With its usual 33% to 50% weighting in overall scoring across all jurisdictions, the Multistate Bar Exam® (MBE®) is arguably the single most crucial component of the bar exam. That’s why aspiring attorneys must make sure to prepare thoroughly to achieve a high MBE passing score. Performing well on the MBE by attaining a high passing score will give you the best chance to succeed in the overall bar exam. This article will shed some light on how to improve your MBE score.
1. Review, Reevaluate, and Revise Your Study Plan
With no one-size-fits-all method to study for the bar exam, the best study plan is one you can change. This is especially true if you failed the bar the first time and are retaking the exam. You may have to lose some things from your previous iteration and adopt new habits or strategies into your unique study plan.
If you are a first-time bar exam taker, research the habits of candidates who conquered the bar exam the first time with high MBE passing scores. Adopt these habits into your study plan. You can also lean on your past experiences preparing for other high-stakes exams throughout your academic career that resulted in successful outcomes. But remember that a study plan is only as good as your commitment to stick to it. Discipline yourself to not deviate from your study schedule so that you can be consistent in implementing your study plan from top to bottom.
If you are retaking the bar exam, review what worked and what didn’t, what parts of your study plan would’ve worked better if you had done something different, etc. Then come up with a new game plan that eliminates your weaknesses and amplifies your strengths. Studying for the MBE is as much an exercise in discipline as in knowledge. Recognizing what to retain and where you need to make changes can make all the difference in improving your MBE score. Use the lessons you learned as fuel to perform better the next time around.
2. Focus On Highly Tested Subjects
It may seem ironic to hear that less is more when preparing for such a high-stakes exam as the MBE. Yet, there’s a method to the madness. With only so many hours each day to prepare for the bar exam while juggling other responsibilities (either in law school or in a law office), it pays to have a focused approach.
As you study for the bar exam, identify the most frequently tested subjects on the MBE and practice questions on those subjects significantly more than non-frequently tested topics. An excellent way to achieve this is to review with a third-party prep provider specializing in NCBE®-licensed and other practice questions that have appeared on previous MBE exams.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
This is where the cliché, practice makes perfect, applies. You will want to log hundreds of hours of practice to fully prepare for the MBE. Go through thousands of practice questions over and over again until you have mastered the concepts being tested.
The MBE features 200 multiple-choice questions testing seven subjects, meaning you have a lot of material to cover in your studies. That’s why it is crucial to invest a significant amount of your time repeatedly practicing as many questions as you possibly can. This repetition will familiarize you with the endurance needed to sit through a 6-hour exam on test day and not be intimidated.
4. Practice in Exam-Like Conditions
As professional athletes know, how you practice typically reflects how you perform. The same is true for high-stakes exams like the MBE. As you review your materials, do so in an environment that mimics the conditions you will encounter when taking the actual exam.
For such a rigorous, lengthy exam, you will need to build your stamina and endurance. As with the actual exam experience, sit for the exam with no distractions around you, use only the same materials allowed in the testing center, and take only the exact amount of time for breaks as you would be allotted on that day.
Practicing in a simulated test-day environment will familiarize you with the grind of taking such a challenging exam so that you can be more confident when you walk into the testing center on your MBE exam day, knowing what to expect.
5. Practice With Licensed Questions
It helps to know what to expect on exam day. While the questions you encounter on test day will differ from anything you see in practice, getting familiar with licensed questions will give you an advantage. Practicing with NCBE-licensed questions that have appeared on previous MBE exams is one of the best ways to prepare to ace the MBE with a high passing score.
Besides, the more comfortable you become taking and performing well on these licensed questions, the more confident you will feel as exam day approaches.
6. Performance Monitoring With Custom Reports
Part of the learning process is tracking your progress to ensure that you understand the concepts you are studying and retain the information you are reviewing. That’s why preparing with a provider or course that offers performance monitoring is an effective way to improve your MBE passing score.
Working with the right MBE question bank (QBank), you could review the analytics for previous practice tests and select what columns you want to see in your performance report. You could even choose to see separate sections for subject and chapter levels and customize your reports to show only the questions you answered incorrectly or correctly.
This custom reporting gives you a granular view of how you scored on practice questions so that you can quickly identify your weaker areas. For example, you could create a practice test exclusively from questions you missed or chapters you struggled to score well in, which is an excellent way to perform better.
By diving into effective and efficient customized reports, you will gain valuable insights into your performance and recognize what subjects you need to concentrate on to improve your MBE score.
Across all jurisdictions, the MBE tends to carry a significant weighting score, up to 50%, making it one of the most critical components of the bar exam. As you prepare for the bar, focusing on improving your MBE score could mean the difference between passing and failing. We hope this article will help you implement new ways to improve your MBE score.
We wish you the best of luck as you prepare for the bar exam!
Supplement your bar prep with the UWorld MBE QBank – click here for your FREE trial!