Preparing for the MBE
Test Format and Subject Matter
The MBE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions: 190 scored questions and 10 unscored pretest questions. The pretest questions are indistinguishable from those that are scored, so examinees should answer all questions. The exam is divided into morning and afternoon testing sessions of three hours each, with 100 questions in each session. There are no scheduled breaks during either the morning or afternoon session.
The 190 scored questions on the MBE are distributed as follows: Civil Procedure (27), Constitutional Law (27), Contracts (28), Criminal Law and Procedure (27), Evidence (27), Real Property (27), and Torts (27).
Each of the questions on the MBE is followed by four possible answers. Examinees should choose the best answer from the four stated alternatives. Each question on the MBE is designed to be answered according to generally accepted fundamental legal principles, unless noted otherwise in the question. Examinees should mark only one answer for each question; multiple answers will be scored as incorrect. Since scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly, examinees are advised to answer every question. Points are not subtracted for incorrect answers.
Examinees have three hours in each session to answer all questions. All answers must be marked on the answer sheet within the three-hour time limit. Once time is called, examinees must put down their pencils and no more marks or erasures are allowed. Examinees will receive credit only for those answers marked on the answer sheet. No additional time will be allowed to transfer answers from a test booklet to an answer sheet, and only answer sheets will be scored.
MBE Study Aids
MBE Online Practice Exams
The MBE Online Practice Exams (OPEs) are 100-question, annotated online practice exams that use questions drawn from actual MBEs administered in recent years. (The questions have been retired and will not appear on a future MBE.) The annotations explain why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Examinees can take the practice exam timed or untimed, receive feedback on their answers, and obtain a customized score report designed to help identify strengths and weaknesses in six MBE subject areas: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. NOTE: The MBE-OPEs do not yet include Civil Procedure, which was introduced as a subject area in February 2015. To access a set of sample Civil Procedure questions, see MBE Civil Procedure Sample Test Questions.
The MBE-OPEs are available for purchase at the NCBE Study Aids Store. Purchasing an MBE-OPE gives an examinee a subscription for unlimited online access to the exam for one year after the date of purchase.
Sample Test Questions
For examples of test questions similar to those on the MBE, see MBE Sample Test Questions.
Civil Procedure was added to the MBE in February 2015. To access a set of sample Civil Procedure questions, see MBE Civil Procedure Sample Test Questions.
Retired questions drawn from MBEs administered many years ago are made available on this page, but examinees are advised not to use these questions as substantive preparation for the MBE. Due to changes in the law since the time the questions appeared on an exam, the questions and their keys may no longer be current. The question format may also be outdated. Because these questions are outdated, NCBE does not recommend their use but nevertheless makes them available because the questions may still be in use by commercial bar review courses under a licensing agreement with NCBE.
These publications include answer keys but do not offer annotations. In addition, they do not include Civil Procedure questions.