Does The NCBE Reuse Old MBE Questions?
In order to prepare for the MBE, you must first understand what it is, what is being tested and how it’s being tested. In this post, we break down core aspects of the MBE and answer whether the NCBE reuses old MBE questions.
Does The NCBE Reuse Old MBE Questions?
What is the Multistate Bar Exam?
The Multi-state Bar Exam (MBE) is a 200 question multiple-choice examination. Of those questions tested, 175 are scored. The remaining 25 questions are experimental. The exam is administered in two, three-hour sections for a total test time of six hours. The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) drafts the MBE. The MBE is administered as part of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in some jurisdictions, or as part of different states’ own bar exams. The MBE is administered in all U.S. states with the exception of Louisiana. It is also administered in the District of Columba, Guam, the Northern Mariana Island, Palau, and the Virgin Islands.
The NCBE states that “the purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns.” With the purpose of the MBE remaining the same, you may think that the NCBE must reuse old MBE questions. The reality is a bit more complicated than that.
How are MBE questions drafted?
The MBE always tests the same subjects. The NCBE states that the MBE tests the following subjects:
- Civil Procedure
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Real Property
Each of the preceding subjects will be tested in 25 questions. What topics show up on the MBE within each of these subjects is always changing. To see the most highly tested MBE topics, check out our blog post.
The content of MBE questions may vary slightly, but the format of the questions remains largely the same. Each question will have approximately a paragraph of facts followed by the call of the question. The call of the question is almost always a single sentence. The examinee then has the choice between four options: A, B, C, or D. The questions are drafted to test whether examinees know the nuances of the rule of law. For example, you’ll need to know not only whether the answer is “yes” or “no” but why the answer is either “yes” or “no”. Many commercial courses create questions for you to use to practice for the MBE. These are helpful for learning some of the intricacies of the law.
Does the NCBE actually reuse old MBE questions?
The answer is no. The NCBE does not actually reuse old MBE questions. For each administration, the NCBE works hard to draft completely new MBE questions. The subject, content, and format may remain the same, but you’re not going to see any of the same questions on the bar exam that you used to study.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study for the bar exam using old MBE questions. Again, many commercial bar exam courses and study materials draft their own multiple-choice questions. These can be helpful, but it is equally important to be familiar with the way that the MBE questions are drafted. Sometimes students take lots of multiple choice practice exams, get to the bar exam, and are thrown off by the MBE’s question format. Avoid this by taking old MBE questions. The NCBE doesn’t reuse old MBE questions, but you may come across questions that are very similar. Familiarity with the format of typical MBE questions will work to your advantage.
How should I prepare for the MBE?
The key to adequately preparing for the MBE is practice! The NCBE doesn’t reuse old MBE questions, so there’s no use in trying to rely on seeing repeat questions on your bar exam. Instead, focus on taking more time to study highly tested topics and practicing using old MBE questions. For more detailed information about passing the MBE, check out our free guide!
Don’t trust any rumors you hear about the NCBE reusing old MBE questions! This isn’t a practice the NCBE engages in, but MBE question format does remain largely the same. Understanding this format and the intricacies of the law tested (in addition to practice) are the keys to passing the MBE!
Looking for MBE Help?
We offer the following MBE products and services:
- An MBE course, which comes with several MBE sessions, all 7 MBE outlines, our MBE diagnostic, MBE guide, and MBE one-sheets!
- MBE private tutoring for those seeking one-on-one help to pass the MBE.
- Real MBE questions! We offer the latest NCBE-released questions!
- Our MBE favorites series, which dissects the “favorite” issues the MBE tests. You have instant access to them online!
- An MBE Seminar for those looking for strategies to improve their MBE score.
- An MBE guide, which has a guaranteed 7-point score increase.
- An MBE diagnostic for those who are having trouble determining why their scores are not increasing.