bar examHow to Attack Civil Procedure on the MBE

This post was updated on January 27, 2018.

Civil Procedure is being added to the Multistate Bar exam starting February 2015. This means that out of 200 questions, there will be 27 graded Civil Procedure questions on the multistate bar exam.

How do you prepare for Civil Procedure on the MBE?

Step One: Learn The Law You Need to Know by Studying Smart. 

We know you have seven MBE subjects to prepare for. It is simply not realistic for you to learn every nuance of every law. So instead of trying to memorize every detail,  focus  your studies on the most highly-tested areas of law

How do you know what is most highly-tested?The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), which is responsible for writing the exam, gives some guidance as to what you should expect. For example, the NCBE reveals that “Approximately two-thirds of the Civil Procedure questions on the MBE will be based on categories I, III, and V,” in the subject matter outline that it posts –  “and approximately one-third will be based on the remaining categories II, IV, VI, and VII.”

What this basically means is that there will likely be approximately 5-7 questions in each category below. These categories are what you should focus the majority of your study time on:

  • Jurisdiction and venue (Subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, service of process and venue)
  • Pretrial procedures (preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders, pleadings and amended pleadings, Rule 11, joinder of parties and claims including class actions, discovery, adjudication without trial, and pretrial conference and order)
  • Motions (pretrial motions, motions for judgment as a matter of law, post-trial motions including relief from judgment and new trial)

As for the remaining categories (II, IV, VI, and VII): It is still a very good idea to prepare as well as you can for them. However, they will not be tested as much so don’t spend as much time preparing for them as you do preparing for the categories above. There will likely be approximately 2-3 questions in each category below:

  • Law applied by federal courts (state law in federal court, federal common law)
  • Jury trials (right to a jury trial, selection and composition of juries, requests for and objections to jury instructions)
  • Verdicts and Judgments (default and involuntary dismissals, jury verdicts, judicial findings and conclusions, claim and issue preclusion)
  • Appealability and review (interlocutory review, final judgment rule, scope of review for judge and jury)

Step Two: After you learn the law, practice it!

Note the word “AFTER”. Do not try to practice questions before you know the law!  Do not make the common mistake of reading your outline once and then diving into practice questions. You need to spend a lot of time learning the law before practicing! If you struggle with multiple-choice questions, please read our very popular post on our in-depth guide to improving your multiple choice score.

After you feel comfortable with your knowledge of the substantive law, dedicate a significant time to practicing questions. Start by completing the  ten free Civil Procedure test questions on the NCBE website. You will find that they are definitely not easy – but they are also not extremely nuanced either. The NCBE does not have answer explanations to these questions – but the good news is, we have written them! See this post for the answer explanations.

Looking for additional Civil Procedure MBE practice questions? The NCBE just released 30 more Civil Procedure questions in December of 2017. They are tricky questions. You can purchase them on our real MBE questions page here!

If you are looking for bar exam tutoring for Civil Procedure or any portion of the bar exam, please feel free to contact us at your convenience!