1. Reading comprehension: the seventh subject. The MBE is often characterized as testing six subjects: constitutional law, contracts, criminal law/pro, evidence, property and torts. But, in fact, probably the most important “subject” is none of the above. It’s reading comprehension. Many times, the key to the right answer choice is but a few words in the stimulus. If you miss those words or do not understand them in context, it does not matter how well you know the law. You will still have no way to recognize the right answer.
Thus, reading comprehension is something that you should practice consciously. Develop a reading style that adheres to the correct pace and focuses on relevant information rather than irrelevancies that distract you from the trail.
2. Take advantage of the format. The MBE is a multiple-choice test. There are a number of classic multiple-choice test strategies that should be second nature to you by exam day. For instance, even when you cannot see what’s right about the right answer, you can oftentimes see what is wrong with the wrong answers (good old “process of elimination”). Every time you eliminate even a single wrong answer choice, you make a big step toward the right answer choice.
3. You take the test; it does not take you. Do not let the test be in control. Set your own pace, and attack the questions in the order that you have worked out with your tutor. Stick to your game plan, and do not let yourself get into a time deficit.
4. Be a mercenary. Your task on test day is not to please your professors, show your knowledge of the law, or understand the nuances of the cases that confront you. Your only job is to get points and thereby pass the California Bar Exam. Everything you do that is not directed toward getting the most points that you can is but wasted time. Therefore, stay detached enough to avoid getting fixated on interesting or difficult problems.
5. Go the distance. The MBE can be pretty tiring, but you cannot afford to run out of gas. You should start the test at your best and maintain that concentration level throughout the day. (Hence, our Test at Your Best™ motto.) Know your vulnerabilities and plan to offset them.
(Original publication date: June 9, 2010 (LEX))