Taking the Bar in 2015? Get Ready for the New MBE Format

By Robyn Hagan Cain on March 08, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Mean Girls -- you know, the Heathers of the early aughts -- Janis warns the protagonist about the meanest girl in school, Regina George. "She's a life ruiner. She ruins people's lives."

The same could be said of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBEX).

This week, the NCBEX warned law school deans that the long-rumored MBE civil procedure section will become a reality in February 2015, according to Above the Law.

Starting in 2015, the MBE topics will be:

  • Contracts
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Real Property
  • Torts
  • Evidence
  • Civil Procedure

BarBri President Mike Sims says that the new MBE format will include 27 scored questions in each subject except contracts, which will have 28 scored questions. Test takers will still have six hours to complete the exam. Sims seems optimistic about the new format, explaining:

In many states, Civil Procedure is already an essay subject. Learning it for the essay will help you on the MBE. For everyone else, adding a new subject to the MBE will reduce the overall negative effect of scoring lower on a single subject.

(Sidebar: Of course bar prep programs are receptive to the change. The online resale market for bar review materials will likely take a hit for at least the first year of the MBE with the new civil procedure component. Who wants to buy outdated materials?)

If civil procedure is your jam, then the new MBE format could be good news. If the only thing you remember between Rule 6 and Rule 56 is a 12(b)(6), you might be in trouble.

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