In the old days, a person might become a lawyer by studying as an apprentice to an already-admitted member of the bar. For good or ill, that has changed dramatically. These days, the only way to become a lawyer in virtually every state in the United States is to go to a nationally accredited law school. A few exceptions exist: some states admit lawyers to the bar who have attended a law school that is accredited only locally. But for the most part, accredited law schools affiliated with major universities or stand-alone private schools are the portal to the world of lawyering.
After the years of study and the expense of law school, one more obstacle stands between you and the title “attorney.” That is the multistate bar exam (MBE). This 200 question multiple choice test is administered in almost every state twice a year on the same day and time all across the country. The bar exam questions are grueling and encompass a huge variety of subjects. Some students believe that the test is designed as much to trick the test-taker as it is to actually measure knowledge and that the questions turn on picky and immaterial distinctions. Be that as it may, the MBE is a fact of life for an aspiring lawyer so the solution is to learn how to take the test.
Learning how to answer MBE questions comes from study, study, study and practice, practice, practice. One of the single most valuable things to do in preparation for the exam is to take an MBE practice exam. In fact, take three or four or more; answer 1000s of these bar exam questions during your study time. After you have confronted the style of MBE questions many, many times, you will be alert to the fine points, the flow of the questions, and the time it takes you to answer. The test is designed to require you to answer about 33 questions every hour so you want to be assured that you can move through all 200 in a timely fashion. Practice testing will also tell you what subjects are bedeviling you and where more study time is warranted.
With study and practice comes a degree of serenity. You want to sit down to answer the real MBE questions with a certain peace of mind and the sure knowledge that you have done all you can. The chances are excellent that you will pass the MBE; a good estimate of the passage rate on the first try is approximately 70% nationwide. You may leave the test room feeling uneasy and wait anxiously for the envelope with your results, but at least you will know that you applied yourself assiduously and that you faced the test with firm resolve.