Bar ExamMBE

MBE Subjects – What Topics Are on the Multistate Bar Exam?

If you are studying for your MBE, then you know how important it is to cover all the areas you might be tested on. Many times, you might get overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of the subjects covered and forget to go through some of your reading material.

As a refresher, this portion of the UBE has a total of 200 multiple-choice questions divided into two three-hour sessions, with only 175 questions being scored. The MBE consists of seven subjects with 25 questions each that are distributed evenly across the exam rather than divided into separate sections.

Here are the subjects and topics that you will need to study when preparing for the MBE. We have outlined the frequency in which each topic is tested on the MBE so you’ll know the overview of the MBE and what to expect.

Civil Procedure

Added in 2015, Civil Procedure deals with the processes that go on in a court of law during civil lawsuits. The most commonly tested topics include jurisdiction and venue, pretrial procedures, and motions. Remember that the NCBE states that you must assume that current Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are in effect and sections of Title 28 of the U.S. Code related to trial and appellate jurisdiction, venue, and transfer apply. Focus on the federal rules you learned in your first year of law school, as they will come in handy here.

TopicPercent Tested# of Questions
Jurisdiction and Venue22.2%5-6
Pretrial Procedures22.2%5-6
Motions22.2%5-6
Law Applied by Federal Courts8.3%2-3
Jury Trials8.3%2-3
Verdicts and Judgments8.3%2-3
Appealability and Review8.3%2-3

Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law focuses on the constitutional provisions, other laws, and legal issues that come about when dealing with the United States Constitution. Any reference to the Constitution on the MBE refers to the federal constitution unless stated otherwise. Individual rights comprises a whopping 50% of this subject, so pay special attention to this topic. This will include topics such as First Amendment freedoms, due process, equal protection, and freedom of the press, to name a few.

TopicPercent Tested# of Questions
Individual Rights50%12-13
The Nature of Judicial Review16.7%4-5
The Separation of Powers16.7%4-5
The Relation of Nation and States in a Federal System16.7%4-5

Contracts

The main focus of Contract Law is the creation and enforcement of contractual agreements in a court of law. Remember to assume that Articles 1 and 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code apply. A quarter of the questions from this subject will look at the formation of contracts, while another quarter will cover performance, breach, and discharge. The remainder of topics are covered in the chart below.

TopicPercent Tested# of Questions
Formation of Contracts25%6-7
Performance, Breach, and Discharge25%6-7
Defenses to Enforceability12.5%3-4
Contract Content and Meaning12.5%3-4
Remedies12.5%3-4
Third-Party Rights12.5%3-4

Criminal Law and Procedure

Criminal Law and Procedure focuses on the defense and prosecution of alleged criminal offenses committed against individual persons or corporate officials. It also looks at pre-arrest procedures, arrest, arraignment, bail, trials, punishment, and appeals. Half of the questions from this subject will look at the constitutional protection of accused persons, while the other half involves a mix of homicide; other crimes including theft, robbery, burglary, arson, and kidnapping; inchoate crimes/parties; and general principles such as state of mind, responsibility, and jurisdiction.

TopicPercent Tested# of Questions
Constitutional Protection of Accused Persons50%12-13
Homicide12.5%3-4
Other Crimes12.5%3-4
Inchoate Crimes, Parties12.5%3-4
General Principles12.5%3-4

Evidence

Evidence covers rules and principles that you should know in relation to admission or exclusion of evidence within civil and criminal trials. These questions should be answered according to the Federal Rules of Evidence, so be sure not to apply evidentiary rules that are particular to your state. Focus on relevancy and reasons for excluding relevant evidence, hearsay and circumstances of its admissibility, and presentation of evidence (objections, impeachment, etc.), as these three topics together make up over 80% of this subject.

TopicPercent Tested# of Questions
Relevancy and Reasons for33.3%8-9
Excluding Relevant Evidence
Hearsay and Circumstances of its Admissibility25%6-7
Presentation of Evidence25%6-7
Privileges and Other Policy Exclusions8.3%2
Writings, Recordings, and Photographs8.3%2

Real Property

Real Property Law deals with land and everything attached to the land. Unlike the other MBE subjects, questions on Real Property will be divided evenly across all five topics, with five or six questions a piece on ownership, rights, contracts, mortgage/security devices, and titles.

TopicPercent Tested# of Questions
Ownership of Real Property20%5-6
Rights in Real Property20%5-6
Real Estate Contracts20%5-6
Mortgages/Security Devices20%5-6
Titles20%5-6

Torts

Tort Law mainly focuses on providing relief for people who have either suffered personal harm or a civil loss. Half of this category will have questions on negligence, while the other half will revolve around intentional torts, strict liability and products liability, and other torts (nuisance, defamation, invasion of privacy, etc). According to the NCBE, you need to make the following assumptions in this area of the law: 1) that survival actions and wrongful death claims are available where applicable, and 2) that the rules for pure comparative fault as well as joint and several liability apply unless otherwise stated.

TopicPercent Tested# of Questions
Negligence50%12-13
Intentional Torts16.7%4-5
Strict Liability and Products Liability16.7%4-5
Other Torts16.7%4-5

Pass the MBE with UWorld MBE QBank

While you want to put most of your time and effort into the more frequently tested topics, keep in mind that you should also allot prep time for the other topics so that you can get the best score possible.

The UWorld MBE QBank features over 1,375+ MBE questions written by the NCBE for prior bar exams. UWorld covers all of the MBE subjects and topics so that you don’t have to wonder if you’re studying the right questions. Sign up for a free 7-day trial and see how UWorld can help you!