Here are some basic strategies on how to approach the MBE:
Study tip 1: Review one MBE subject at a time. For example, read a Tort outline and then focus on Tort MBE questions. Your first run through of an outline should be somewhat cursory; no more than 8 hours total. Remember that you already completed your coursework in Torts in law school, so although you think you do not remember the subject, it will start to come back to you.
Study tip 2: Know your definitions. Much of the MBE tests your knowledge of the black letter—memorize all your intentional torts by definition, followed by the elements of Negligence, followed by the elements of Defamation, etc.
Study tip 3: Verbalize your knowledge. The quickest way to memorize the law is to talk it out. Enlist the services of a friend, or simply talk to a mirror. If you can essentially “talk out” a subject, you will retain it. Record your own outlines, and then listen to their own voices for easier retention.
Study tip 4: When approaching an MBE question, read the call of the question first. It is the quickest way to get a handle on what the subject matter of the question is. DO NOT read the answer choices yet. The key is to figure out the correct answer to the question before you even look at the answers.
Study tip 5: Read the fact pattern quickly and try to determine the central issue. For example, the central issue in a crimes fact pattern may surround a larceny. The MBE tends to supply you with too many facts – many of which have little or no relevance. In determining whether a larceny did or did not occur, you need to quickly look up from your paper, and say the definition of larceny to yourself. If larceny is defined as the tresspassory taking and carrying of another’s property with the intent to permanently deprive, then you must quickly go to the answer choice which correctly identifies this point of law.
6: Who wins? Based on the above, before going to the answer choice, determine who wins. If the call of the question reads “Is A guilty of larceny” determine, based on your definition, if he is in fact guilty. If the answer is yes, then cross out the answer choices that state that he is not. This method should narrow your choices down to two.
Study tip7: Law always wins. If you are able to narrow your choices down to two, the problem is often that both remaining answers look good. Another comment I often hear from students is “I can narrow it down to two choices, but I always pick the wrong one”. The general rule is that if an answer choice contains an accurate statement of the law, then it is the right choice. If it is only a partial statement of the law, it is an incorrect choice. If one of the remaining answer choices contains an accurate statement of the law, and the other choice contains a correct factual statement, law wins. Pick it and go to the next question.
Study tip 8: Implement “fact matching”. If the two remaining answer choices contain only factual information, meaning information from the fact pattern, try to match them up. If the words in the answer choice appear in the fact pattern, this is most likely the correct response.
Study tip 9: Take a break. If you find yourself missing question after question, you are doing too much. You should practice no more than 50 MBE questions per sitting before taking at least a 30-minute break. In addition, complete the 50 questions, and then look at the answers. You are not getting an accurate assessment of your score by bouncing back and forth between question and answer.
Study tip 10: Focus on the questions you miss. After completing a series of questions, take each question missed and write out a note card on the central issue. Figure out whether you missed the question based on the rule of law, or whether you missed it due to reading comprehension. Isolate your area of weakness and then select additional questions within that area for practice.
These study tips are simply a guideline to help increase your score. With patience, and proper technique you can and will pass the MBE. Good luck on the exam.