The Right Way to Answer MBE Questions on the Bar Exam

Practicing MBE questions is a crucial part of effectively preparing for the bar exam. 

Knowing the substantive law is important, but having a consistent and effective approach when you're answering MBEs can give you a bar exam boost.

The following tips can help you develop an approach that will yield correct answers on the bar exam.

1. What's the subject matter you're dealing with?

MBE questions don't identify any single question by subject matter, which is one reason the MBE is particularly difficult. Reading an already-tough question without knowing the subject matter from the outset can lead to confusion or re-reading.

So, you want to work to identify what subject you're dealing with from the get-go, before you even start reading the question. This will help you read the question with clarity and focus, having the greater context in mind as you read.

2. Look at the call of the question.

The best way to figure out an MBE question's subject matter is by skipping ahead to the call of the question. This is the statement or question following the mini fact pattern in most MBE questions. It's usually right above the answer choices.

The call will usually give away the subject, and might even indicate what you're looking for within that subject. If you can't figure out or narrow down the subject based on the call of the question, you can also glance at the answer choices.

Together with the call of the question, the answer choices will probably give you enough information to identify the subject, or even the topic within the subject.

3. Read the entire question.

After quickly glancing at the call of the question and/or answer choices, carefully read the entire question from the beginning with the subject in mind. This approach enables you to read the question with full focus.

4. Find the wrong answers first.

When it comes to answer choices, you should work to eliminate instead of working to identify the correct answer. Almost every MBE question has one really bad answer. Find that and get it out of the way.

Because many MBE questions are binary, meaning the question calls for one of two answers, you can eliminate two answer choices from the get-go. For example, a Torts question involving a car accident might ask if the plaintiff has a claim for negligence against the driver?

Either plaintiff does or doesn't, and most questions' answer choices will be split between "yes, because" or "no, because" answers. If you know the answer is "yes" after reading the question, eliminate the "no" options.

With the remaining answer choices, think about why an answer choice might be wrong over why it may be right. This will help you narrow down to the correct choice.

Finally, you can't answer any MBE question unless you've learned and memorized the material - make sure you've nailed that down!


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

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