Biggest MBE Mistakes

How To Avoid The Five Biggest MBE Mistakes

At first glance, the use of a multiple-choice test as part of the bar exam might seem odd. After all, law school exams are mostly in essay or short-answer format. The multiple-choice format of the MBE will test not only your substantive knowledge but also your analysis of different potential answers. To help you avoid the biggest MBE mistakes, we’ve put together this list of tips.

How To Avoid The Five Biggest MBE Mistakes

1. Keep an Eye Out for Choice Answers that Are Legally Right, But Don’t Apply

In approaching multiple-choice questions, your goal is to narrow down the answer choices to find the correct one. One of the biggest mistakes test takers make on the MBE is to pick an answer that correctly states the law but doesn’t apply to the issue at hand. To avoid this, make sure your answer choice matches the facts you are given!

2. Understand the Goal of the Question

Sometimes, test-takers make the mistake of overthinking particular questions. Keep in mind that the questions are designed to be answered in under 2 minutes and that the questions typically focus on a particular rule or exception. Once you identify the issue, move on — don’t outsmart yourself!

3. Keep Calm

It is totally normal to feel anxious leading up to the MBE, but don’t let that anxiety hijack your performance. If you start to panic during the exam, it may cause you to miss necessary details. Instead, work on techniques for focusing and keeping calm. A few deep breaths may be all it takes to help your brain refocus and select the correct answer.

Here are some tips to help keep yourself calm!

4. Don’t Waste Time On Hypotheticals

By the time you get to the MBE, you’ve gone through three years of law school and likely had some legal work experience during the summers. While this experience is useful, it may work against you during the MBE, especially where questions about defenses or exceptions are concerned. Stick to the facts at hand, not your prior experience. Therefore, unless the facts tell you that the question is about a particular exception or defense, eliminate answer choices on defenses or exceptions.

5. Reading Carefully is Key

Lastly, one of the most common mistakes that test takers make on the MBE is reading too quickly. This can lead to missing key facts — the test makers love to make questions turn on a particular word. Pay close attention to trigger words (“most likely to succeed”, “best defense”) and key modifiers (“if”, “unless”, “because”) as they can change the entire meaning of the question or answer choice.

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