supreme court ruling regarding the scope of custodial interrogations with regard to probation officers. If you had known the ruling's outcome you would have probably guessed one option. If you applied the court's reasoning, you may have come to a different outcome. Also, they will through in basically reading comp questions that waste your time and you will probably be lacking the mental focus to answer anyway.

The iron clad way to pass mbe is to know all of the general big tests of each subject well. About 1/3 of the questions are straightforward if you know the basic rules. If you don't, their phrasing of answer choices and made up off the wall options may throw you off on easy questions.

If you can get about 1/3 of the questions right in this way, then the remainder at designed to be narrowed down to two potential choices (it should be clear that two of the answers are wrong). You can do this without knowing the narrow rule they are testing, because you'll know that two of the answers don't relay to the topic. If you can do this, you will get another 1/3 of the questions right by guessing between the remaining two answers. This approach will yield 2/3 correct on the MBE raw and you'll pass.

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Albatross
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby Albatross » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:30 pm

YibanRen wrote:Here's the real deal on the MBE. Every time they will test some, but not all of the testable material. So, everyone telling you to study mortgages or eerie may be wrong for the next administration. NCBED will bring up crap you don't know, and will test on obscure recent supreme court cases that only practitioners in the field would know. For example, the issue of a recent supreme court ruling regarding the scope of custodial interrogations with regard to probation officers. If you had known the ruling's outcome you would have probably guessed one option. If you applied the court's reasoning, you may have come to a different outcome. Also, they will through in basically reading comp questions that waste your time and you will probably be lacking the mental focus to answer anyway.

The iron clad way to pass mbe is to know all of the general big tests of each subject well. About 1/3 of the questions are straightforward if you know the basic rules. If you don't, their phrasing of answer choices and made up off the wall options may throw you off on easy questions.

If you can get about 1/3 of the questions right in this way, then the remainder at designed to be narrowed down to two potential choices (it should be clear that two of the answers are wrong). You can do this without knowing the narrow rule they are testing, because you'll know that two of the answers don't relay to the topic. If you can do this, you will get another 1/3 of the questions right by guessing between the remaining two answers. This approach will yield 2/3 correct on the MBE raw and you'll pass.



This is the best response here. Know the basic rules and know that over 190 questions, statistics will handle the rest.

fslexcduck
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby fslexcduck » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:55 pm

Albatross wrote:
This is the best response here. Know the basic rules and know that over 190 questions, statistics will handle the rest.


LOL. I agree with the general premise of Yiban's post and think it's a good one. However, I'm a professional gambler who has experienced the positive and negative side of statistics many times, and I just laughed out loud at the idea that 190 questions will eliminate variance anywhere near an amount necessary to feel good about.

I know you were just speaking off the cuff, but I mean, man I take issue with that statement and just had to comment. You gotta deal with variance in getting the right topics, and then variance in the questions within the topics, and then variance as actually between the two best answer choices. Basically, there is a ton of luck involved. A TON. And to be comfortable, I'd want to be averaging at least 75% to come close to "ensuring" that I would get 66% on game day.

As an aside, I also REALLY UNDERESTIMATED how much my nerves in the beginning and lack of focus towards the end would get me. I can think of at least 4 questions that I got correct every single time in practice questions and just brain farted on the actual exam. I did most of my practice Q's in sets of 30 or 50... my biggest piece of advice would be do a few days of practice MBEs at least, with timed sections, no cell phones, all 200 questions, the works.

EZ as AsDf
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby EZ as AsDf » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:37 am

Exam tip: If you do not know future interests, you will only lose 2 points.

MichBar
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby MichBar » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:42 am

I think test-takers should continue to aim high in trying to get at least 65-70% correct, but I have heard that on the real deal depending on the administration, as low as 60% will scale towards a passing score (assuming one "passed" the essays with a similar minimum score). I wouldn't want to chance it, but the moral of the story is just do a ton of questions, know that you studied your hardest and tried your best, and unlike me, don't fret on it afterward and try to analyze it every single which way because there's nothing you can do to change it, and you're also likely being emotional and irrational after the test.

jarofsoup
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby jarofsoup » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:20 pm

EZ as AsDf wrote:Exam tip: If you do not know future interests, you will only lose 2 points.



Yeah I agree. Watch it in lecture then leave it be.

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Albatross
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby Albatross » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:32 pm

jarofsoup wrote:
EZ as AsDf wrote:Exam tip: If you do not know future interests, you will only lose 2 points.



Yeah I agree. Watch it in lecture then leave it be.



This actually reminds me... The morning of the MBE I listened to torts lectures while getting ready and driving to the exam. During the break I listened to as much of the Property lectures as I could get to. Turned out a bunch of stuff I listened to was directly applicable that day. If you've got a decent short term memory, this could help. It definitely helped me.

YibanRen
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby YibanRen » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:26 pm

MichBar wrote:I think test-takers should continue to aim high in trying to get at least 65-70% correct, but I have heard that on the real deal depending on the administration, as low as 60% will scale towards a passing score (assuming one "passed" the essays with a similar minimum score). I wouldn't want to chance it, but the moral of the story is just do a ton of questions, know that you studied your hardest and tried your best, and unlike me, don't fret on it afterward and try to analyze it every single which way because there's nothing you can do to change it, and you're also likely being emotional and irrational after the test.


Yeah, we try for 70%. But, at the end of the day, you aren't going to know 70%. You are going to know 40%. I've never met anyone who knew 70% of the questions. They are made to jack with you and have two options that look good. I don't think prep courses prepare for this reality. Most of their questions have one more right answer.

PJP
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Re: Lessons for those taking the next MBE/Bar Exam

Postby PJP » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:40 pm

Can anyone who took 2015 February bar share some insight on civil pro MBE questions? I would like to get an idea of the general difficulty, what materials you found helpful, and the area of topics you saw on the exam noteworthy. I've been practicing civ pro mbe on pmbr and it's been so my far worst subject. :(




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