Crim Law on the Bar Exam: What You Need to Know

There may not be a subject on the bar exam where knowledge of elements is more important than Criminal Law.

The reality is that Crim is not an inherently difficult subject, so the bar exam tests the elements a lot. There are not a ton of tricky wrinkles. So on the bar exam, and the MBE in particular, the questions target individual elements most often.

What that means for you is that drilling down elements for Criminal Law is important, obviously. But also taking practice questions - preferably real MBE practice questions - and understanding how to apply Crim elements is crucial.

Know inchoate offenses.

By far the trickiest area that's tested in Criminal Law is inchoate offenses and criminal law principles. We're not talking about the substantive crimes like burglary or manslaughter, but rather issues like conspiracy, solicitation, or attempt involving those crimes.

What that means is it's very important to get yourself fully acquainted with any sort of scenario involving a solicitation or conspiracy or attempt involving any crime. Practice these questions as much as possible because you definitely will see them on the MBE.

Model Penal Code (MPC) standards are important.

You'll also see questions that invoke the MPC standards vs. the common law standards. This isn't a hugely tested issue, but it will come up. So make sure you're aware of the differences here.

The bottom line.

Criminal Law on the bar exam isn't the most difficult subject to master. But the most difficult parts of the subject are the areas most heavily tested. So it's crucial that you spend time getting as familiar as possible with these areas and, most importantly, taking practice questions.


MBE and MEE Essay Flashcards that help you learn and memorize key bar exam concepts, effectively and affordably.

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