MBE: Increasing The Probability Of A Right Answer

Don’t Ignore Probability, Use It To Succeed On The MBE!








Beyond knowing the law, there are tips and tricks to finding the right answer choice on the MBE.  There are too many to go over in this post, but lets focus on how mere probability can help you pass the Bar Exam.

The median national score for the July 2015 Bar Exam was 140.6 and the mean was 139.9.

There are 200 questions on the MBE and 10 of those questions are experimental and are not counted in your scaled score.  In essence, you get about 10 free points towards your scaled score, so the median person answered correctly approximately 130 questions, or 65%.  At, EBP, we believe that if you hit the median score (but we stress and hope you will exceed this score), you should pass the Bar Exam.

So how do we get 130 questions right?

MBE Question Breakdown
Percentage Correct Number Of Questions Number Correct
100% Chance 100 100
50% Chance 50 25
25% Chance 50 12.5
Total 200 137.5


This chart provides a breakdown of how by eliminating answer choices and using probability can get you an acceptable MBE score.  How much easier does is the MBE appear when you know that you only need to be certain on 100 questions rather then 130 questions?

Simply put, you need to know for certain 100 questions.  To be honest, you should be able to attain that by putting in the hard work through study and doing 2000 practice MBE questions.  We are expecting you to know for certain that you are right on just 50% of the total questions of the MBE.  Second, we expect that on 50 questions, you have narrowed it down to two answer choices.  We are not expecting you to know the right answer here, just that you have eliminated half the answer choices.  Third, and this is the easiest part of all, we don’t expect you to know the right answer.  That’s right, if the bar examiners would let you bring in a chimpanzee and would let him choose your answer choices, well that would be just fine.  So how do we get to the 50/50 questions?

  1. Look for the right law rather than the right facts in the answer choice.  Bar examiners want you to see something correct in the choice so you will easily assume that selection is correct, often it is not.
  2. Accurate COMPLETE statements of law are usually the correct ones over partial or incomplete statements of law.
  3. Find the wrong answer choice.  This is a simple statement, but if you cannot find the right answer choice, look for why an answer choice is wrong.  We are trying to eliminate choices to get the highest chance that a random choice will be correct.

Breaking down the MBE down to probabilities makes this section of the Bar Exam a little less frightful.  Of course you still need to study and do thousands of MBE practice questions.  But we are trying to get you to pass the bar efficiently, working smarter and not harder.  The fact is, if you can turn 50 MBE questions into a flip of a coin, you should pass the Bar Exam.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the forum and we will do our best to help.  Good Luck!