6 Best MBE Bar Exam Prep Books (2021-2022)

The Best Books to Prepare for the Multistate Bar Exam

The Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) is one component of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). It is an essential part of the certification process for up-and-coming lawyers. The MBE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions in the areas of constitutional law, real property, criminal law and procedure, civil procedure, evidence, contracts, and torts.

Trying to prepare for such a massive test can be overwhelming. Just thinking of how to study, and wondering how much time and money to spend on it, can add an unnecessary amount of stress to an already stressful period of your life. Fortunately, there are a number of test prep books and other materials available to help you study.

The Best MBE Bar Exam Study Guides: Our Official List

Are you preparing to take the MBE exam? Wondering which study guide will help you the most? We’ve compiled all the information you need to compare the most popular MBE study guides on the market.

1. Strategies and Tactics for the MBE, 6th Edition

Publisher: Wolters Kluwer

Year: 2016

Number of Pages: 720

Our Final Grade: A

An in-depth study guide containing a full-length practice test, as well as more than 300 additional study questions and tips specific to each of the seven subjects covered in the exam.

This book is one edition of a popular MBE study guide. Without it, many bar candidates agree, they could not have passed the MBE. Containing one full practice test and hundreds of supplemental questions, this study guide not only helps you study but helps you understand which answers are correct and why.

Strategies and Tactics for the MBE teaches you how to take the test and provides detailed information on each subject covered in the MBE. It can help you identify and improve the areas in which you struggle the most, boosting your confidence as you go into the exam.

This book is also a fantastic resource for those who have taken the test before and failed. Its wealth of information and the clear way it presents it can significantly improve your score.

The book does contain typographical errors, which some users claim can be distracting and misleading.

Pros

  • Contains a full practice test and lots of supplemental practice material
  • Teaches the best strategies for taking the test
  • Thorough and informative

Cons

  • Contains typographical errors
  • Some users have complained of missing pages and problems with the binding.

2. Strategies and Tactics for the MBE, 7th Edition

Publisher: Wolters Kluwer

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 996

Our Final Grade: A

An updated version of this popular study guide containing even more test questions and the most up-to-date information on the MBE.

The 7th Edition of Strategies and Tactics for the MBE is the most up-to-date version of this book on the market. Coming in at nearly a thousand pages, this study guide contains a newer full-length practice test and even more supplemental questions, as well as strategies for analyzing different types of questions and detailed advice on the various sections of the test.

Many users agree that this book is the only MBE resource you will need, while others say it is an excellent supplement to other test prep materials. It explains elements of the test in simple ways that are easy to understand and is exceptionally thorough.

This new edition also includes Civil Procedure questions from past MBE exams, which many users find extremely helpful.

Like the 6th edition, however, this book contains typographical errors, some of which can be confusing.

Pros

  • Bigger and more in-depth than previous version
  • The most up-to-date version of this study guide available
  • Contains a full-length practice test

Cons

  • Contains typographical errors
  • Can be confusing at times

3. The Bar Exam is Easy: A Straightforward Guide on How to Pass the Bar Exam with Less Study Time and Save $3,000

Publisher: Coffee Publishing

Year: 2014

Number of Pages: 78

Our Final Grade: A-

A short ebook with a unique perspective on the MBE, this book is touted as “a must-read for any Bar candidate.”

This quick and to-the-point study guide takes the guesswork out of your MBE preparation. Rather than providing endless pages of practice questions, this book gives advice on the best practice questions to use, how to study efficiently, additional study materials, and how to have the right mindset going into the exam.

This book helps Bar candidates study smarter and save money. Many readers agree that it is a huge stress-reliever and confidence booster.

While its goal is to prepare readers for the Uniform Bar Exam as a whole, a large portion of it focuses on the MBE. It encourages readers to practice MBE questions and gives recommendations on where to find them.

As it contains significantly less information than most study guides, some users feel it is insufficient and question whether it is worth the money. However, it is inexpensive when compared with other study guides.

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Helps to take the stress out of preparing for the MBE
  • May save money in the long run

Cons

  • Some users find the information to be redundant and obvious–no new information
  • Not very detailed

4. Sterling Test Prep Bar Exam Review MBE Essentials: Governing Law Outlines

Publisher: Sterling Test Prep

Year: 2018

Number of Pages: 406

Our Final Grade: A+

A statistical analysis on which parts of the MBE are most likely to determine a passing grade.

This study guide uses statistics to help Bar candidates prepare for the most important parts of the MBE. According to the Author’s Note, these statistics have been used to “identify those questions that are best able to predict success or failure on the bar examination and put together the outlines of laws that govern those questions.”

Many users have found the study techniques presented in this book extremely helpful. It provides organized outlines for each subject and provides help to understand the phrasing of exam questions. It also includes a legal dictionary and an appendix containing the Constitution.

MBE Essentials helps students stay focused and easily grasp the main concepts. While many readers agree it is concise and well-written, some argue that it is a little harder to grasp because it uses overly complicated language.

In addition, the book does contain spelling and grammatical errors, which in some cases, make the information confusing and even misleading.

Pros

  • Well-organized and concise
  • A thorough study of the MBE from a big-picture perspective
  • Easy to understand

Cons

  • Overly complicated language
  • Some typographical errors

5. The Multistate Goat: The Essential Book of MBE Practice Questions

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Year: 2015

Number of Pages: 484

Our Final Grade: A-

A detailed study guide containing over 400 real test questions, a study plan, and various other tools and worksheets.

This book contains hundreds of practice questions from actual MBE exams. It also gives detailed explanations for each answer, helps the reader understand MBE rules, and provides a number of supplemental resources such as worksheets, tools to track your progress, advice on the different subjects, and access to over a thousand additional practice questions.

Readers frequently claim that The Multistate Goat is what helped them pass the MBE, saying it is the only study guide you’ll ever need.

Similar to Strategies and Tactics of the MBE, some users say it is less thorough and does not explain the answers as well. Others find it more concise and easier to follow than Strategies and Tactics.

The book was last published in 2015, so it may be slightly outdated for current test-takers. It also contains some typographical errors.

Pros

  • Provides lots of practice questions and other study resources
  • Authentic practice questions from past exams
  • Concise and easy to follow

Cons

  • Contains typographical errors
  • Does not explain answers to the practice questions

6. The Ultimate Guide to the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam)

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Year: 2019

Number of Pages: 268

Our Final Grade: A

An up-to-date study guide that tells you everything you need to know about passing the MBE in fewer pages and for a fraction of the price.

This is the ultimate study guide for Bar candidates on a budget. This book can help you identify your weak points, test your knowledge with practice questions, and improve your skills in all seven subject areas.

According to the book itself, this study guide “gives you the substantive and strategic content you need to excel on the MBE without the stress and minutiae of expensive bar prep courses. It is… designed to help you cut through the morass of information and misinformation about the test and zero in on the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.”

Readers call The Ultimate Guide to the MBE “approachable” and “well-written.” At under 300 words, it is shorter than most study guides out there, but it is easier to follow. It is also much more affordable than the majority of MBE test prep materials.

This book, published in 2019, contains more up-to-date information and practice questions than most study guides can boast.

Pros

  • Easy to read and follow
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Not as overwhelming as larger study guides

Cons

  • Some practice questions are harder than expected
  • No information on whether the test questions are from actual MBEs

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have to Take the MBE?

The MBE is only one part of the Uniform Bar Test, which also consists of the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). If you’re planning to become a lawyer, there’s really no way around taking any part of this exam.

In addition, lawyers who move to a new state must pass that state’s UBE before they can begin practicing there.

Depending on the jurisdiction, the MBE can account for up to 50 percent of your total Uniform Bar Exam score. Doing well on the MBE can help your overall score even if you struggle with the other components of the UBE.

How long should I study for the MBE?

How much time you spend studying for the MBE is entirely up to you. Most people consider practice questions to be the most effective study technique. In general, the more practice questions you do, the more prepared you’ll be for the actual exam.

Some have recommended studying full-time for up to ten weeks before you take the exam. Others may feel the need to study even longer.

If you have less time to devote to studying every day, start sooner–perhaps four or five months before the exam. Keep in mind, however, that the quality of your study is more important than the number of hours you put in, and nothing can replace having a thorough understanding of the content matter.

What are other ways to prepare?

In addition to reading study guides and taking practice tests, some Bar candidates consider flashcards to be an excellent resource. With practice questions on one side and the appropriate answers on the other, flashcards are a great way to review information quickly and memorize information.

Similarly, Adaptibar is an online study platform that includes e-flashcards, over a thousand authentic practice questions, and practice exams that can predict your MBE score.

Some students may also wish to take a Bar Exam prep course. While this can be a more expensive option, these courses provide hundreds of hours of preparation, combining the best tried-and-true study techniques with personal instruction guidance.

What score do I need to pass the MBE?

Passing scores vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The highest you can score on the exam is 200. Remember that the MBE may be responsible for up to 50 percent of your overall Uniform Bar Exam score, so it’s important to keep your MBE score high.

That said, your overall score is more important than your MBE score. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, minimum passing scores range from 260 to 280, depending on the jurisdiction.

How long does the test take?

The MBE lasts for six hours, broken into two three-hour sessions. This means you have about 1.8 minutes to answer each question.

Of course, some questions will take longer than others, so no need to time yourself too closely. A good general pace is to answer fifteen questions every thirty minutes or so.


Final Thoughts on Prepping for Your MBE Exam

The MBE is a huge test and a major component of the Uniform Bar Exam. While just the thought of a 200-question exam can cause anxiety, there is no reason to let fear take control. There are many resources available to Bar candidates to help them study and prepare to do their best on the MBE.

If you’re not sure how or even what to study, the six study guides listed in this article are a good place to start. In them, you will find countless practice questions and tips to help you through.

Remember, the most important thing is to have the right mindset. Believe in yourself. Don’t let the test intimidate you. Study hard, but trust your skills. Get plenty of rest, and take time to relax in the midst of your grueling exam prep.

Come test day, be confident! You’ve put in the time, effort and money; now all that’s left to do is ace the test!

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Matt Lane
 

Matt graduated with a BSEd in Kinesiology from University of Georgia and is now pursuing a medical degree. He enjoys sharing his experience with other ambitious young people.