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About the MBE

The Multistate Bar Examination is an objective six-hour examination containing 200 questions. The examination is divided into two periods of three hours each, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with 100 questions in each period. The examination includes 190 live test questions in the following areas: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. There are 33 questions each in Contracts and Torts and 31 questions each in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, and Real Property. In addition, the exam contains 10 pretest questions, which are indistinguishable from the live test items, but which will not be used for scoring purposes.

The questions on the examination are designed to be answered by applying fundamental legal principles rather than local case or statutory law. A given question may indicate the applicable statute, theory of liability, or comparable principle of law.
Many of the questions require applicants to analyze the legal relationships arising from a fact situation or to take a position as an advocate. Some questions call for suggestions about interpreting, drafting, or counseling that might lead to more effective structuring of a transaction.

All questions are multiple choice. Applicants are asked to choose the best answer from the four stated alternatives. The test is designed to give credit only when the applicant has selected the best answer. Therefore, applicants should mark only one answer for each question; multiple answers will not be counted.

Scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly. Applicants are therefore advised to answer every question. Time should be used effectively. Applicants should not hurry, but should work steadily and as quickly as possible without sacrificing accuracy. If a question seems too difficult, the applicant is advised to go on to the next one and come back to the skipped question later.

Answer sheets are centrally scored. Both raw scores and scaled scores are computed for each applicant. A raw score is the number of questions answered correctly. Raw scores on different forms of the test are not comparable primarily due to differences in the difficulty of the test forms. A statistical process called equating adjusts for variations in the difficulty of different forms of the examination so that any particular scaled score will represent the same level of performance from test to test.

For instance, if a test were more difficult than previous tests, then the scaled scores on that test would be adjusted upward to account for this difference. The purpose of these adjustments is to help ensure that no applicant is unfairly penalized (or rewarded) for taking a more (or less) difficult form of the test.

Click here to download the 2009 MBE Specifications

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