What’s the best approach to MBE questions?

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By Roger Meslar, BARBRI Sr. Director of MBE Testing and Assessments

During the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), you’ll answer 200 multiple-choice questions over a total 6-hour timeframe – 100 questions in the 3-hour morning session and 100 in the 3-hour afternoon session. This means that you’ll have an average of 1.8 minutes to answer each MBE question. Getting through these questions quickly enough on the exam requires a repeatable methodology or approach.

BARBRI’S systematic approach to MBE problem solving:

  • First, cover the answer choices and read the call of the question so you can determine the subject being tested and the issue you are tasked to answer – without being distracted by the answer choices.
  • If the call of the question isn’t specific enough, read the sentence above the call for more guidance and, if necessary, quickly scan the answer choices for subject-specific buzzwords.
  • While still hiding the answer choices, use the facts –and the law associated with those facts–to formulate your own answer.
  • Lastly, carefully read the answer choices provided to find the one that best fits the answer you arrived at using the steps above.

Using this systematic approach, you’ll focus more on the problem to solve and less on the details that are potentially irrelevant. By coming to your own conclusion before comparing it to the answers available to you, you’ll also move more quickly through each question.

Should I skip hard questions and come back?

Some people think it might be better to skip the difficult questions and come back to them at the end. We advise you not to hold hard questions. At the end of the test, you’re tired and your critical thinking skills are at their lowest.

Go ahead and deal with them head-on. Using the systematic approach, mark your best guess to the answer in the booklet. When you’ve finished answering all the questions, you can go back and check those marked answers if you have the time.

When tackling the questions that require more time, you can actually use those questions as an opportunity to make up time. Take one minute and use the systematic approach to make your best guess and continue through the test. The correct answer will usually stick out as familiar to you.

BARBRI is here to help

Check out more U.S. bar exam study tips. BARBRI’s MBE success learning path, combined with knowing where you are on the bar exam curve before you sit for the actual MBE, help you study smarter, not harder.

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