MBE® Exam Day: Seven Things You Should Do

Law graduate on MBE exam day

What you do on test day is just as important as what you do in the weeks leading to it. Here are some tips that will help you succeed on MBE exam day. 

Eat Breakfast

A healthy breakfast enhances cognitive function and improves memory. Conversely, skipping breakfast reduces your attention span, efficiency, and cognitive function. So give yourself a leg up by eating a healthy breakfast that you know won’t give you any issues later. Now is not the time to try new foods (same goes for lunch). 

Remember Your MBE Exam-Day Kit

In our blog article, Bar Exam Tips: Tackling the Final Week Before the Exam, we listed what supplies to bring (and not bring) to the test center. Put your testing supplies in a clear plastic bag and leave it by the front door. This way, you’re sure to bring it with you on MBE day.

Don’t Cram

It’s unlikely that you’ll learn anything new by cramming on the day of the exam. Don’t add to your stress by obsessively reviewing your notes. Instead, remind yourself that you’ve worked hard—really hard—in preparation for this day. You are ready!

Arrive Early

Make plans to arrive at the test site at least 30 minutes early. Give yourself time to deal with traffic, use the restroom (you don’t want to lose valuable test time on a pit stop), and calm yourself before heading into the exam room.

Fill In Your Scantron Correctly—And Answer Every Question

Your MBE score is determined by what you mark on your scantron, not on your test booklet. Here are a few ways to ensure that you fill out your scantron correctly:  

  • Transfer your answers from the test booklet to the scantron every 15 minutes. This practice will help you keep track of time and give you mini-breaks throughout the exam.  
  • Check that you’re filling in the line on the scantron that matches up with your test booklet. You don’t want to be that person who realizes 50 questions into the exam that your scantron was one question off from your test book (true story)! 
  • Fill in the appropriate bubble on your scantron completely. Start by tracing the outline of the bubble and then fill in the middle. This attention to detail will help you avoid stray marks. 
  • If you change your mind, substantially erase your initial answer before selecting a new one. Bring a good eraser with you to avoid scoring errors. 
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, skip it. Make a note on your scratch paper so you can come back to the question later or at least fill in a random bubble on your scantron before time runs out. You won’t lose points for guessing, so answer every question.  

Keep Track of Time

Pacing is important! You have roughly one hour to answer 33 questions. That means you should hit question 34 at the end of the first hour and question 68 at the end of the second. So before you start reading any questions, circle questions 34 and 68 in your test booklet.

You can also use your scantron to measure your pace. Fill in your scantron every 15 minutes. If you fill in nine to 10 answers each time, you’ll have time to spare at the end of the three-hour session. You can use that time to answer any questions that you may have skipped and take a second look at tricky questions. 

Follow the Rules

The NCBE has published a list of exam day no-nos. These rules are no joke. Violations can lead to dismissal from the test center, cancellation of your score, and more!

The NCBE strictly forbids the following:

  • Bringing unauthorized electronic devices (including cell phones) or unapproved materials into the testing room 
  • Copying or sharing answers (which likely would be unsuccessful anyway since there are several versions of the test booklet)
  • Taking test materials out of the testing room 
  • Causing a disruption or disturbance (hold off on celebrating until after you leave the exam room) 
  • Continuing to work after a supervisor has instructed examinees to stop 
  • Disclosing, summarizing, or paraphrasing exam content (just take the exam and forget about it!) 

If your jurisdiction prohibits any additional items or behavior, follow those rules as well. And speaking of rules… if you have a friend who needs some help learning the law covered on the MBE® (or on the off chance that you ever have to retake it), click here for our FREE trial and a significant boost in MBE prep. We’ll have anyone ready to ace the MBE on exam day.

MBE® is a registered trademark of The National Conference of Bar Examiners® (NCBE®). NCBE does not endorse, promote, or warrant the accuracy or quality of the products or services offered by UWorld Legal.

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