5 Facts All Graduating Law Students Should Know About BARBRI

By Matt Mundo,
BARBRI Director of Legal Education

In my job as a Director of Legal Education for BARBRI, I get the pleasure of working with thousands of law students each year.

My job, every day, is to help students achieve the dreams for which they have worked so hard by succeeding in law school and on the bar exam.

Recently, I spoke with some students who had received some misinformation as part of their bar preparation research, so it prompted me to put into writing “5 THINGS ALL GRADUATING LAW STUDENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BARBRI”.

As the nation’s #1 bar review course, there are so many things to talk about so often some of these features are overlooked; however, with the bar exam being the only thing between you and the career of your dreams, we want to ensure you have all of the information so you can choose the very best partner for your needs on this life changing exam.

FACT 1: BARBRI does not charge extra to grade extra essays.

During bar study, your goal is to write the best bar exam essays possible, as fast as possible. BARBRI knows from experience that a purely “unlimited” essay grading system does not provide the best results. Think about it. Writing and submitting dozens of essays a week for grading simply reinforces bad habits rather than correcting them.  Unlimited graded essays leads to spending a lot of time on many poor essays.

BARBRI has a better answer. It starts with Essay Architect, our exclusive powerful online platform that takes you through a series of steps to learn to critically read bar exam questions, enhance the speed of your essay writing and construct strong, winning answers. Then we assign a carefully selected series of specific essays for grading as well as many more essays for practice and self-grading.

And, if after all of that, you want additional essays graded, you can simply work with a BARBRI Director, like me, to get personal, 1:1 help, all free of charge!

FACT 2: You can do 100% of the BARBRI course online… but we won’t force you.

Actually, BARBRI Bar Review offers you the best possible learning experience by blending online, mobile and in-class study options. Each day you can choose whether to view the lectures on your computer, use the BARBRI Mobile App on-the-go or attend a bar review classroom location to watch a lecture in a structured environment with fellow students.

No matter which option you choose, you get the same great lectures. BARBRI lets you mix and match what works best for you – go to a classroom setting for your most challenging subjects, revisit specific topics and subtopics online afterward or speed through your best subjects online only at 1.5x speed.

It’s your time, your preference and your choice as to what works best for you to reinforce and recall the material you need to know to Own the Bar.

FACT 3: BARBRI is the only bar preparation course that will truly allow you to see where you sit on the bar exam curve

If you look at the MBE National Score Distribution from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, you will see the score distribution of the 2015 scaled scores. Results of the MBE fall in a pattern that look like a bell curve. This is why you often hear of people who fail the bar exam by just a few points. A large number of examinees are clustered right around the top of the curve – right around the score you need to pass the bar exam.

During the BARBRI course, you’ll have the chance to sit down and do a full simulated multistate bar exam. The simulated MBE has exam-like questions and we treat it just like the bar so you’ll know exactly how it feels to survive the multistate bar exam.

We also take your results and provide you your percentile ranking, by subject, so you know exactly where you are sitting on the curve in comparison to every other BARBRI student and where you need to focus your efforts between that time and the actual bar exam.

Since the vast majority of students sitting for the bar exam choose to partner with BARBRI, this will be your best predictor of bar exam success by far.

FACT 4: BARBRI makes it easy to take lecture notes by hand or on a laptop.

In order to provide the structure necessary to be organized as well as the flexibility that best fits your learning style, BARBRI provides lecture handouts in hardcopy AND as fillable PDF’s each day.

If you prefer to hand write your notes, then the pre-printed handout volume is there for you. If you prefer to use your laptop, download the fillable PDF’s so that you can type as much as you’d like for each blank, highlight text and use “sticky notes” for the occasional sidebar that you want to make a note of during class.

FACT 5:  BARBRI’s Personal Study Plan organizes your study time from Day 1 straight through to the day of your bar exam.

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The BARBRI lectures conclude two weeks prior to your exam but your Personal Study Plan does not. Once you’ve been taught all of the law that you need, your Personal Study Plan continues with homework, personal assignments, and practice exams to make sure that you are applying the law and memorizing the material during those critical final weeks and that you are focused on your personal areas of opportunity.

And, of course, my BARBRI Director of Legal Education peers and I will be there to support you right up to and during the exam. BARBRI’s study schedule and practice exams are the result of a dedicated academic team combined with the experience of training over 1.3M attorneys for the bar exam.

When it comes to your bar preparation and this critical decision, we want you to have all of the facts. Thousands of students have already chosen to prepare with BARBRI in 2017 – we can’t wait to welcome you to that group and help you Own the Bar.

About BARBRI Bar Review:

BARBRI pioneered bar exam preparation 50 years ago and our gold standard reputation continues to attract the overwhelming majority of law school students each year. BARBRI has helped more than 1.3 million students pass the bar – more than all other courses combined.

BARBRI focuses on you the entire way, using innovative new learning technologies that personalize your bar study. Add to all this our elite faculty of highly-respected law professors and top legal minds that know the law and especially how to teach it for you to Own The Bar.

Also, with the BARBRI Guarantee, if you take a BARBRI Bar Review course for the first time for a particular state and you do not sit for or do not pass that state’s bar exam, you may repeat the same course online once for the same state, the next time a course is offered, without paying additional tuition.

We have the longest history of pass rate success, going back 80-plus bar exams. No other bar prep program comes close.

Enroll now

9 Tips To Keep Your Over-Stressed, Over-Worked “Lizard Brain” At Bay

When law school graduation arrives, it’s time to relax … right? Not so fast. Not when the bar exam is on the not-so-distant horizon. One last hurdle to becoming a licensed lawyer, your ultimate personal and professional goal.

WE’RE ONLY HUMAN … WITH A “LIZARD BRAIN”

There’s so much pressure surrounding the bar exam. Passing means everything – mostly the opportunity to actually practice law and make a decent living doing it. Before that becomes your reality, you have to deal with the major stress of preparing for the bar exam. You are now on a deadline because the bar exam is happening on time, as scheduled, whether you are ready or not. You fear failure, which is totally normal. All this causes chronic sympathetic nervous system arousal – in other words, “lizard brain.” It’s a fight-flight-freeze survival mode that goes way back to our prehistoric days as Paleolithic humans.

YOU KNOW WHY, NOW THE SYMPTOMS

It’s likely that you may already have experienced chronic stress during law school. According to the Mayo Clinic, “lizard brain” symptoms include headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, increased illness, upset stomach, chest pain, sleep disturbances, anxiety, lack of motivation or focus, irritability, restlessness, depression, angry outbursts and social withdrawal.

IT WANTS TO DRIVE YOUR BUS

Considering the laundry list of symptoms, your body expends quite a bit, if not all, its energy to keep you going. It’s survival, literally. And that level of energy consumption doesn’t leave much for anything else, especially when you need to be able to memorize black letter law, take practice exams or simply remain upright during lectures. The lizard is driving your bus with the pedal to the metal. As you might imagine, a frazzled lizard driving a bus can be detrimental to everyone and everything nearby, including the bus itself (that’s you).

9 TIPS FOR TAKING BACK CONTROL

  1. Be Grateful. Every day, find time to reflect on 3-5 things you appreciate. Lawyers tend to be world-class pessimists. Remembering things that really matter can help you focus on the positive and, in turn, improve your overall physical health and much-needed energy levels.
  2. Make time for family and friends. Stay connected with the important people in your life. Your support system will help you feel less alone, or isolated, and keep your outlook positive.
  3. Smile. Research has shown that the simple act of smiling can slow your heart rate and reduce stress. Smiling more may even help alleviate depression.
  4. Meditate. Take a few minutes each day. Be still and focus on your breathing. Research has shown that meditation can help prevent mind-wandering, increase focus, reduce stress, improve sleep and strengthen the immune system. Om … Om … Om …
  5. Plan the day. Map out time for studying, eating, sleeping, fun activities and exercise, for example. You’ll feel prepared and ready, less anxiety, greater control and, ultimately, get the most important things completed. It will save you time, too.
  6. Eat, sleep, play. Smart food choices, enough sleep (seven hours minimum) and exercises that you enjoy (could be a nice walk outside or dancing at home, when nobody’s watching) are important to your health.
  7. Be your own cheerleader. We’re often quite critical of ourselves. Become aware of your self-talk, challenge it and replace it with a positive mantra. Research shows that people with a positive outlook can fight off colds, handle stress better and – bonus! – even live longer.
  8. Laugh. Laughter has shown to lower cortisol in your bloodstream, relax your muscles and improve your overall well-being.
  9. Eat 1.4 oz. of chocolate: Doing this every day for two weeks can actually lower your stress hormones. How much is 1.4 ounces of chocolate exactly? Google it and you’ll see there are many choices and brands you may like.

What The UBE Means To Your Legal Job Search, Career Marketability

At the time of this blog post, the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) has been officially adopted by 33 states and one jurisdiction. The UBE was first adopted in 2011 by just three states (Alabama, Missouri and North Dakota), and now there are plans to implement this “universal” testing format going out as far as 2021 (Texas).

INSTANT PORTABILITY OF BAR SCORES

The UBE was designed initially to help reduce the need for newly minted attorneys to take another bar exam in order to become licensed in another state or jurisdiction. The UBE permits you to transfer a score obtained in one UBE state/jurisdiction to another, subject to certain limitations (the NCBE Bar Admission Guide has those details).

INSTANT RECIPROCITY, MAXIMIZING JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Today, with more than half of the U.S. administering the UBE, students are benefiting from instant reciprocity, an immediate benefit right after passing the bar exam. With a high enough score, you can cast a much wider net to expand your job search, faster, into all states that have adopted the UBE. That makes you more marketable to employers in different parts of the country, who are looking to hire to meet greater demand, in areas less inundated with legal practitioners.

Many student have taken advantage of this mobility. Since 2011, roughly 12,000 UBE test takers have transferred their scores to a jurisdiction where they did not take the bar, according to Judith A. Gundersen, President of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE)*.

“Lawyers are more mobile than they once were. No longer do lawyers settle in one state and practice in that state until retirement,” said Jeffrey Ward, President of the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners**.

THE MBE, MEE AND MPT COMPONENTS

The UBE is a two-day exam drafted by the NCBE, consisting of the Multistate Bar Exam (50%), Multistate Essay Exam (30%) and Multistate Performance Test (20%). These testing components are not new and have long been part of the bar exam format in many states. However, the UBE rests upon an agreement, whereby a state agrees to give full faith and credit to a score achieved on the bar exam in another jurisdiction because that jurisdiction uniformly administers, grades and scores the exam.

PASSING SCORES SET INDEPENDENTLY BY STATE

Each UBE state sets its own minimum passing score, which ranges from 260 to 280. Your passing score is portable to another UBE state as long as you sit for the entire exam at one time in the same location. You may transfer the score to a state with a lower required passing score, even if you “fail” the bar exam in the state in which you sat.

For example, a student who takes the UBE in Colorado, scores 272 and fails to achieve the required passing score of 276 may transfer the score to Utah, a neighboring UBE jurisdiction with a passing score of 270. The UBE score is not valid beyond a set period of time and each state sets its own deadline, varying between three and five years.

UBE PASSING SCORES

260: Alabama | Minnesota | Missouri | New Mexico | North Dakota
266: Connecticut | District of Columbia | Illinois | Iowa | Kansas | Maryland | Montana | New Jersey | New York | South Carolina
270: Massachusetts | Nebraska | New Hampshire | North Carolina | Tennessee | Utah | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wyoming
272: Idaho
273: Arizona
274: Oregon
276: Colorado | Maine | Rhode Island
280: Alaska
TBD: Ohio (coming July 2020) | Texas (coming February 2021)

You can get bar exam information for every U.S. state in the BARBRI Bar Exam Digest.

BARBRI KNOWS THE UBE, SINCE ITS INCEPTION

BARBRI has been preparing students for each of the components that now comprise the UBE since their inception: 1972 for the MBE, 1988 for the MEE and 1997 for the MPT. The BARBRI Bar Review course in each state is uniquely tailored to the needs of the bar exam, accommodating the subtle grading differences among UBE states.

 

*Source: American Bar Association, Before The Bar Blog
** Source: The National Jurist

Data From The ABA Proves It: When More Students Take BARBRI, More Students Pass The Bar Exam

In a recent study, BARBRI’s data scientists evaluated pass rates reported by EVERY ABA accredited law school, in every jurisdiction for the past 3 years*. We then looked at results for students at those schools who studied for their first exam with BARBRI Bar Review vs those who studied with some other course or method.

The results were clear: When more students at a school study with BARBRI Bar Review, the overall school pass rate is higher – regardless of the amount of work each student completed.

The diagram below shows that for every 10% of students who enrolled in BARBRI Bar Review over the last three years, the overall school pass rate increased by 2%:

The converse was true as well: For every 10% increase in the number of first-time takers who did NOT choose to study with BARBRI Bar Review, overall school pass rate decreased by 2%:

THAT’S INTERESTING, BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

In the 50+ years we’ve helped students prepare for every U.S. state bar exam, thousands of students have asked, “does it really matter which course I choose?”  Now data collected by the American Bar Association answers this question with a resounding, “Yes, BARBRI works better.

REMEMBER, BAR REVIEW COMPANY PASS RATES DON’T INDICATE HOW YOU WILL DO ON THE BAR EXAM

The reality is that about 9 out of 10 BARBRI students who do the average amount of work in our course pass the bar. That’s impressive … but we don’t care, and neither should you.

Don’t forget, our earlier studies have shown that, for a similar amount of work, students who study with BARBRI score more points. With BARBRI, you’ll study smarter, better utilize your precious, limited study time, and have a greater cushion and more confidence on exam day.

It’s not about bar review company pass rates…it’s about YOU passing YOUR exam. Learn More about how BARBRI will help you do that – the first time.

*Source: ABA 509 reports filed by every ABA accredited law school each year.

 

How many graded essays are included in BARBRI Bar Review? Can I have unlimited essays graded?

By Steve Levin, BARBRI Sr. Director of Essay Testing

These are questions my colleagues and I hear frequently… and the short, sweet answer is that we’re happy to grade as many essays as you want to submit during your BARBRI Bar Review course. However, before we get too caught up in numbers, let’s first talk about overall bar exam essay writing strategy.

As you likely already know, the written portion is critical to your overall bar exam score in every state and, in some states, is weighted even more heavily than the MBE. You can download the BARBRI Bar Exam Digest for every state’s exam details.

What you might not know is that writing essays for the bar exam is very different from writing essays for law school. For example, in most states, there’s actually a “right” answer. That’s not true in many law school essays. Therefore, you must acquire and strengthen your bar exam essay skills during bar prep. Your goal is to learn to write the best essays possible, as quickly as possible, to perform well under the timed conditions of the exam.

ACHIEVE OPTIMUM RESULTS WITH DIRECTED ESSAY GRADING

In our experience, we’ve seen that submitting practice essay after essay before receiving and digesting feedback actually reinforces bad habits and wastes time. For this reason, an unguided and purely “unlimited” essay grading system can actually stunt your progress. BARBRI has a better answer with proven results: Directed Essay Grading.

BARBRI Directed Essay Grading starts online with Essay Architect. You’ll learn to efficiently read bar exam essay questions and construct quality answers … and you’ll receive immediate feedback.

After working with Essay Architect online, you’ll put “pen to paper” and write answers to assigned practice essays. Some of these assignments require self-analysis by comparing your answers to model answers or score sheets (watch this webinar to find out how the self-analysis exercises are particularly impactful to your overall bar score). You’ll also submit several for personalized feedback from trained bar exam writing experts. If after taking advantage of all of those assignments you want additional essays graded, we’re happy to grade more.

DON’T WAIT TO DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS

When I ask students who didn’t pass the bar on their first try whether they submitted practice essays during bar prep, usually the answer is “not many” or “no.” When I ask them why they didn’t take advantage of this powerful bar prep tool, many told me they felt they didn’t know the law well enough to write an essay for submission.

This is faulty thinking. Don’t hold back – go ahead and write and submit the essay even if you are still learning the black letter law. Practice essays are a great way to learn how to write better essays AND continue to learn the law. Don’t cheat yourself out of one of your best learning opportunities because you don’t feel ready.

When reviewing your essays, our trained bar exam writing experts can help you learn the substance you need as well as refine your essay writing skills. The individual feedback will help you understand where you will capture points, where you may lose points and how to frame a better essay answer.

Submitting essays as they are assigned during bar review, over time, will allow you to incorporate feedback into your next practice essay. You’ll move along an upward trajectory of continuous improvement and bar exam readiness.

Just like all assignments curated by ISAAC, your Intuitive Study Assistant and Coach, during BARBRI Bar Review, we use 50+ years of bar exam data and expertise to ensure you study smarter, not harder, for all components of your state’s bar exam. All of us at BARBRI look forward to helping you Own The Bar.

Driven By Data: What To Expect During BARBRI Bar Review

At BARBRI, data drives everything we do, and we are guided by one principle: It’s not about pass rates. It’s about passing.

As in YOU passing YOUR bar exam.

There are three overarching ways we keep YOUR INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS front and center:

  • We focus your attention on the material you are most likely to actually see on your bar exam
  • We adjust your schedule based on your strengths and weaknesses as you progress
  • We present content in the best way to maximize learning and retention

NOT TOO MUCH WORK, OR TOO LITTLE, BUT JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT

During BARBRI Bar Review, everything assigned in your online Personal Study Plan (or “PSP”) is carefully curated by an engine we call ISAAC, your Intuitive Study Assistant And Coach.

ISAAC combines proprietary algorithms with our 50+ years of bar exam data and expertise to drive your BARBRI course.

ISAAC keeps you on track, effectively scaffolding your knowledge and skills. It’s meant to motivate and keep you accountable. Remember, generally the higher the percent of course completion, the higher the average bar exam score.

THE TYPES OF ASSIGNMENTS, THE SEQUENCE AND THE TIMING

During our summer 2018 BARBRI Bar Review course, ISAAC assigned more than 7.5 million learning activities. That sounds like a lot, but don’t worry, that’s not any individual student – that covers the tens of thousands of students studying for that bar exam with BARBRI. Let’s dig into the data.

Check out the chart below and see, on average, you’ll spend about 24% of your total bar review course study time learning the law with lectures. About 28% of your time working multiple-choice practice questions. And about 19% of your time in our Directed Essay Grading process (Essay Architect, Practice Essays and Graded Essays). Most importantly, each of these align with the top activities correlated to increased points on the bar exam and, ultimately, bar passage.

That’s interesting, yet it’s not just about the type of assignments you do, but also the sequence and timing in which you do them. The chart below shows how the assignment types will progress and change during your bar review course.

Notice the blue line – early on in the course, you’ll spend the majority of your time with lectures, acquiring knowledge from the best U.S. law professors and legal experts.

Then, you see from the light green and yellow lines, you are reading and reviewing your notes and also start to ramp up on multiple-choice learning and practice questions.

Two dark green peaks stand out – that’s for the BARBRI Simulated MBE (which by the way is as correlated to the real MBE as the PSAT is to the SAT, and it is the single best way to know where you are on the curve before sitting for the exam. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the Simulated MBE).

Then notice the peach line, which indicates movement into our Directed Essay Grading process and practice essays.

None of your precious study time is wasted on activities that won’t help you maximize your point potential on the bar exam. To see how it all works together, check out this 5-minute video: Meet the BARBRI Course.

All this is why, year after year, the vast majority of graduating law students choose BARBRI Bar Review to Own The Bar.

Studies Show BARBRI Students Score More Points On The Bar Exam For A Similar Amount Of Effort

The bar exam is arguably the most important and most difficult test of your life. Nobody wants to fail. Everybody wants to walk in to the exam with the confidence that they are going to pass, the first time. BARBRI students are best equipped to perform at the highest levels on exam day.

In all of the studies conducted by our BARBRI team of data scientists, at schools across the United States, it was clear. For similar course completion rates, BARBRI students achieved a higher average score on the bar exam than students using other bar prep courses.

It’s a significant differential. For example, in one study, the non-BARBRI student group cleared the pass line by six points on average. The BARBRI students scored 31 points above the passing mark. That’s 5x the cushion for a similar amount of effort.

On a test where most people who fail do so by just a few points, how thin a margin is worth the risk?

BETTER PREPARATION, MORE POINTS FOR SIMILAR EFFORT

Our in-house data scientists have analyzed four years of BARBRI student data and continue to work closely with law schools nationwide. Among the tens of thousands of data points gathered, they spotted an eye-opening pattern: BARBRI students scored more points on the bar exam compared to non-BARBRI students for a similar amount of study effort.

This means you do study smarter, not harder, with BARBRI. In fact, all activities assigned to you during BARBRI Bar Review, through the powerful ISAAC engine that runs the course, are positively correlated to increased points on the bar exam and, ultimately, bar passage. To  read more about that, click here.

BARBRI students are better prepared among all bar takers and walk into exam day with far greater confidence to pass the bar.

THE TRUE BARBRI ADVANTAGE, IT’S OBVIOUS

Here is a closer look at one study we conducted in summer 2018. First, we see that a greater percentage of assignments completed, within any bar prep course, will generally correlate to a higher average bar exam score. It’s pretty obvious.

In the chart below, all the blue dots are BARBRI students and the dotted line represents the relationship between bar review course completion and final bar exam score. The dotted line slopes upward, which means the higher percentage of BARBRI course completion, the better students do on the bar exam. Simple enough.

When we look at the group of bar takers who did not study with BARBRI, we see a similar upward trajectory.

When we combine both BARBRI and non-BARBRI student scores within the graph, it reveals the true BARBRI advantage – BARBRI students score more points for the same amount of effort and percentage of the course completed as non-BARBRI students.

CONFIDENCE IN THE (HUGE) CUSHION

Now think about the bar exam curve. Generally, when you hear of someone failing the bar, many do so by 10 or fewer points. Wouldn’t you rather go in with the confidence of knowing you’re going to get the most points possible and give yourself the best chance possible?

Another reason why the majority of graduating law students, every year, go with BARBRI to Own The Bar.

About 9 Out of 10 Average BARBRI Students Pass the Bar … But We Don’t Care and Neither Should You

It’s easy to get caught up in state bar exam pass rates when considering your bar prep options. The reality is that about 9 out of 10 BARBRI students who do the average amount of work in our course pass the bar. That’s impressive … but we don’t care, and neither should you. Don’t put too much stock in a pass rate – BARBRI’s or anyone else’s. That is not a good indication of how YOU will actually perform on the bar exam.

What you really need to understand are the bar prep activities that are most important, and what YOU need to do, to get your highest bar score possible and pass the bar.

OUR 4-YEAR STUDY: WHAT DRIVES BAR PASSAGE

Let’s start where our in-house data scientists did – combing through four years of BARBRI data and working with law schools nationwide to uncover what truly drives bar passage.

BARBRI data scientists researched all activities completed by tens of thousands of BARBRI students, segmenting by UBE /non-UBE states and looking state-by-state to determine the activities and experiences that are more or less important to bar passage. We also looked at the effects of studying overall with BARBRI vs. other courses and you can get that information here.

BREAKING DOWN THE “INDEPENDENT VARIABLES TO PASSING THE BAR”

The great news is that all activities that were assigned by ISAAC in the BARBRI Personal Study Plan are positively correlated to increased points on the bar exam and, ultimately, bar passage.

Some assignments have an even greater impact. These are a darker shade of green, which means they have an even higher correlation to bar passage.

The data scientists have found the BARBRI Simulated MBE to be one of the most powerful and statistically significant experiences one can have in preparing to pass the bar exam.

In fact, the BARBRI Simulated MBE is as correlated to the actual MBE as the PSAT is to the SAT. There are many reasons why an individual preparing to pass the bar exam should not miss out on the BARBRI Simulated MBE. Check out this blog to learn more.

One more important note: It’s not just about the type of assignments you do, but also the sequence and timing in which you do them. ISAAC, the engine that runs the BARBRI course, takes all of this into consideration as it drives your Personal Study Plan.

We want to ensure you focus exactly where you need to get the most points possible on your bar exam. That’s a measure of success you can trust with a great deal of confidence. It’s also a compelling reason why the majority of graduating law students, every year, go with BARBRI to Own The Bar.

How to beat the bar exam by doing extra things to improve your odds

By Stefan Borst-Censullo, Esq.

To begin off I want to apologize to you, the good reader, for my contribution to this over stuffed cannon of “hey so you’re about to take the bar, here’s some tips.” However, you have obviously decided to read this post, so you are either very bored or beyond desperate. In any case I hope this will help you realize either that ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST or alternatively assist in further procrastination before you dive head-first into the hours of MBEs.

The main lesson that I, an underemployed, heavily indebted, but FULLY LICENSED ATTORNEY can impart on you  is to remember what the bar is really testing. The bar is not measuring your intelligence, your commitment to the pursuit of justice, or the goodness of your soul. Rather the bar is a relentless ritual. Plenty of great advocates have failed the bar multiple times while undeserving folk (like yours truly) somehow managed to sneak past the graders.

The bar is nothing more than a ritual

Our esteemed elders in the legal community insist that we need to endure simply because they too went through it. The way to pass this exam involves the time old method of “embracing the suck.” Translated from its original grunt, that your best bet is to focus on improving your chances of survival through trying your best to put in eight good hours of studying a day in some sort of organized methodology of covering as many subjects as possible.

Given the razor-thin edge between passing (which feels like this) and failing (seen here), it’s understandably unnerving to think about how little of your fate is out of your control.

A few extra things that help improve your odds

  • Don’t take chances with your computer. I bit the bullet and replaced my five-year-old Mac once it started showing its age. The “hey I’m going to turn off without warning” thing was annoying enough while I was streaming Bobs Burgers, and it would have been panic inducing during the test.
  • Spend good money on a quiet hotel. With all the understandably massive levels of stress you’ll have during the actual testing days, there’s no guarantee you’ll have a good night’s sleep. But a place with thick walls and dark curtains is a nice place to decompress.
  • Don’t skimp on exercising and eating right. I have no clue whether my habits of long distance running and healthy snaking contributed to me passing or not. However, I can tell you that I maintained my focus during both my studying period, and the extent of those grueling three hours without a blood sugar drop or an emergency run to the restroom during the MBEs. So do your best to get 45 minutes to an hour a day of some sort of movement (walking a pet would suffice) and eat whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean proteins like your mom told you to do years ago.
  • Imbibe some mood-elevating media. Inevitably during the course of your studies, you are going to have moments/days full of self-doubt. Furthermore, walking into a room of a few thousand stressed out type-A personalities undergoing the most important test of their lives is a bit intimidating. Therefore, do you best to take the occasional break from studying to look at a cute animal (your friends who went to med school even approve). On the way to the test, listen to family friendly inspirational music, or really anything from friend of the legal community Freddie Gibbs. When things got especially bad I (reflexively) turned to this preview of “Elysium,” because repeatedly seeing Matt Damon murder rich people in space somehow reminded me why I was taking the bar in the first place.

Finally I have to say that the best advice BARBRI gave me during the extent of this test was remembering that taking the bar is a privilege. Plenty of people (not me, though) would trade places with you in a second. In addition, YES, becoming a lawyer (even in this job market) is worth the pain. So seriously, I wish a sincere “best of luck” to all of y’all. This is an experience you will justifiably hate, but the reward is sweet.

MBE Success: X Marks the Spot?

Samuel Farkas, BARBRI Director of Legal Learning and Lecturer

What’s the Magic Number of MBE Practice Questions You Should Answer to Pass the Bar Exam?

Perhaps you’ve heard that you need to work “X” number of practice MBE questions each week to pass the exam. Or, maybe you’ve heard there is some magic number of total questions that you have to answer throughout your preparation to earn a passing score on the MBE. This “drill and kill” formula emphasizes quantity over quality and speed over deliberation, which may not improve your MBE score.

Make no mistake, it’s critically important to work MBE practice questions. After all, it takes practice to improve. The key to success, however, is to use practice questions effectively.

MBE success is not about how many questions you answer each day or throughout your preparation; it’s about how much you learn from each question you answer.

The specific questions you answer and the order in which you answer them impacts your learning. Ideally, you should be assigned questions in a deliberate and methodical manner that systematically unfolds rule nuances and increases question difficulties as you go. Easier questions testing core rules and concepts come first to help you build a strong contextual framework in the subject. More difficult questions testing the finer points—those dreaded exceptions to the exceptions— should be layered in once you have built this foundation. Consistent mixed-subject practice that continuously cycles you through previously reviewed subjects helps maximize your learning.


BARBRI’s MBE success learning path, which is built into your Personal Study Plan (PSP), accelerates your learning by incrementally building your substantive knowledge and your MBE skills. We’ve curated each question set and have strategically assigned the Learning Sets and Mixed Question Sets to ensure that you have a strong understanding of the most frequently tested rules before you encounter the more difficult questions. As soon as you complete your third MBE subject, your PSP will assign short mixed-subject question sets. In the weeks ahead, your PSP deliberately spaces question sets to leverage the benefits of spaced repetition and interleaves practice between subjects— two strategies that are scientifically shown to boost learning and retention.

All said, your PSP will provide more than 2,000 MBE practice questions, as well as an MBE final prep comprised of 100 carefully selected MBE questions recently released by the National Conference of Bar Examiner (NCBE) that best align to areas of the law most likely to be tested on the MBE. If needed, you will have the opportunity to work even more to hone your test-taking skills before the exam.

Note: As a general rule, we don’t recommend spending a lot of time with “real” released MBE questions. Click here to learn why.

Practice questions are excellent learning tools to help you identify knowledge gaps, strengthen your knowledge of the rules and sharpen your MBE test-taking skills.

Working questions is important, but engaging in a careful and thorough review of the explanatory answer for each question that you work is vital to your success. For each question you work, you should determine whether you got the question right or wrong, whether your analysis of the question was on-point, and whether you identified and understood the narrow rule being tested in the question. In addition, identify why the wrong answer choices are incorrect and review the other rules discussed in the explanation. You will get a full explanatory answer for all the MBE questions during the course—including the recently released MBE questions for which the bar examiners have not provided an explanatory answer. There is so much to unpack in a well-written multiple-choice explanatory answer. Don’t rob yourself of a great learning opportunity by glossing over them.

Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” We say, “the unexamined multiple-choice question is not worth working.” In MBE Immersion, you learned BARBRI’s Systematic Problem-Solving approach to maximize your MBE study, including how to effectively use explanatory answers to drive learning and improvement. Rest assured—once you ingrain these skills as habits, you will no longer agonize and worry over the magic number of MBE questions you need to work.  Following the BARBRI path will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to pass the exam.  Simply put, you’ll come to know there is no magic “X” to mark your spot for MBE success.