MBE: Practice the Process

People either love or hate multiple choice questions, there is no in between. Unfortunately for all the haters, if you want to pass the bar exam you better learn to at least like multiple choice questions. Focus on quality, not quantity. Doing thousands of practice questions is not an efficient or effective way to prepare because it puts the emphasis on the product instead of the process. If you miss questions you need to figure out why. And in order to change the outcome, you have to change the input. This means taking time to review- not your answers but your process.multiple-choice

Reading answer explanations is not the best way to review. Instead, identify the correct answer choice and then figure out why it is correct and why your choice is incorrect. This is not fun because it requires effort and forces you to do the work. However, if you can identify the mistake in the process, you can address it.

Most people make mistakes because you read the hypo and then go straight to the answer choices for help. Don’t. The answer choices are not there to help you. They are not your friends. Three of those choices are there to distract you from the best one. They look attractive with shiny words and pretty facts. Don’t get seduced. Get back to the fact pattern because that’s where the central issue is waiting. It’s your rock so find it and hold on to it. Once you’ve got a solid grip on the central issue, put wax in your ears and sail past those sirens.

Rely on your good friend IRAC to help you work through without getting distracted or seduced by those answer choices.

  • I: read the call of the question to get a sense of the general issue, then read the hypo and identify the central issue triggered by the facts.
    • When practicing, it’s a good idea to write this down. It will serve as an anchor when those answer choices try to seduce you away.
  • R: once you know what the central issue is, recall the relevant rule.
  • A: apply this rule to the answer choices and eliminate any that aren’t both factually and legally correct.
    • Factually correct: addresses the central issue.
    • Legally correct: applies the relevant rule.
  • C: stay in control and don’t be distracted or seduced.
    • You need to control the question, not the other way around.

Keep practicing but focus on the process instead of the product.