One mistake many bar takers make from the outset is that they approach the MBE like any other multiple-choice test. They believe that if they have a solid understanding of the underlying material that they will easily be able to spot the correct answer choice most of the time. The fallacy of this kind of thinking is that it assumes knowledge alone will equal success on test day. This is simply not the case.
The only way to know what you will be up against on game day is to practice as many MBE questions as you can lay your hands on every day that you plan to study. Your bar review course will provide you with practice questions, you can obtain additional practice questions directly from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and you can even use your mobile device to bone up on MBE basics using free apps.
Your bar preparation period will typically only be 6-8 weeks long, so it is crucial that you begin your MBE practice regime as soon as you can and stick with it. Daily practice will ensure that you not only master the underlying concepts, but that you can apply them on the actual test as well. You should tackle between 33-50 practice questions each day that you study, giving yourself at least two hours for each set. This will allow you to carefully review all your answers and understand both why you got questions right, and why you got them wrong.
Though you will only have an average of 1.8 minutes to answer each question on the actual test, you should not worry about timing yourself when you first begin your bar prep. Accuracy and comprehension are far more important than speed for the first several weeks of your bar studies. As you become more familiar with the format of the test, your speed will increase naturally, and you can begin to time yourself then.
Also important is not to become distracted by sub-topics that will only appear in a couple questions (for example, the Rule Against Perpetuities). You should instead concentrate on topics that are more heavily tested on the MBE, as about 50% of the questions are derived from these areas of law. First Amendment Rights, Formation Issues, Mortgages, Hearsay, Crimes, and Negligence are key areas, and are, therefore, where you should focus your efforts so you can rack up the most points.
Finally, learn to trust your gut. Don’t forfeit valuable points by second guessing yourself and talking yourself out of a correct answer choice by fighting the facts in the question prompt. One thing you can do to gauge how often you are doing this is to create a simple notation system to indicate which answer choice was your “gut response” and which answer choice you ultimately went with. (For example, you can draw a triangle around the “gut answer” and circle your final choice.) When you review your work, tabulate how many times your first response was actually correct and you might be surprised!
Next up: All About the Multistate Essay Exam.
Have a question about preparing for the bar exam? Email Kimber Russell at Kimber.Russell@kaplan.com.
Check back here every Monday and Wednesday for more Bar Points. And get extra practice with our MBE Questions of the Day every Tuesday and Thursday at Facebook.com/KaplanPMBR.