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How should I prepare for the MBE?

Studying smart helps you use your time efficiently, and time is the key in preparing for the MBE. You'll have 6 hours to answer 200 questions - so you'll need to know your material AND be prepared to manage your time.

How much time you should spend on each MBE® question?

A good general rule of thumb is that you have roughly 1 minute and 48 seconds per question. This is based on 200 questions in 6 hours, or 1.8 minutes per question. 

While this is a good general rule, you’ll find that some questions will be easier to answer and allow you to move faster (such as intentional torts), while others may require a bit more time.

If you are looking to become more confident about your time management during this portion of the exam, we suggest practicing with a timer set to 1 minute and 30 seconds – this will give you some extra time per question on the exam, and help build your confidence that you can answer within the allotted time per question! 

What is more important -- finishing every question or getting as many questions right as possible?

The answer is that both of these are equally important.

You are not penalized for a wrong answer on the bar exam; therefore, you never want to leave a multiple-choice question blank. Your #1 goal here is to obtain a passing score, not perfection, so although you want to answer questions correctly, you must ensure that you answer enough questions correctly to achieve your necessary score.

Practicing under timed conditions is important, but you have to have a strategy as you approach the questions. 

Having an approach to questions, which includes excluding wrong answers, will help you narrow down your options and ultimately lead you to the correct answer. Think of it this way - on a multiple choice question with 4 answer choices, you have only 25% chance of getting the question correct. But, if you can quickly eliminate two of the answers (ie, you know they aren't correct) - you double your chances of getting it correct. With just two choices you have a 50% chance of getting the correct answer.

MBE preparation may be the single most important thing you can do to maximize your chances for success on the bar exam. 

The MBE portion of the bar exam is generally worth half of your overall score, but the material tested on this part of the exam are the rules and laws you need to know in order to be successful on the other parts of the exam - the MEE® (Multistate Essay Examination) and MPT® (Multistate Performance Tests). 

The MEE is generally on Day 1 of the bar examination (in most states). Doing well on this test will set the foundation for your MBE, because you’ve already used this material. By using critical thinking skills to write your essays, your brain will already be wired to understand the concepts of law that will be tested on the MBE. This is the other half of your bar score. 


You will need to know the material tested on the MBE to effectively write your MEE essays. Therefore, it is critical that you know your MBE like the back of your hand.

What I mean to say is that preparation is critical…

The more you know about the MBE subjects and the more you are able to apply the law on a situational basis, the more likely you will be to succeed not just on the MBE portion of the exam, but also the MEE. 

The Bar is difficult, do whatever it takes…

In most jurisdictions, the more points you score on the MBE, the better, because if your score is well over passing, those points will carry over to your MEE. 


Your goal here is to achieve a passing score on the total exam, so scoring above and beyond the minimum you need to pass on the MBE will only further solidify your chances of success on the exam.

As you can see, there are many scenarios that can affect your score. The best way to prepare for the Bar as a whole is to have a good understanding of the MBE material. Though it is not an easy feat, we will give you all of the tools that you need to be successful on the MBE. 

You got this.

Make MBE Prep part of your bar prep program: