Multiple-Choice (MBE’s) is my Achilles Heel!
After you’ve mastered the law school essay writing approach, the next type of exam testing to cover is multiple-choice! Before delving into this, a student must understand that law school multiple choice exam questions are often are not the best indicator of one’s ability to perform on other multiple choice exams, like on the MPRE (law school ethics standardized exam), or on the MBE (the multiple choice part of the Bar Exam). Taking these differences into consideration, a law school multiple-choice question will likely only be based on class materials and lectures. Do not waste your time memorizing anecdotes and rules from secondary sources that weren’t covered in class, as most professors only use their own materials to make up exam questions.
Inversely, in passing the California Bar Exam and MPRE, the National Committee of Bar Examiners writes ALL of the multiple-choice questions. (It is the same type of organization, that writes the LSA). Typically, these standardized questions have a strong correlation to the style of questions seen on the LSAT. BarWinners believe this relationship explains why strong LSAT performance could be a good indicator of strong Bar Exam MBE performance to come, given the similarity in question-structure.
Therefore, at Barwinners we believe not only is it important to show students an effective technique to taking multi-choice questions, but also give our students thousands of practice MBE questions with explanations to hone their skills. In addition, we offer 7 live MBE workshops where students can directly ask the MBE instructor their specific questions and stumbling blocks. Students find, that the more practice questions they take, the better they do, if they improve their technique and can learn from their mistakes and missed questions.
Law School Multiple Choice Exams are Often Not like Bar Exam MBE
It is essential for law students and bar exam takers to understand that any kind of multiple-choice exam is not a reflection of intelligence or understanding of material. Moreover, the filling in of a scantron is not an indicator of how skilled a lawyer one is capable of becoming. At the end of the day, multiple-choice is a skill, like essay writing, and it’s a learned skill that can be refined with practice and the right bar review course.
Technique for Scoring Higher on MBE’s
To prepare for a multiple-choice question, at BarWinners we recommend that first you read the call of the question and make a note of what topic that question and fact pattern is testing. This helps focus your reading. You need to know what you are looking for, before you start reading an often-long fact pattern. Next, glance at the answer choices provided and eliminate any off-topic answers immediately and let the answer choices focus your reading of the fact pattern even more. Last, read the fact pattern, but read only what the call of the question and answer choices help direct you to read. The skill to answering multiple-choice is to first get rid of distracters, focus on what is being asked, eliminate wrong answers, then find the answer that best fits the question.
Timing –Pace Yourself-
Another skill to multiple-choice testing is timing. Pace yourself doing practice questions from previously released multiple-choice question (for the bar exam); if in law school, from previously released professor multiple choice questions from old exams. One should approach a multiple-choice test like several rounds of elimination-there may not be a perfect answer, but there is almost always a best answer (unless there’s a typo on the exam, which happens). Also, be sure to answer ALL of the questions!! If you don’t answer a question, you’re definitely going to get it wrong. However, if you at least guess and give it your best effort, there’s a 20-25% chance you’ll get it correct, depending on how many answer choices are available.
Lastly, fill in answers as you go through the exam, rather than skipping around and filling in the scantron later. Not only will this save you time at the end of the exam, but it will also help prevent careless mistakes like filling in the wrong answer from your booklet to your answer sheet. Avoid the anxiety, time-crunch, and frustration, and just methodically answer the questions you know and don’t spend too much time stressing over the ones you don’t.
Best of luck and don’t sweat it! You will have spent all semester learning the material anyway, so there isn’t any reason why you can’t put some kind of answer for every question! And to pass the California Bar Exam, take a course that not only focuses on essay and performance test writing, but also has multiple-choice materials, live interactive classes, and simulated exams.