If you are wondering whether you should buy a copy of Strategies & Tactics for the MBE, read this book review.
For those of you who are impatient, the short answer is: Yes, you should buy it.
I will start off this book review by saying that I wish, wish, wish that I had bought this book the first time I took the bar exam. Why? I have made no secret that I dislike the MBE. I think the questions are tricky and very deflating to your confidence when you first start studying for the exam.
Strategies & Tactics clearly and concisely explains how the MBE questions and answers work, revealing the method behind the bar examiners’ madness. Had I read this book early on in my studies, it would have helped me a lot.
Attacking the MBE
The book begins with a brief introduction about how to use it, explains how the MBE is scored and suggests that you take a complete, timed practice test to help cut down on exam anxiety. (A full 200-question practice test is included in the book.)
The next section is called “How to Attack the MBE.” This section is, in my opinion, worth the entire price of the book. If I had read this section when I first started studying for the MBE, I believe I would have much more quickly understood how to answer MBE questions and would have greatly reduced my test anxiety.
Among other things, the “How to Attack the MBE” section explains how to analyze MBE questions and provides you with a quiver of analytical tools, including:
- “Trigger” factors to watch out for when reading MBE questions;
- How to reword the call of the question to make it more intelligible;
- How to eliminate incorrect answer choices;
- What it means when an answer contains the words “because,” “if,” or “unless”;
- Explaining the numerous and devious ways that the examiners try to mislead you to choose a wrong answer; and
- Even how to guess more accurately when you can’t reason your way to the correct answer.
MBE Topic Tips, Strategies and Tactics
The next sections of the book cover each of the MBE topic areas.
Each section begins with a brief outline of the issues covered under each topic, and then moves to a series of detailed study strategies. The study strategies are broken into subtopics.
For example, if you are having trouble with a particular part of Contract Law, say the Statute of Frauds, you can turn to the Contract strategies section, locate the SOF subtopic, and read it to get a concise summary of the important points to know about that subtopic.
Finally, each subject area contains several (usually between 50 and 60) practice questions with detailed answer explanations to help you understand the reasoning behind the correct and incorrect answer choices. All questions are real MBE questions taken from past exams.
MBE Practice Exam
The book concludes with a full-length, 200-question MBE practice exam. Again, these questions are taken from past MBE exams, so you are getting experience with real questions created by the Board of Bar Examiners.
As I have written before, it is of vital importance to take at least one full-length practice MBE exam under timed conditions prior to sitting for the real exam. You must get used to the time pressures and understand how your body and mind will react to six-hours of testing in one day.
I highly recommend Strategies & Tactics for the MBE. The book is so complete that you could probably prepare for the MBE with just this book and nothing else.
If you are a bar exam repeater and the MBE was your weak spot, Strategies & Tactics will be invaluable for you.