A strategy for improving the MBE

LawDawg2016
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby LawDawg2016 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:25 am

waxecstatic wrote: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.



I'm curious how you did next time around. Didn't get a 115...but didn't pass the MBE. :x Looking to improve for July. What worked, if anything, for you?

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anon sequitur
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby anon sequitur » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:58 pm

I'd be most curious about why your score didn't improve after so many MBE questions. Based on your essay grades, you have to have a pretty good handle on legal analysis and how to apply it to black letter law. So you have to figure out why you missed all those questions when you had the correct answer right there in front of you. After around 1000 questions, you should be able to look over your history and see what issues you are missing the most on, and that makes it much easier to study for. Instead of just studying a property outline in general, you can study the part about recognizing the differences between different types of future covenants. That will get you the detailed understanding to spot the trick in the answer choices that makes them wrong. You don't need that kind of detail for the essays, but you do if you want to do well on the MBE. Fortunately, you don't have to actually be able to articulate the differences, just remember them well enough so that when they are presented incorrectly they stick out.

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SilvermanBarPrep
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby SilvermanBarPrep » Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:09 pm

I know that the released questions are quite limited but be sure to work through all of the questions that the NCBE has released. There is also a book called Strategies and Tactics for the Multistate Method. I've noticed that many of my students have never heard of this book but I believe that as far as non-official MBE questions go, this is one of the best books available.

The key to doing well on the MBE is knowing the law well enough to see through the distractors! Eliminating all that is incorrect so that the last remaining choice is the correct answer. Being able to do this consistently requires a very thorough knowledge base and lots of practice!

Sean

9xSound
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby 9xSound » Sat Apr 23, 2016 2:59 pm

Two of my repeater friends who failed yet again pointed to the MBE as their downfall. I'm confident that it wasn't due to an inadequate knowledge of the law. When I asked them (separately) about their approach to selecting answers, each of them said that they had eliminated the wrong answers until they settled on the right one. Correct approach, but imperfect. As I questioned them further, they both admitted that their approach ultimately relied upon gut instinct instead of a methodical plan of attack. The fact is, depending upon instinct is a terrible game plan for passing the MBE.

The MBE requires a mechanical approach to consistently solving the problems. Many people will advise you to read the call of the question first and glance at the answer choices to get your bearings, then read the facts, re-read the call, and then start eliminating wrong answers. I agree with this approach. However, for study purposes, it's an incomplete strategy. After you have read the facts and re-read the call, but before you start trying to eliminate answer choices, you need to take a moment to identify and articulate (out loud is best) the following:

(1) What issue is this problem actually testing? (Is it negligence or an intentional tort, consideration, acceptance, relevance, a defense?)
(2) What is the law of the issue, i.e., what are all of the elements that are needed to prove this issue? Recount them aloud.
(3) Which single element is the determinative point of law given the call and these facts?

Once you have completed this analytical drill, you will be ready to start eliminating wrong answers. Ignore the clock. Take the time to make this drill a Habit with every MBE problem that you do. Being methodical in your approach must become second nature. Automatic. You can work on your speed as you get closer to the bar, knowing that you will naturally become faster as you continue to work through MBE problems.

As I reviewed and re-reviewed my wrong answers over and over (another important prep strategy), I studied why I had selected the wrong answer, in addition to reviewing the rules of law. In other words, WTF did I do wrong? As a tactic of studying the test itself, not just studying the law, I kept track of the underlying reason behind every incorrect answer that I selected. You need to do the same if you are having trouble with the MBE. The majority of my wrong answers involved a breakdown at one of the 3 steps outlined above. (An insignificant percentage involved going too fast or just stupid mistakes.) About 45% of my wrong answers resulted from not knowing the law and the elements well enough. Okay, predictable. But surprisingly, another 45% of my wrong answers turned on my failure to identify the precise, narrow issue that the problem was in fact testing. Sometimes this turns on a single word in the facts. I could see that it was a torts problem, duh. But winging it by instinct and the seat of my pants, I would misidentify the narrow issue on which the correct answer turned, even though I knew the elements cold otherwise. If the right answer turns on intent, and you're thinking about causation, you will be applying the wrong litmus test when eliminating answer choices, which will lead you to the wrong answer selection.

Scoring high on the MBE depends upon knowing all of the elements cold, but also recognizing which element that the problem is testing. During your prep, take the time to mechanically, logically figure out the right litmus test to apply using the 3-step process above before you stampede through the answer choices. You will get more of them right, making fewer dumb mistakes, and you'll condition yourself to bring a winning approach to the table on the bar.

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JazzOne
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby JazzOne » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:23 pm

9xSound wrote:Two of my repeater friends who failed yet again pointed to the MBE as their downfall. I'm confident that it wasn't due to an inadequate knowledge of the law. When I asked them (separately) about their approach to selecting answers, each of them said that they had eliminated the wrong answers until they settled on the right one. Correct approach, but imperfect. As I questioned them further, they both admitted that their approach ultimately relied upon gut instinct instead of a methodical plan of attack. The fact is, depending upon instinct is a terrible game plan for passing the MBE.

The MBE requires a mechanical approach to consistently solving the problems. Many people will advise you to read the call of the question first and glance at the answer choices to get your bearings, then read the facts, re-read the call, and then start eliminating wrong answers. I agree with this approach. However, for study purposes, it's an incomplete strategy. After you have read the facts and re-read the call, but before you start trying to eliminate answer choices, you need to take a moment to identify and articulate (out loud is best) the following:

(1) What issue is this problem actually testing? (Is it negligence or an intentional tort, consideration, acceptance, relevance, a defense?)
(2) What is the law of the issue, i.e., what are all of the elements that are needed to prove this issue? Recount them aloud.
(3) Which single element is the determinative point of law given the call and these facts?

Once you have completed this analytical drill, you will be ready to start eliminating wrong answers. Ignore the clock. Take the time to make this drill a Habit with every MBE problem that you do. Being methodical in your approach must become second nature. Automatic. You can work on your speed as you get closer to the bar, knowing that you will naturally become faster as you continue to work through MBE problems.

As I reviewed and re-reviewed my wrong answers over and over (another important prep strategy), I studied why I had selected the wrong answer, in addition to reviewing the rules of law. In other words, WTF did I do wrong? As a tactic of studying the test itself, not just studying the law, I kept track of the underlying reason behind every incorrect answer that I selected. You need to do the same if you are having trouble with the MBE. The majority of my wrong answers involved a breakdown at one of the 3 steps outlined above. (An insignificant percentage involved going too fast or just stupid mistakes.) About 45% of my wrong answers resulted from not knowing the law and the elements well enough. Okay, predictable. But surprisingly, another 45% of my wrong answers turned on my failure to identify the precise, narrow issue that the problem was in fact testing. Sometimes this turns on a single word in the facts. I could see that it was a torts problem, duh. But winging it by instinct and the seat of my pants, I would misidentify the narrow issue on which the correct answer turned, even though I knew the elements cold otherwise. If the right answer turns on intent, and you're thinking about causation, you will be applying the wrong litmus test when eliminating answer choices, which will lead you to the wrong answer selection.

Scoring high on the MBE depends upon knowing all of the elements cold, but also recognizing which element that the problem is testing. During your prep, take the time to mechanically, logically figure out the right litmus test to apply using the 3-step process above before you stampede through the answer choices. You will get more of them right, making fewer dumb mistakes, and you'll condition yourself to bring a winning approach to the table on the bar.

Sound advice. Get it? Lol

Seriously though: +1 to this entire post

Nybar2015
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:13 pm

Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby Nybar2015 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:14 am

The key to MBE is practice, practice, practice. I am saying this becoz I failed twice and this is what did during my 3rd attempt.

Step -1: choose a course or courses and stick to it. You need to complete at least one course. I did kaplan mbe 6 day course. I liked the lectures because they were shorter and crisper. But i did not like the explanations compared to barbri mbe. I completed kaplan and then did roughly 200-300 barbri mbe as I had no time. But I liked barbri explanations than kaplan though it was too late to switch. A majority liked adaptibar, so you can try that too. Get NCBE qs too, bcos it looks like they are more accurate than kaplan or barbri.

Step - 2: read your outline for every subject thoroughly and then start doing the mbe. Take around 2-3 days for every subject and do the mbe for the next 2-3 days.

Step - 3: you might not be able to do a question in 1:45secs. I nearly took 5-7 mins in the beginning but as you practice you will improve.
Also do sets of 10 or 17 questions Talwar for the first 50qs, then increase it to 33 qs and then 60 or 70 depending on your comfort.

Step -4: as many said key is to read all the explanations even if you get the question correct. Honestly the ones we get correct may be becoz of luck . So read read read explanation and that is key.

Step - 5: again as many said make a mbe rules sheet either handwritten or on comp. I did write as I am not great at typing. But if you know typing it truly helps you to organise the rules. Write down all rules that you guessed or got wrong. You can then see what is most tested in mbe. So that would be helpful for your final review.

Step- 6: do take the simulated mbe at least 3-4 weeks before the exam. That score would give you an idea where you stand in mbe: I got 105 in kaplan and my actual mbe is 126, I know it's bad but guess that 10% improvement helped me. Do simulated mbe 3-4 weeks b4 exam because you improve your weak areas and increase final mbe by 10-50%.

Step - 7: revise the rules sheet that you prepared before the exam.

Step-8: lot of valuable information in this thread. So read through it :)

Good luck you can do it!!

Neve
Posts: 180
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby Neve » Fri May 27, 2016 7:05 pm

9xSound wrote:As I reviewed and re-reviewed my wrong answers over and over (another important prep strategy), I studied why I had selected the wrong answer, in addition to reviewing the rules of law. In other words, WTF did I do wrong? As a tactic of studying the test itself, not just studying the law, I kept track of the underlying reason behind every incorrect answer that I selected. You need to do the same if you are having trouble with the MBE. The majority of my wrong answers involved a breakdown at one of the 3 steps outlined above. (An insignificant percentage involved going too fast or just stupid mistakes.) About 45% of my wrong answers resulted from not knowing the law and the elements well enough. Okay, predictable. But surprisingly, another 45% of my wrong answers turned on my failure to identify the precise, narrow issue that the problem was in fact testing. Sometimes this turns on a single word in the facts. I could see that it was a torts problem, duh. But winging it by instinct and the seat of my pants, I would misidentify the narrow issue on which the correct answer turned, even though I knew the elements cold otherwise. If the right answer turns on intent, and you're thinking about causation, you will be applying the wrong litmus test when eliminating answer choices, which will lead you to the wrong answer selection.


+1. Reviewing your mistakes, learning the elements, and practice, practice, practice is key to the MBE.

Law&coffee
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:10 pm

Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby Law&coffee » Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:08 pm

prettylilmama wrote: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.


Has anyone used both Adaptibar and Barmax? I'm wondering what the difference is between those two. Barmax seems like a cheaper alternative to Adaptibar without all the bells and whistles.

L_William_W
Posts: 122
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Re: A strategy for improving the MBE

Postby L_William_W » Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:57 pm

SilvermanBarPrep wrote:I know that the released questions are quite limited but be sure to work through all of the questions that the NCBE has released. There is also a book called Strategies and Tactics for the Multistate Method. I've noticed that many of my students have never heard of this book but I believe that as far as non-official MBE questions go, this is one of the best books available.

The key to doing well on the MBE is knowing the law well enough to see through the distractors! Eliminating all that is incorrect so that the last remaining choice is the correct answer. Being able to do this consistently requires a very thorough knowledge base and lots of practice!

Sean


Coming from a repeater, the best book is Kaplan. It is roughly the same format and level of difficulty as the real exam. My MBE went from a 118.6 in July 2014 (NY, obviously failed) to a 123.2 in February 2015 (NJ, failed) to a 130.2 in July 2015 (NJ, barely passed).

After getting my ass handed to me, I realized that there are simply some subjects that I'm weak at and no matter how many times I review it, I won't get it (property, contracts, civ pro). With that in mind, I basically went through the motions in those subjects but studied EXTRA, EXTRA hard in my stronger subjects (torts, crim, con law, evidence). I figured that if I got 75% of the questions right in the big 4 subjects, I could pass, even with a mediocre performance in my 3 weakest subjects.

I looked for patterns in both the correct answers and the trap answers. I understood why an answer was correct and why a trap answer was incorrect. I didn't focus on the amount of time I took to complete each MBE. In the AM session of the July 2015 bar, there was 2 minutes left and I still had 7 MBE's to complete. I just said fuck it and guessed B on all of them. I had a fudge factor since during prep, I knew that I couldn't possibly complete all of them on time. Rather than to rush through each MBE, I figured that it was better to do the MBE's correctly, even if I run out of time than to rush and get them wrong. Of course, this was within reason- I couldn't take so long on each question that there would be 20 MBE's left to do.




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