A strategy for improving the MBE

waxecstatic
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A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby waxecstatic » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:38 pm

I recently failed the bar exam despite doing almost 70% of the Themis course and over 1,500 MBE questions.

I scored in the 54th percentile for essays, including a perfect score on one essay, but only the 6th percentile for the MBE. My MBE score was only 115.8. Like anyone else in this position, I'm pretty devastated and (frustrated)! But my problem is that while I have no issues with learning the law, I probably only got around 52% correct for the MBE.

What to do? Who here has a strategy for conquering the MBE? If I had only scored a 130 on the MBE, I would have passed. For anyone else out there in my position, I feel your pain. Hopefully, we'll all get through it.

numbertwo88
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby numbertwo88 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:17 pm

I used Themis both times I took the bar exam. The first time I failed and completed about 76% of the course and of that 76% I only completed ~55% of the MBE questions. I scored a 124 on the MBE my first time. The second time I took it I'm not sure what my score was because MA doesn't release them if you pass but on practice sets I was getting 65% - 74% correct. Also, first time around I only had a top score on 1 essay too. My other essay scores weren't bad though - it's the MBE that fucked me over.

Second time around this is what I did differently (still using Themis though since it was offered for free after I failed)
1. Skipped *every* single lecture - they're useless. As long as you can read you don't need to watch them or fill out those dumbass handouts.
2. I spent about 1.5 months solely on MBE subjects. I gave myself 3 to 4 days for each MBE subject and I read critical pass flashcards on day 1 making notes as I went along and then I would Silverman's MBE Essentials on the same subject making notes as well, day 2 I read the outlines again including the notes I made and SIlverman's MBE Essentials again, day 3 I made my own MBE outline, and then on that same day or the next, I would do a single subject MBE set. I did 4 of the 5 single subject MBE sets, one every day, on top of the new MBE subjects I was learning. At the end of learning all of the MBE subjects, I completed the last remaining single subject MBE problem sets. Reading the outlines I wrote was essential because it explained everything succinctly and in my own words.
I also would read sections of the long outlines in areas where my MBE score was particularly week and tweak my outline (usually handwritten after I printed them) to clarify anything.
3. About 1.5 months on essays - I made a calendar and every day I did at least 3 practice essays. I'd outline them as opposed to writing them out for the sake of time because I still did MBE review every single day (reviewing either 1 or 2 outlines and doing mixed problem sets by this point). I also outlined all of the essay topics based on the most frequently tested areas of law under each individual subject [I took the information for these outlines from the "Essay" workshop handout provided by Themis for MA] - like for Family Law my outline emphasized divorce, annulment, pre-nups, child support, child custody, support/property division,and best interests of the child. I'd review the essay outlines based on which were most often tested and did the essay outlines without looking at my outline after I did a couple from each subject.
4. You have to make a schedule and stick with it (I literally printed out a blank calendar and filled it all in). Write the exact problem set you're going to do of the MBE subject you're working on that day, or the MBE multiple choice and essays you're doing that day ... however you plan it out. Planning is so important!
5. I wrote down rule statements for every single MBE question I got incorrect, broken down by subject, and reviewed it on occasion. You'll notice patterns in what you're getting wrong and eventually those areas will start to click with you.
7. Ignore the amount of hours other people are studying and what they're doing. I did maybe 6 to 8 hours Sunday - Friday and Saturdays I had a light day of about 4 hours or so. I also ignored advice of people who passed the first time they took the bar exam because they don't comprehend the struggle.
8. I definitely recommend starting early! Not everyone has the luxury of doing that or studying full-time but after I failed it the first time, I was pulling all the stops.
9. Didn't over invest in MBE questions. I bought Strategies & tactics because basically everyone recommends it and it was useful in that the strategies/tactics sections for each subject were useful but the practice MBE questions overlapped with Themis questions so much that I quit doing them. I completed all of the Themis MBE questions which was in the area of 2,500, give or take.

Hope anything I did differently helps :) I probably wrote too much as well so my apologies about that!

& I probably completed about ~55% of the course the second time (solely MBE questions, essays, graded essays, exams) - the lectures make up literally nearly 50% of the course.

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MoneyMay
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby MoneyMay » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:02 pm

Adaptibar is pricey but well worth it. They breakdown each subject into subcategories and then when you are doing questions, the questions they give you focus on the subtypes you are having problems with. I did BarBri, and towards the end of my studying, I only did Adaptibar questions. I scored in the 170s on the actual MBE and attribute a lot of it to Adaptibar. I also spent hours reviewing the questions I missed and by the time the real thing came I was more than ready.

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LAWYER2
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby LAWYER2 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:14 pm

Amongst other things, the following helped me immensely with concentration and time management:

http://www.barexammind.com/one-weird-trick-mbe-success/

waxecstatic
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby waxecstatic » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:19 pm

numbertwo88 wrote:I used Themis both times I took the bar exam. The first time I failed and completed about 76% of the course and of that 76% I only completed ~55% of the MBE questions. I scored a 124 on the MBE my first time. The second time I took it I'm not sure what my score was because MA doesn't release them if you pass but on practice sets I was getting 65% - 74% correct. Also, first time around I only had a top score on 1 essay too. My other essay scores weren't bad though - it's the MBE that fucked me over.

Second time around this is what I did differently (still using Themis though since it was offered for free after I failed)
1. Skipped *every* single lecture - they're useless. As long as you can read you don't need to watch them or fill out those dumbass handouts.
2. I spent about 1.5 months solely on MBE subjects. I gave myself 3 to 4 days for each MBE subject and I read critical pass flashcards on day 1 making notes as I went along and then I would Silverman's MBE Essentials on the same subject making notes as well, day 2 I read the outlines again including the notes I made and SIlverman's MBE Essentials again, day 3 I made my own MBE outline, and then on that same day or the next, I would do a single subject MBE set. I did 4 of the 5 single subject MBE sets, one every day, on top of the new MBE subjects I was learning. At the end of learning all of the MBE subjects, I completed the last remaining single subject MBE problem sets. Reading the outlines I wrote was essential because it explained everything succinctly and in my own words.
I also would read sections of the long outlines in areas where my MBE score was particularly week and tweak my outline (usually handwritten after I printed them) to clarify anything.
3. About 1.5 months on essays - I made a calendar and every day I did at least 3 practice essays. I'd outline them as opposed to writing them out for the sake of time because I still did MBE review every single day (reviewing either 1 or 2 outlines and doing mixed problem sets by this point). I also outlined all of the essay topics based on the most frequently tested areas of law under each individual subject [I took the information for these outlines from the "Essay" workshop handout provided by Themis for MA] - like for Family Law my outline emphasized divorce, annulment, pre-nups, child support, child custody, support/property division,and best interests of the child. I'd review the essay outlines based on which were most often tested and did the essay outlines without looking at my outline after I did a couple from each subject.
4. You have to make a schedule and stick with it (I literally printed out a blank calendar and filled it all in). Write the exact problem set you're going to do of the MBE subject you're working on that day, or the MBE multiple choice and essays you're doing that day ... however you plan it out. Planning is so important!
5. I wrote down rule statements for every single MBE question I got incorrect, broken down by subject, and reviewed it on occasion. You'll notice patterns in what you're getting wrong and eventually those areas will start to click with you.
7. Ignore the amount of hours other people are studying and what they're doing. I did maybe 6 to 8 hours Sunday - Friday and Saturdays I had a light day of about 4 hours or so. I also ignored advice of people who passed the first time they took the bar exam because they don't comprehend the struggle.
8. I definitely recommend starting early! Not everyone has the luxury of doing that or studying full-time but after I failed it the first time, I was pulling all the stops.
9. Didn't over invest in MBE questions. I bought Strategies & tactics because basically everyone recommends it and it was useful in that the strategies/tactics sections for each subject were useful but the practice MBE questions overlapped with Themis questions so much that I quit doing them. I completed all of the Themis MBE questions which was in the area of 2,500, give or take.

Hope anything I did differently helps :) I probably wrote too much as well so my apologies about that!

& I probably completed about ~55% of the course the second time (solely MBE questions, essays, graded essays, exams) - the lectures make up literally nearly 50% of the course.


One thing I've noticed through this experience is there isn't a direct correlation between hours spent studying and performance. Some people study 6 weeks and pass. The amount of studying you put in or are suggesting I put in is impossible for me. I would just lose my mind. "4 hours on a light day"? Plus, I'm poor. I can no longer afford to not have a job. Me writing outline after outline and making flashcards or this or that would be helpful for regurgitating the law but it won't improve my MBE performance. My essays reflect I know the law. That being said, spending a month and a half on essays would be a waste of time. Even if I improve my essays 10 points, I would still have failed. My weakness is the MBE and that should be much easier to improve given my shitty score. Everything else you said I agree with and congrats on passing.

vabartimes2
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby vabartimes2 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:43 pm

Im sorry you didn't pass. I think you are very right about the lack of correlations in bar study. It's pretty individual IMO. I passed the Feb 2015 Va Bar. I parent and work full time, you can of course pass. I also took Themis. I supplemented with Adaptibar and Critical Pass. I started the Themis course about 6 weeks before their suggested scheduled start because obviously I couldn't study 8 hours a day. I started with all the MBE subjects, spent a week on each, then would work on questions. For example, Con Law would be 1 week, the next week I'd do Con Law questions but I'd also start the next topic, Contracts, etc. This staggered approach was helpful. Passing doesnt make anyone an expert on bar prep, but I'm happy to share my experience.

lolaq
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby lolaq » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:08 pm

I would absolutely recommend the Kaplan red book (which I hear is now purple). I used Themis for bar prep, and did a good number of their MBE questions, but mainly used the Kaplan book for MBE practice (doing most of the questions in the book over a three and a half month period). I am a terrible MC test taker, and I felt that reading the explanations in the Kaplan book of all of the answers, whether I got them right or not, helped a lot. While my MBE score was not stellar (139), it was good based on how bad I am at multiple choice tests.

I know two people who used BarBri and supplemented with the Kaplan three-day MBE course. I'd imagine the three-day course would be helpful, but because of my lack of resources, I just got the book from a friend.

MrLawMan
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby MrLawMan » Fri May 01, 2015 5:17 pm

OP, can I ask what kind of study strategy you used (that didn't work) Did you study for 2 months the way people do in summer, or were you pressed for time? Which prep materials did you use? How did you study?

Also, what kind of learner are you, or were you in law school? A crammer? Outlined everything on your own? Borrowed outlines?

waxecstatic
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby waxecstatic » Fri May 01, 2015 9:10 pm

I did a lot of studying that was more tailored to doing well on the essays. Reviewing outlines, spitting out rules of law, memorizing etc. You might think that's sufficient for passing. Maybe it is for some people. But I felt comfortable on the essays walking out of the exam but on the MBE I had no idea. I had no idea if I did well or bombed it. I used Themis but I don't think i spent enough time going over questions I got wrong and learning why I got it wrong.

You don't need to be an encyclopedia of law to pass the bar. You really just have to do well on the test which requires practicing and simulating the test experience as closely as possible. That's what I've learned through this.

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encore1101
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby encore1101 » Fri May 01, 2015 9:16 pm

What was your MBE studying strategy?

waxecstatic
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby waxecstatic » Sat May 02, 2015 4:45 pm

I was pretty good with learning BLL. I was not so good with Ks and property tho. You should spend a lot of time getting with the familiar with the kind of questions they ask because how you perform will simply come down to how well you answer the questions and not necessarily the amount of law you know.

duskfall
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby duskfall » Sun May 03, 2015 7:10 pm

1. Skip what u think is hard questions, do at end (I skipped long fact patterns, questions that confused me)

2. Read question first for the subject matter, then scan answers for the subissue possibly tested. This will narrow ur scope when u read the fact pattern.

3. When prepping, keep a log of questions u got wrong, find out why you got it wrong: read the fact pattern to quick, forgot an element of the law, etc.

Keep practicing.

Neve
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby Neve » Mon May 04, 2015 5:23 pm

First of all, don't ignore the essays. Scoring in the 54th percentile on the essays is mediocre at best and there's a lot of room for improvement (and points to gain in that area) even with a low/below average MBE score.

As far as improving your MBE score goes, there is:
1) Critical Pass (http://criticalpass.refr.cc/WXNZSR4 - referral link contains a discount code for $15 off) - you can't apply the law to an MBE question, if you don't know the law. Great flashcards for the MBE!

2) Emanuel's Strategies and Tactics for the MBE - available on Amazon. Fairly cheap book. Has good tips on approaching the MBE and contains lots of practice questions.

3) Adaptibar (http://www.adaptibar.com) - I didn't use this, but wish I had since it has received raving reviews. The only con to Adaptibar is the price. Or in the alternative, Barmax (supposedly comparable to Adaptibar).

4) OPE from the MBE site to practice the most recent test questions: http://store.ncbex.org/all-online-practice-exams/. I assume that it would have the new Civ Pro questions available. At $50 per OPE it isn't the cheapest option, but these are real, recent MBE questions and not the souped up Barbri ones. Barbri questions are not representative of the modern MBE.

Remember to review every practice question - even the questions that you got right.

I used Barbri for the July 2014 Texas Bar exam and passed. I felt that Barbri was very weak in their MBE prep. The actual MBE was much harder than the Barbri simulated questions. I mostly relied on the Barbri materials during my bar prep period. I did supplement my MBE study with the Emanuel's book (which I wish I used more) and the Critical Pass MBE notecards. I think the Critical Pass notecards helped me since I did raise my percentage a lot after I started using them. I also relied on the CMR over the lecture notes in addition to the Critical Pass notecards since the Barbri MBE lectures were inadequate in my opinion.
Last edited by Neve on Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.

underthirty
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby underthirty » Mon May 04, 2015 5:55 pm

.
Last edited by underthirty on Sat May 30, 2015 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Neve
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby Neve » Mon May 04, 2015 6:40 pm

That website charges $50 for 100 questions (half a MBE exam). You can get all 400 of those questions plus 1100 more from barmax for only $199.

Furthermore, the OPE description states that it "does not include Civil Procedure questions, which will appear on the MBE starting in February 2015."


Thanks for the correction.

prettylilmama
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby prettylilmama » Mon May 04, 2015 8:16 pm

100% - Adaptibar is the ONLY reason why I passed the MBE. Barbri's MBE practice was damn near worthless, as the questions were literally NOTHING like what I saw on the real deal.

Further, Adaptibar keeps track of your progress and it's extremely customizable in terms of number of questions you want to do, which subjects you want to do simultaneously, etc.

One of my best friends failed the July MBE and she was blaming it on how she did everything Barbri said but Barbri had NOT prepared her for the MBE and she told me about how she was planning to use Adaptibar this time around because the people she knew who passed in July used it. THANK GOD, she told me about it bc I would've failed too. Instead I ended up with a 139.3 - not stellar but better than the national scaled mean and was definitely enough for me to pass my state combined with my essay score.

Also, Adaptibar is awesome because their explanations are so helpful and you can print PDF copies of the exams you take so you can take them with you to review the stuff you are missing.

Obviously I can't say enough good things about Adaptibar, LOL! No, I am not an Adaptibar salesperson, but it is worth every penny because now I get to start working and making lawyer $ instead of paralegal/doc review $, AND I don't have to pay the fees to take that GD exam again.

Seriously, do yourselves a favor and get Adaptibar.

prettylilmama
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby prettylilmama » Mon May 04, 2015 8:20 pm

wax ecstatic wrote:... I felt comfortable on the essays walking out of the exam but on the MBE I had no idea. I had no idea if I did well or bombed it...


Me too! Totally thought I bombed it on our day 2 and had to suck it up and regroup for essays day 3. Thank God it worked out.

Best of luck to you all!

46-and-2
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby 46-and-2 » Mon May 04, 2015 10:06 pm

My experience... Just have to put in the time. I studied for the bar for 10 days for the July 2014 bar; got a 127 and failed. For feb 2015, Took time off from work and studied for 5 weeks straight and popped a 150+.

Just gotta put in the time.

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LAWYER2
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby LAWYER2 » Tue May 05, 2015 12:39 pm

46-and-2 wrote:My experience... Just have to put in the time. I studied for the bar for 10 days for the July 2014 bar; got a 127 and failed. For feb 2015, Took time off from work and studied for 5 weeks straight and popped a 150+.

Just gotta put in the time.


This is about best advice you're going to get. When it comes to bar strategy, if you ask ten diff people, you'll get ten diff answers. Understand your weak areas and use the plethora of input to tweak your routine. There is no one magic bullet.

waxecstatic
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby waxecstatic » Tue May 05, 2015 3:39 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm definitely gonna go with Adaptibar since it seems to receive mostly praise and you can't go wrong with using actual MBE questions. I'll focus more on the MBE than the essays; I don't see myself spending a week going over commercial paper or sec trans. Prob gonna use the Barbri Conviser as my main source of reference.

TwoBars
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby TwoBars » Tue May 05, 2015 9:21 pm

I second the notion that if you put in the time (i.e. a genuine study effort) you should pass. Also, study and learn the material in a way that you know works for you. For example, I am not an "outliner" and trying to make a condensed outline does not help me (even though lots of bar prep courses like to stress making outlines). I prefer to read through the outlines provided by prep courses and make notes therein. It works for me. Also, I found it helpful to spread out studying the MBE subjects and not try and learn a subject all at once. Basically, you spend a day reading through the Torts outline and then do some practice questions that day or the next. Move on to a different subject the next day, etc. After a week or two (there are 7 MBE subjects, so if you spend 1 or 2 days on each subject it will take that long) you will be back to reviewing Torts, etc. As you progress, you should spend much more time on answering practice MBE questions and focusing review on the areas where you miss questions. There is not much benefit to keep studying the stuff you know, since you already know it! Spend time on the stuff that you have a mental block on or have difficulty with (for me I could never seem to get which crimes merged, or get con law restriction of speech questions right).

Once you have truly read through the entire subject outlines line by line (you can do it, there are only 7!), focus on practice questions. Perhaps the most helpful thing is to really read the answer explanations for all the questions whether you got the questions right or wrong (you will naturally spend more time on the ones you got wrong). Many times you may get a questions right, but for the wrong reasons or luck.

There is no magic formula for how to study, other than you have to discipline yourself to actually do it. It is not fun, but it is necessary for the MBE.

I took the MBE in July 2011 and scored 140. I used BarBri for that exam which was with hardcopy books. Personally, I did not like the BarBri practice questions because they were ridiculously hard and were discouraging. I took the Feb 2015 MBE and scored 152. I used Themis for that exam which had hardcopy outlines and online practice questions (other than the practice exams and extra questions). Anyhow, I liked the online practice questions since you knew if you got the answer right or wrong immediately, and then could read the answer explanation. I thought the Themis questions were closer in difficulty to the actual exam, but there were plenty of seemingly impossible questions. It was also nice that with Themis you could easily identify your weak areas of subjects, and review the material accordingly (I'm sure all the bar review courses provide this now).

That said, I think all the bar review courses provide the materials necessary to help you pass the MBE. The courses also provide a recommend schedule of how to go about reviewing all the material which are useful to help keep you on track. However, the bottom line is studying the material in a way that works for you. Studying for the MBE is not the time to try and learn some new way to study. Stick with the way you studied to graduate from college and law school as that is a proven study approach.

If you put in a genuine study effort over a realistic period of time (i.e 2 or 3 months), you should pass! Good luck.

Neve
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby Neve » Sun May 17, 2015 9:56 pm

TwoBars wrote:I second the notion that if you put in the time (i.e. a genuine study effort) you should pass. Also, study and learn the material in a way that you know works for you.

There is no magic formula for how to study, other than you have to discipline yourself to actually do it. It is not fun, but it is necessary for the MBE.

That said, I think all the bar review courses provide the materials necessary to help you pass the MBE. The courses also provide a recommend schedule of how to go about reviewing all the material which are useful to help keep you on track. However, the bottom line is studying the material in a way that works for you. Studying for the MBE is not the time to try and learn some new way to study. Stick with the way you studied to graduate from college and law school as that is a proven study approach.

If you put in a genuine study effort over a realistic period of time (i.e 2 or 3 months), you should pass! Good luck.


Truth. All the bar prep courses (Kaplan, Barbri, Themis) are cookie-cutter and you have to "individualize" it in a way that works for you.

Bar Slayer
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby Bar Slayer » Mon May 18, 2015 12:55 pm

waxecstatic wrote:
numbertwo88 wrote:I used Themis both times I took the bar exam. The first time I failed and completed about 76% of the course and of that 76% I only completed ~55% of the MBE questions. I scored a 124 on the MBE my first time. The second time I took it I'm not sure what my score was because MA doesn't release them if you pass but on practice sets I was getting 65% - 74% correct. Also, first time around I only had a top score on 1 essay too. My other essay scores weren't bad though - it's the MBE that fucked me over.

Second time around this is what I did differently (still using Themis though since it was offered for free after I failed)
1. Skipped *every* single lecture - they're useless. As long as you can read you don't need to watch them or fill out those dumbass handouts.
2. I spent about 1.5 months solely on MBE subjects. I gave myself 3 to 4 days for each MBE subject and I read critical pass flashcards on day 1 making notes as I went along and then I would Silverman's MBE Essentials on the same subject making notes as well, day 2 I read the outlines again including the notes I made and SIlverman's MBE Essentials again, day 3 I made my own MBE outline, and then on that same day or the next, I would do a single subject MBE set. I did 4 of the 5 single subject MBE sets, one every day, on top of the new MBE subjects I was learning. At the end of learning all of the MBE subjects, I completed the last remaining single subject MBE problem sets. Reading the outlines I wrote was essential because it explained everything succinctly and in my own words.
I also would read sections of the long outlines in areas where my MBE score was particularly week and tweak my outline (usually handwritten after I printed them) to clarify anything.
3. About 1.5 months on essays - I made a calendar and every day I did at least 3 practice essays. I'd outline them as opposed to writing them out for the sake of time because I still did MBE review every single day (reviewing either 1 or 2 outlines and doing mixed problem sets by this point). I also outlined all of the essay topics based on the most frequently tested areas of law under each individual subject [I took the information for these outlines from the "Essay" workshop handout provided by Themis for MA] - like for Family Law my outline emphasized divorce, annulment, pre-nups, child support, child custody, support/property division,and best interests of the child. I'd review the essay outlines based on which were most often tested and did the essay outlines without looking at my outline after I did a couple from each subject.
4. You have to make a schedule and stick with it (I literally printed out a blank calendar and filled it all in). Write the exact problem set you're going to do of the MBE subject you're working on that day, or the MBE multiple choice and essays you're doing that day ... however you plan it out. Planning is so important!
5. I wrote down rule statements for every single MBE question I got incorrect, broken down by subject, and reviewed it on occasion. You'll notice patterns in what you're getting wrong and eventually those areas will start to click with you.
7. Ignore the amount of hours other people are studying and what they're doing. I did maybe 6 to 8 hours Sunday - Friday and Saturdays I had a light day of about 4 hours or so. I also ignored advice of people who passed the first time they took the bar exam because they don't comprehend the struggle.
8. I definitely recommend starting early! Not everyone has the luxury of doing that or studying full-time but after I failed it the first time, I was pulling all the stops.
9. Didn't over invest in MBE questions. I bought Strategies & tactics because basically everyone recommends it and it was useful in that the strategies/tactics sections for each subject were useful but the practice MBE questions overlapped with Themis questions so much that I quit doing them. I completed all of the Themis MBE questions which was in the area of 2,500, give or take.

Hope anything I did differently helps :) I probably wrote too much as well so my apologies about that!

& I probably completed about ~55% of the course the second time (solely MBE questions, essays, graded essays, exams) - the lectures make up literally nearly 50% of the course.


One thing I've noticed through this experience is there isn't a direct correlation between hours spent studying and performance. Some people study 6 weeks and pass. The amount of studying you put in or are suggesting I put in is impossible for me. I would just lose my mind. "4 hours on a light day"? Plus, I'm poor. I can no longer afford to not have a job. Me writing outline after outline and making flashcards or this or that would be helpful for regurgitating the law but it won't improve my MBE performance. My essays reflect I know the law. That being said, spending a month and a half on essays would be a waste of time. Even if I improve my essays 10 points, I would still have failed. My weakness is the MBE and that should be much easier to improve given my shitty score. Everything else you said I agree with and congrats on passing.


What you're looking for is an efficient way to study the MBE. I had to do the same thing--I studied for and passed NY and CA while working full time. I actually failed NY my first time, partly due to an average MBE score. The second time I improved my score by 20 points, which I'm sure is how I passed.

I highly recommend Adaptibar, like others have.

The main thing you need to do to prepare efficiently is to create the largest possible list of "trouble area" rules. You can't just max out your number of practice MBEs because it's possible you're only working on your strengths. You have to work on your weaknesses.

So instead of thinking that you have to do 10 MBE questions a day (or whatever) you should do something like try to get 5 MBE questions wrong per day. I know that sounds like an odd way to think about it. But for each question you get wrong, you write down the correct underlying rule. Over time, you will flush out all your weak areas.

It's important to start early and do a little bit each day. After some time, you will notice that your weak rules will become your strengths. Keep plugging away and over time you will see real improvement.

The truth is, and no bar prep company likes to say this, is that no matter how much you prepare for the MBE, you will always feel like crap after the exam. If you've studied, you'll basically feel certain about 25% of the questions (the easy questions), feel like you're guessing between 2 choices on 50%, and be completely uncertain about the remaining 25%. This is normal. You have to trust your preparation.

The key to preparation is to make sure that you get 100% of the easy questions. Studying your weak areas will get you there.

And as for studying while working, be sure to take lots of breaks. Burnout is a serious concern. If you planned to do 50 questions on a Saturday but feel extremely burnt out after doing 38 questions, take the rest of the day off. Burnout is a real concern, and avoiding it will be better for you in the long term, than doing the extra 12 questions. This is why you should start studying early--so that you build time into your schedule to take lots of breaks.

waxecstatic
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby waxecstatic » Mon May 18, 2015 1:09 pm

Thank you for some very helpful advice, bar slayer. I really never thought of it like that...it's definitely important to flesh out your weak areas, which for me are contracts and property because otherwise I am just literally doing the same things over and over again without any different result. I actually felt pretty good about the MBE, but I didn't know how I did--and I did feel like I was just guessing on too many contracts and property questions. I'm sure I missed some easy ones. I will definitely make sure this time to have more concentrated studying on areas that have always been trouble for me.

Bar Slayer
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:02 pm

Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby Bar Slayer » Mon May 18, 2015 1:21 pm

waxecstatic wrote:Thank you for some very helpful advice, bar slayer. I really never thought of it like that...it's definitely important to flesh out your weak areas, which for me are contracts and property because otherwise I am just literally doing the same things over and over again without any different result. I actually felt pretty good about the MBE, but I didn't know how I did--and I did feel like I was just guessing on too many contracts and property questions. I'm sure I missed some easy ones. I will definitely make sure this time to have more concentrated studying on areas that have always been trouble for me.


You're very welcome. A few more thoughts:

- It's kind of odd--in my limited experience, people who felt good/okay after the MBE tend to do worse than people who feel terrible afterwards. This was true in my experience--I felt much worse immediately afterwards when I scored a 155 (passed) than when I scored a 133 (failed).
- My suspicion is that the stronger your grasp of the material, the more likely you are to notice how tricky some of the questions are.
- If you felt good at the end of the MBE, you probably haven't noticed all the ways that the MBE successfully tricked you.
- Contracts and property are tough. Those were my weakest areas too. For the longest time my % correct in those subjects were in the 40s to 50s. I think this is true for most test takers (Adaptibar tells you how well everyone is doing in each subject)

You can definitely pull this off next time. Good luck!




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