The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) consists of 200 multiple-choice questions to answer in six hours. You have a little less than 2 minutes for each question so every second counts. Even though you have spent endless hours studying and preparing for the MBE, sometimes you just don’t know the answer when you're taking the bar. It happens to everyone. The best way to handle this situation is to use your process-of-elimination skills.
Why You Should Use Process-of-Elimination on the Bar Exam
The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) can be tricky when writing the multiple-choice questions for the MBE. Knowing our process-of-elimination tips for the MBE will help to improve your overall score. Rather than hunting for the correct answer, look for the wrong answers instead. It will be easier to spot the answer options that have an error, so you can eliminate them first. With four choices, dropping even one choice can increase your chances of selecting the correct answer.
What to Eliminate
When you look at the choices, check if there are mistakes in the statement of law. These options can be eliminated immediately because no correct answer will ever have this type of mistake. The NCBE may try to trick you by offering a choice that contains a correct statement of law. But it may not be the law that is appropriate for the fact pattern presented in the question. Make sure the choice's reasoning directly responds to the call of the question.
Additionally, see if your choice includes a correct response to the call of the question and is based on complete reasoning. Many times a possible answer will have a correct response to the call of the question, but be based on faulty or incomplete reasoning. Don’t fall into this trap.
Here are other tips to help you tackle the MBE through the process of elimination:
- An answer that has a correct statement of the law is a better choice than one with a correct statement of the facts.
- Never assume facts that aren't based on the question. The facts that you will need to pick the correct answer will be given to you, so only focus on those.
- Pick a simple interpretation of the facts instead of a more complicated one. An answer that is easier to prove is more likely to be correct.
- More specific answers are superior to vague picks.
- Reject choices that cite the wrong fact to justify the correct result.
- A longer answer is more likely to be the right choice than a shorter alternative because it will contain the correct elements.
- If an answer has more than one legal subject, it is usually the wrong choice. Questions will normally not have a crossover between subjects so an answer that deals with more than one legal subject is not the best pick.
Don’t wait until the MBE to try this method. Be sure to use your process-of-elimination skills while you're doing practice questions as well. It will help you to learn the language that is used on the exam so you can easily spot incorrect answers and quickly eliminate them.
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