The MBE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Only 175 of these 200 multiple-choice questions are scored. The other 25 questions are referred to as “test” questions, and they will not be included when calculating your final scaled score. The topics covered in the test questions can be from any MBE subject and subtopic. The MBE covers seven subjects: Contracts, Evidence, Torts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law and Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Real Property. Each MBE subject has 25 scored questions, but the distribution of questions tested in each subtopic is not the same.
A comprehensive breakdown of how all of the subtopics are tested is available in the MBE Subject Matter Outline, a resource put together and distributed by the NCBE. The subject matter outline provides you with the frequency each subtopic will occur on the MBE. The ratios can be difficult to parse through, so we’ve put together the information in an easy to read format. You can refer to the below charts to find the categorization of the number of questions and percentages in each subtopic.
It is clear from this breakdown that not all subtopics are tested with the same frequency. While it is true that each MBE subject has 25 questions on the exam, the way those 25 questions are tested in each subtopic is variable, with some subtopics being tested more than others. Make sure to keep this information in the back of your mind while preparing for the exam. You don’t want to keep drilling questions in a specific subtopic or area of law when it may only appear in two or three questions on the actual exam itself. Being the authority on all subjects and subtopics is tempting, but it is much more important to use your study time wisely. With the analysis of the subjects and subtopics included above, you can plan your study time in a manner that prioritizes the more heavily tested subtopics.
One of the great things about using the AdaptiBar program is that the technology present in the program is already analyzing the distribution when presenting you with the MBE questions in the course of your bar prep! You can also navigate to Practice Exams mode to take the MBE Study Aid Exams, which are two, pre-made 100 question exams that mirror the actual distribution of questions on the MBE. We suggest taking a look at the MBE Study Aid exams if you want to do a “simulated MBE” before you do the real thing. If you want to have a benchmark of your progress before you take the actual test, the MBE Study Aid exams are a fantastic way of doing so in the AdaptiBar program.