What’s the Best Approach to MBE Questions?

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.

At BARBRI, we have found that the best method is to treat each MBE question like an essay question – albeit a short one with the answers already provided – and use the following 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.
  • Next, read the facts in light of the issue being tested. Use the facts –and the law associated with the facts–to mentally formulate your own answer to the question. (You’re still not looking at the answer choices.)
  • Lastly, carefully read the answer choices provided to find the one that best fits the answer you arrived at using the steps above.

This systematic approach ensures that you focus on the actual problem to solve and reduces the risk of being distracted by details that may ultimately be irrelevant to the call of the question.

Additionally, coming to your own conclusion first and then matching the best answer provided will increase your confidence in that answer, allowing you to 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, you’re tired and your critical thinking skills are at their lowest.

Go ahead and tackle them head-on. Use the systematic approach, make your best guess and then mark the question in your test booklet. If you have some time left at the end, you can give it another look.

When you come across questions that require way too much time to figure out, use those to actually make up time. Take one minute to go through the question, make your best guess and move on. Typically, the correct answer will be an option that is familiar to you. More often than not, completely unfamiliar or obscure answers choices are incorrect. Read more about that here.

BARBRI is Here to Help You Own The Bar

BARBRI’s MBE success learning path, combined with knowing where you are on the bar exam curve before you sit for the actual MBE exam, are core to helping you study smarter, not harder, and are just a couple of the many reasons BARBRI continues to be the most successful bar review course. We look forward to being your partner. Learn more about how BARBRI Bar Review works.