UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

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barstudyer2019

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UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby barstudyer2019 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:19 pm

Hi TLS, long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm studying for the UBE (DC) this summer and I'm curious if anyone else has thought about blowing off the non-MBE MEE subjects (almost) entirely? I've seen the "autopass" thread, but it seems to me that because at least 3 MEE essays are likely to be on MBE subjects, the MBE cutoffs there are likely too high (i.e., you don't need to get scores that high on the MBE to be almost assured of passing, even if you know nothing about the non-MBE MEE subjects). And also, if you're reasonably competent on the MPT, that should also lower the MBE score you need to get. It also seems to me that anything above extremely minimal studying for non-MBE MEE subjects is silly because, so long as you're going to be studying, you might as well study the MBE stuff where the points are. Am I wrong?

Has anyone seen anything reasonably intelligent that engages with the tradeoffs in terms of where to devote study time beyond the too-loose autopass assumptions? I've seen the calculator on Separac, does anyone know if there is one for July 2019 and/or if those calculators are accurate?

sleeplessindc

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Re: UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby sleeplessindc » Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:11 pm

I think you should spend some serious time studying the non-MBE MEE topics instead of ignoring them completely, but devote the majority of your time to studying the MBE topics (for both the MBE and MEE test components) and how to write good bar exam essay answers.

I don't know if all UBE jurisdictions allocate points the same way, but in DC, the MBE is worth 50%, MEE 30%, and MPT 20%. The passing score is 266 (scaled) out of 400. If you divide up the 400 total possible points into the different components, the division is:

MBE - 200 points
MEE - 20 points for each of the six questions (120 points total) or 5% each
MPT - 40 points for each of the two questions (80 points total) or 10% each

Now take a look at JD Advising's UBE essay frequency chart: https://www.jdadvising.com/ube-essay-frequency-chart/. At most, there are 2-4 non-MBE MEE topics in a given UBE, which means that non-MBE MEE topics will typically account for 40 points (10% of exam), 60 points (15%), or 80 points (20%).

See what I mean? Don't give up points needlessly when you could've spent some time preparing. If you have to skip any essays, you'll also probably spend months agonizing and asking aloud on these boards whether you can skip an essay or two and still pass. But it also would be wise to nail down your mastery of the MBE topics because the resulting benefits will spill over into your MEE performance.

QContinuum

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Re: UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:47 pm

sleeplessindc wrote:

In addition to what sleepless said above, which is all correct, not all of the MEE-only subjects are difficult. Take Family Law. I know many folks - successful attorneys and law professors - who skipped studying Family Law. They didn't take Family Law in law school and weren't interested in it and wanted to focus on the MBE. Well, invariably a Family Law question came up on the MEE, and they were forced to make stuff up out of whole cloth. (Family Law's one of the most frequently-tested MEE subjects, per the bar prep companies.) Now, these folks all still passed. But why risk it? Family Law doesn't take that much effort to study. It's well worth at least speeding through it during the next two months of bar prep.

Moabit

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Re: UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby Moabit » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:31 am

You can safely pass even if you ignore non-MBE subjects provided that you can hit something like 150 on MBE. The problem is that few of the first-time takers know that they can do so well on MBE beforehand (although some who do realize post factum that they probably overstudied). Having said this, there is a blogpost by a guy who advocated studying for only 100 hours for the CA bar exam (you can Google "Bar exam in 100 hours") and his method was to spend only a few hours per each one of the non-MBE subjects. You do it at your own risk though.

sleeplessindc

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Re: UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby sleeplessindc » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:46 am

I've always viewed those discussions about a high MBE score = autopass as an emotional soothing device/safety blanket in case you botch some essay questions despite preparing for them, not as a proactive exam strategy. As a proactive exam strategy, I think voluntarily blowing off the non-MBE subjects is a bad and needlessly risky (and therefore irresponsible) idea.

I've seen anecdotal evidence of both: people failing despite a fairly good MBE score (i.e., >150) and people passing despite a low MEE score. If you take a more rigorous mathematical approach, Seperac has a calculator showing the different combinations of MBE and essays score that amount to a passing score: https://ubeessays.com/feb-mbe-percentiles/. That one is for Feb. but the principle will be the same for July: if you score very high on the MBE, you have to do terrible on the essays to fail -- but anecdotally I've heard it happening. It's definitely plausible (e.g., if an applicant blew off all the non-MBE MEE topics and that administration of the UBE tested 4 of those topics).

Think of it this way. While it is true that most of the UBE points will focus on MBE topics, choosing to deliberately forfeit 40-80 points of the exam on essays day is like choosing to not prepare for about 2-3 whole MBE topics on multiple choice day. (NCBE: "The 175 scored questions on the MBE are distributed evenly, with 25 questions from each of the seven subject areas: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts." http://www.ncbex.org/exams/mbe/preparing/)

Imagine blowing off 40-80 MBE questions like you don't need them. You wouldn't do that, right?

You may also want to consider the mental effects on test day. In DC, the MEE is tested in the afternoon of the 1st day. If you walk out of that part feeling panicked, because you had to make stuff up, felt lost, etc., you'll be walking into the MBE portion on the 2nd day feeling heightened pressure and/or doom. That's not a good mental place to be, especially if you chose to bring that upon yourself.

TL;DR ultimately it's your life and your decision, but IMO you should go all out and study for the bar exam like you want to take it only once. You need to only peruse these discussion boards for a taste of the misery that is repeater hell.

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SilvermanBarPrep

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Re: UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby SilvermanBarPrep » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:48 pm

It's best to study all subjects that might potentially show up on the exam with an understanding that your knowledge of those non-MBE MEE subjects need not be anywhere approaching an expertise. To do otherwise is to walk into the test hoping that luck is on your side. Instead, prepare by adequately learning all of the subjects while making sure to learn the MBE subjects on an even deeper level than the others since you'll need that in the multiple choice format where details are far more important than the big-picture knowledge that will suffice on the essays.

~Sean Silverman (Silverman Bar Exam Tutoring)

barryzee

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Re: UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby barryzee » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:07 pm

I'm leaning in this direction but with an emphasis on the almost entirely.

My thinking is that an average of a few hours per non-MBE subject (with time spent on each subject adjusted for frequency of the subject on the MEE & my current working understanding of the subject) is sufficient to score sufficient points on the non-MBE subjects so long as I can get my MBE scores up to a number that feels comfortable for an MBE focus. It's pretty easy to move the dial from "no intelligible answer" to a "slightly below median" answer. After that it just seems easier/safer to focus on picking up points on the MBE & the MBE essays -- non-MBE essays typically only account for about 15% of your grade and "the law" on the subject is only a part of that 15%.

barstudyer2019

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Re: UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby barstudyer2019 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:48 am

I've come around to barryzee's position as well. Does anyone have recommendations on study materials for people who want to spend minimal (but at least a little!) time on non-MBE MEE subjects? Thanks!

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Calbears123

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Re: UBE: Study for non-MBE subjects at all?

Postby Calbears123 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:39 pm

I found the best way to study the non-MBE subjects minimally was to read all the non-MBE subject essays. You get a good sense of what non-MBE rules show up most frequently.



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