Whether you are a first time bar exam taker or a repeat bar exam taker, the Massachusetts Bar Exam is now the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). In my opinion, this is awesome. Not because I love bar review and I get a weird sense of happiness out of it, but because of the structure of the exam. Gone are the days of “what are the rights of the parties?” after 10 full page bar exam questions that leaves you scrambling in hopes that you got not only the correct subject(s), but also the correct issues, and that you have miraculously laid them out in a beautiful, flowing structured way. I am a girl who lacks structure, and if you combine that with other lack-of-structure type things, we have a serious problem involving chaos and crying. And therefore, I love the UBE.
- The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) often has questions that direct you to exactly what the examiners are looking for. You will get a fact pattern that has, for example, 3 question prompts after it. They will be something like:
- Was Sandy’s use of the fireworks negligent?
- Was Sandy’s use of the fireworks an unusually dangerous activity?
- Is the fireworks company liable for their defective fireworks?
This is dreamy. I am being told what to write.
- But what if they ask me a really obscure question and I have no idea what they want?
For the most part, they won’t. For the most part (and there are always exceptions), the question will be clear and the subject matter familiar (how familiar is up to you and your studying).
- The MBE: this is the stubborn bugger that won’t budge. It isn’t going anywhere.
- The MPT: YES! You don’t even need to “study” for this! Don’t confuse that with not having to PRACTICE. This is a “closed universe” exam where there is a directive (usually in the form of a memo of a senior attorney asking you to do something) (this is super important), a “client file” and “library” given to you. That is all you use to write your answer. It is like 1st year writing class all over again (except you have 90 minutes to write your Memo, Brief, Client Letter or some other document). Remember, the research is done for you, and all you need to do is follow directions and manage your time.
- Examiner’s Notes. The NCBE has exactly what the examiners are looking for in past MEE and MPT question. WARNING: these are NOT sample answers. Just because they mention 300 cases for negligence and all the Restatements on Torts (how many are there now, 9?) doesn’t mean you are supposed to. I think it’s nice to have these, but you need to see actual written answers from top scoring successful applicants.
- There are frequency and sub-topic charts. This is not a new exam, it is only new to Massachusetts. Therefore, this exam has a history on what has been tested, when, and how often.
I have been teaching the UBE for years and I enjoy it immensely. I get it that this may be new for you, especially if you previously took the bar exam and now find yourself wondering if you have to study for a totally different exam. No, you don’t. You will change the way you practice for the exam, but I think you will find it more efficient. And hey, there is no Chapter 93A or Commercial Paper. Also? NO MASSACHUSETTS DISTINCTIONS! Holla!!!