Bar Exam

Everything You Need to Know About the Recent Changes to the MBE Pt. IV

By January 13, 2017 September 12th, 2019 No Comments
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Everything You Need to Know About the Recent Changes to the MBE Pt. IV

Part IV: Real Property Changes Scope and Coverage

On the upcoming February 2017 bar exam, the NCBE will be introducing changes to Real Property which will affect both the MBE and MEE. The NCBE announced the upcoming changes on their website back in August of 2015, but the time has finally come to implement those changes on the actual exam. The changes will be in full effect for the first time with the administration of the February 2017 bar exam. Below you will find exactly what has changed, how to study for the changes, and how AdaptiBar can help you prepare.




The NCBE posts Subject Matter Outlines for each of the MBE topics online on their website. These outlines cover what subtopics will be tested within each subject, and the approximate proportions of how many questions will be asked from each subtopic area. A close analysis of the new Real Property Subject Matter Outline, released for the February 2017 exam, has revealed a few new topics of study, increased coverage in existing topics, and the deletion of some outdated topics. Keep in mind that the five subtopics of Real Property have not changed. What has changed are the smaller areas within topics that are listed under the subtopic headings.

The new topics added include: (1) conflicts of law (I.D.4.); (2) property owners’ associations and common interest ownership communities (II.A.6.); (3) drafting, review, and negotiation of closing documents (V.B.3.); and (4) persons authorized to execute real estate documents (V.B.4.).

The good news is that only four completely new topics have been added, and those four new topics affect only three of the five subtopics (i.e., Subtopics I., II., and V.). These changes are actually pretty minor. Additionally, these are all very practical topics that are not only good to know for the practice of law, but also for everyday life. This knowledge will be useful when you or someone close to you needs help purchasing or selling their first home.

In addition to the new topics added, there are a few topics that have expanded converge:

  • Within future interests, rules affecting these interests were added to the scope of coverage including survivorship, class gifts, waste, and cy pres (I.A.2.e.).
  • Under landlord-tenant law, rules regarding security deposits were added to the termination of tenancies (I.C.4.).
  • Within restrictive covenants and within easements, profits, and licenses, transfers were added to the scope of coverage (II.A.4.)(II.B.4.).
  • Zoning added a further break down of coverage, including zoning laws, protection of pre-existing property rights, and rezoning and other zoning changes (II.D.1.-3.).
  • Under Foreclosure, acceleration was added (IV.E.2.).

The good news here is that these will be minor modifications to areas that have already been tested for years. These changes to the outline are actually positive for test-takers. These are areas that, for the most part, are already in your outlines and have been tested in the past already. The NCBE is just being more specific within these areas about what to study and include in your outlines. These changes will only help you study more on target. Also note that these changes affect only three out of the five subtopics (i.e., Subtopics I., II., and IV.).


The NCBE has also removed two topics from the Subject Matter Outline: (1) application of Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to fixtures (previously II.C.); and (2) abatement of devises (previously V.C.5.).




Those studying for the exam should make sure they review for themselves the announcement made by the NCBE and the new Subject Matter Outline posted on their website (both links are posted above). Additionally, the new Subject Matter Outline can also be found on the AdaptiBar website.

Test takers should also take the responsibility and initiative to inquire whether their main source of preparatory materials has been updated to included the changes and broadened to include the new scope of coverage.

After the 2016 exam, some test takers did report seeing odd and unfamiliar property questions on the MBE. There were rumors and suspicions that those were test questions (i.e., part of the 10 unscored questions included by the NCBE on each exam) and that the NCBE was using these questions to gear up for the actual changes.

Test takers should also keep in mind, this year there will be 25 unscored questions, up from only 10 on previous exams. Read about those changes discussed in a previous blog post. There is a chance that some of the new property questions will be test questions; however, examinees should still approach each question as a scored question.




AdaptiBar is ready to help you through the real property transition. We have added 60 new Smart Online Flashcards to our flashcard bank, which now totals over 1,000 cards. The new flashcards include black letter law on the newly added topics and the topics that have expanded coverage. Our flashcards are a great way to learn or review the substantive material.

Additionally, we have added new simulated questions. AdaptiBar prides itself on using the best-licensed questions directly received from the NCBE, so that you can practice with real, past questions. However, because these changes are new, there have not been any past exam questions yet to release. No one, except the NCBE, knows exactly how these changes will play out on the exam, or if they will even be tested at all. In preparation, our legal team has drafted a set of 15 new simulated questions to cover the changes made to the Subject Matter Outline. Users will be able to tell these questions apart in the program by a special heading, which will note the question as SIMULATED (written by us), not LICENSED (written by the NCBE). These questions will be filtered into the program seamlessly. Users will not be able to go directly to the new questions. Instead, the new questions appear in Practice Questions Mode, based on your own performance statistics in Real Property, and in Practice Exams Mode, in the correct proportions for each subtopic.

Lastly, we have re-filmed all of our Real Property Video Lectures with our renowned lecturer Professor Jonathan Grossman- one of the country’s top MBE experts. Each of the five subtopics has a brand new video, covering the new and expanded material where appropriate.

Don’t fear Real Property for one more day! These changes by the NCBE are actually very minor when examined closely. AdaptiBar has all the resources you need to review, practice, and master Real Property. Start or continue studying with us today and build the confidence you need to know you’ll pass!

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