Many previous bar passers will tell you the MBE is the most important part of the bar exam. But why is this the case?
Should you dedicate the majority of your study time to MBE subjects? Why does the seven-subject MBE gets so much attention when, depending on the state, there can be up to 10 additional subjects tested on the bar exam? Below we dive into these questions...
The MBE is hard
First, most people regard the MBE as the hardest portion of the bar exam. The 200 questions are rarely easy or straightforward. They can be tricky, and sometimes worded in a way that guides you to the wrong answer.
You can't game the MBE
Second, unlike other portions of the bar exam (particularly essays), you can't "game" the MBE or disguise a bad answer with good writing. You either know an MBE answer or you don't. It’s as simple as that.
The MBE counts for a lot of your total bar exam score
Third, the MBE is often a huge portion of your score, accounting for as much as 50% of your total bar exam score in many states. This third point is crucial in understanding why the MBE can actually work to your advantage, even if the MBE counts for less than 50% of your state's total bar exam score.
Why? Because MBE subjects are often tested on the essay portion of the bar exam. In fact, usually 1/4 to 1/2 (or more) of the essays on the bar exam in most states are MBE subjects, or at least incorporate knowledge of MBE subjects.
Leverage the MBE to your advantage
Thus, by studying for the MBE, you're also studying for the essay portion of the bar exam. Because it's almost certain that you'll face at least two MBE subjects in your essays, you're preparing for as much as half of the essay portion alone just by studying MBE subjects.
Sure, writing essays and answering MBE questions are different in terms of the skill set you must apply, but the knowledge required to answer each is the same.
The takeaway here is that you must know your MBE subjects to pass the bar exam, especially before you invest too much time in mastering other subjects. Make the MBE your friend and it will reward you across the entire bar exam.
Good luck studying!