Following are a list of frequently asked questions regarding my module subscriptions
Seperac Modules FAQ
Therefore, as compared to my OPE 643 exam, the 2016 Strategies and Tactics Volume I 6th Edition is missing about 300 of my OPE 643 questions (or about 48% of the OPE 643 questions). The questions in the OPE 643 that are missing from S&T Vol I are the 210 MBE Study Aid questions from 2019 (I expect these to appear in the next edition of S&T), 33 recent sample questions from NCBE and 65 OPE questions (these missing OPE questions are in S&T Volume II). The S&T books generally arrange the questions by subject with the answers at the end of each section. I arrange the questions by subject and topic with the answer explanations after each question. The S&T Books are actual books that are purchased and mailed to you. My OPE 643 exam is instantly downloadable and can be printed (with a light watermark) but you cannot copy and paste from it. The S&T books generally have longer more comprehensive answer explanations (which is very helpful when you start your practice but sometimes overkill when you are deeper into practice). Finally, I also provide the questions/answers in MP3 format which as far as I know, no one else provides.
Basically, the released NCBE questions are not always reflective of the current MBE exam. Along with areas that are under-represented, the NCBE questions also over-represent certain areas. For example, future interests & RAP are now rarely tested on the MBE, but you will find a good number of them in Adaptibar. Meanwhile, the new topics that replaced these topics (e.g. Fair Housing Act and broker commissions) do not appear in the released NCBE questions. Thus, if your MBE study is based only on the law behind the released NCBE MBE questions, you will be under-prepared for some areas and over-prepared for others. These inefficiencies are evident even in materials of most major bar reviews. For example, based on the 2019 NBCE Subject Matter outline, the subject of Real Property consists of five categories: (1) Ownership; (2) Rights in Land; (3) Contracts; (4) Mortgages; and (5) Titles. Each category is equally weighted, meaning each category will represent 20% of your Real Property MBE score. However, if you look at the MBE outlines of the big bar reviews, you would not see anything remotely close to these proportions. For example, 44% of Barbri’s Real Property outline is based on category 1 (Ownership) even though it is only 20% of an examinee’s MBE score. Meanwhile, 7% of Barbri’s Real Property outline is based on category 3 (Contracts) even though it is 20% of an examinee’s MBE score. Likewise, 8% of Barbri’s Real Property outline is based on category 4 (Mortgages) even though it is 20% of an examinee’s MBE score. Kaplan and Themis are similar. For Kaplan, 45% of Kaplan’s Real Property outline is based on category 1 (Ownership); 9% is based on category 3 (Contracts) and 9% is based on category 4 (Mortgages). For Themis, 36% of Themis’ Real Property MBE outline is based on category 1 (Ownership); 9% is based on category 3 (Contracts) and 12% is based on category 4 (Mortgages). The average examinee gets about 18/25 correct on Real Property MBE questions. If you miss 50% of the category 3 (Contracts) and category 4 (Mortgages) MBE questions because your outline was 50% too small for those categories, that is about 5 MBE questions (which translates to 3-4 total UBE points).
Doing questions from other sources such as Kaplan/PMBR and Barbri can help balance these deficiencies. I also have an MBE Outline ($250) you may find useful. For example, an CA examinee who scored a 160.6 on the J18 MBE told me “Your outline is excellent and serves as a great equalizer since the questions on Adaptibar are not fully reflective of the exam.” While I am biased, I believe my MBE Outline is the best representation of the current MBE exam you will ever see in a commercially available outline – it is highly on point both proportionately and contextually. I have been maintaining/updating this outline for 14 years (the 2005 version is available for free on www.seperac.com). For example, the Criminal Procedure section of my outline may spend more time on the obscure topic of 8th Amendment rather than Prosecutorial duty to disclose because that is the direction the MBE is going. The best benefit of my MBE outline is that it is packed with the nuances you will see on the current MBE. For example, a subscriber who passed F19 told me: “Your MBE outlines are top notch. They address so many of the nuanced rules I’ve been tested on during this prep cycle and past prep cycles.” Another examinee who failed with an MBE of 127 and then purchased my MBE outline and subsequently passed told me: “Hi Joe! I wanted to let you know I got the great news that I passed the mbe portion of the FL bar! I’m a repeat taker and your outline helped me SO MUCH! THANK YOU! “ In regards to the examinee’s failing attempt, she told me “I felt extremely unprepared for the real property section because there were so many topics I hadn’t even heard of. For example there was a mortgage question regarding marshaling which was in NONE of my bar prep materials. And there was maybe a sentence regarding the fair housing act.” This is precisely what my MBE outline addresses. For example, a subscriber who scored a 174 on the MBE in NY and then a 177 on the MBE in NJ told me: “… as far as the MBE is concerned, your outlines have been most useful since you emphasize the fine distinctions.” Thus, you can regard my MBE outline as an excellent representation (both proportionally and contentually) of the current MBE. This MBE outline will serve as a much better reflection of the current MBE exam than the outline you will use with your bar review. Subscribers generally treat my outline as their MBE bible and adjust their MBE studying based on it. For example, if there is very little coverage for a topic in my MBE outline but it is heavily covered in your Barbri/Kaplan/etc. materials, you should pay less attention to it. Conversely, if my outline stresses a topic but it is not covered in your materials, you need to learn it.
Please note that this is a comprehensive outline rather than an attack outline so it will take you some time to get through it. While an attack outline (i.e. an outline that is 3-5 pages per subject) may be more manageable as the exam nears, I find that outlines significantly smaller than 25 pages per subject are too superficial for productive MBE study. With each exam, I actually have to force myself to limit each subject to only 25 pages of black letter law. I honestly feel that I need more than one page of black letter law per MBE question to cover all the nuances for each MBE topic, but I have settled on one page per MBE question for the time being. Since I put a lot of time into trying to understand the exam, so you can regard my outlines as an excellent reflection of it. Basically, what you can expect on the exam is what you can expect in my outline (which also illustrates how comprehensive the scope of the MBE is). As I mentioned, the best benefit of my MBE Outline is that it is packed with the nuances you will see on the MBE.
Aside from this MBE outline ($250), I also have an MBE Rules module (which consists of rule statements I wrote for the 1,800+ released NCBE questions including the recently released 210 MBE Study Aid questions ($250). The MBE Rules subscription includes MP3s of the rules in case you commute, work out, etc. Finally, there is an option for the Combined MBE Outline ($400) which essentially is the MBE outline and MBE Rules merged together into a single outline. If you are interested, you can look at www.mberules.com for more information and samples.
I generally encourage first-time examinees to take a standard bar review course and supplement with my modules. Even if you are in an at-risk demographic as a first-time examinee (e.g. foreign examinee or part-time studier), you really can’t gauge your ability to pass until you take the exam. For example, one recent first-time foreign examinee from West Africa passed with an exceptionally high UBE score of 321 despite numerous impediments. The examinee told me: “This was my first attempt ever and all the odds were heavily stacked against me. I’m a foreign educated attorney from west Africa. Additionally I’m a mother of a toddler who was 17 months when I sat bar, a wife, and I was 7 months pregnant during exam. I was also breastfeeding months leading up to exam and was throwing up a lot during bar prep (made me weak and tired all the time). We also moved across state 2 weeks to the exam and that took a significant amount of time away from my prep.” On top of all these issues, the NY UBE pass rate for this demographic is about 10%, making this accomplishment even more noteworthy. Accordingly, you simply don’t know how you will do until you do it.
In contrast, UBE Course subscribers are generally examinees who have repeatedly failed but absolutely need to pass on their next attempt (e.g. because their job is at risk or it will be their last full attempt). Thus, it makes more sense to choose the economical route first and see what happens. If you are contemplating the UBE Course, any amount you pay for a subscription module will be credited if you later decide to sign up for the UBE course. For example, if you purchase the J19 Combined MBE Outline + UBE Essays Modules for $500 but fail the J19 exam, if you decide to enroll in the F20 UBE Course, it will be discounted by the $500 you paid. Please further note that to enroll in the UBE course, you must provide me with information to verify your examinee status and also sign a comprehensive Non-Disclosure Agreement. If you are unwilling to do this, you should not sign up or purchase any subscriptions with the expectation of a later credit.
With the Combined MBE and Essays subscription, you will find all the subscription materials helpful, but the MBE materials will likely contribute the most to your UBE score (and odds of passing). In a UBE state, you want to spend at least 70% of your overall study-time on the MBE. A good MBE will overcome a lot of problems with the other components. For example, according to a 1976 American Bar Association Journal interview with Joe E. Covington, the director of testing of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, when asked whether state bar examiners can use only the MBE score and not look at the essays at all to make a pass or fail designation, the NCBE director responded: At least four jurisdictions do not read the essay answers of applicant who make a predetermined score or above that score. Some states select an M.B.E, score of 140 for this purpose. Applicants who achieve this selected score or above are admitted to the bar solely on the M.B.E. score. If an applicant scores this high on the M.B.E., the correlation of the essay and M.B.E tests is so good that in only very rare cases would the essay score of an applicant be low enough to bring the average of the scores below the passing score were his essay answers graded. see Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Multistate Bar Examination, American Bar Association Journal; Mar 1976, Vol. 62 Issue 3, p315. Although this article is from 1976, I believe this still holds true today. This is why out of 4,500+ UBE examinees who failed and sent me their scores, only 110 failed with an MBE score above 140 (meaning about 98% failed with an MBE below 140). This is why you should focus on the MBE and try to get above 140 (which is usually about 65% correct).
The goal of my MBE materials is to help examinees achieve a scaled score of 140 or higher on the MBE. In that regard, I believe my MBE Outline as the best representation of the current MBE exam you will ever see in a commercially available outline – it is highly on point both proportionately and contextually. The best benefit of my MBE outline is that it is packed with the nuances you will see on the current MBE. For example, a subscriber who passed F19 told me: “Your MBE outlines are top notch. They address so many of the nuanced rules I’ve been tested on during this prep cycle and past prep cycles.” Another examinee who failed with an MBE of 127 and then purchased my MBE outline and subsequently passed told me: “Hi Joe! I wanted to let you know I got the great news that I passed the mbe portion of the FL bar! I’m a repeat taker and your outline helped me SO MUCH! THANK YOU! “ In regards to the examinee’s failing attempt, she told me “I felt extremely unprepared for the real property section because there were so many topics I hadn’t even heard of. For example there was a mortgage question regarding marshaling which was in NONE of my bar prep materials. And there was maybe a sentence regarding the fair housing act.” This is precisely what my MBE outline addresses. For example, a subscriber who scored a 174 on the MBE in NY and then a 177 on the MBE in NJ told me: “… as far as the MBE is concerned, your outlines have been most useful since you emphasize the fine distinctions.”
Thus, you can regard my MBE outline as an excellent representation (both proportionally and contentually) of the current MBE. For example, an CA examinee who scored a 160.6 on the J18 MBE told me “Your outline is excellent and serves as a great equalizer since the questions on Adaptibar are not fully reflective of the exam.” This MBE outline will serve as a much better reflection of the current MBE exam than the outline you will use with bar reviews such as Barbri or Kaplan. Subscribers generally treat my outline as their MBE bible and adjust their MBE studying based on it. For example, if there is very little coverage for a topic in my MBE outline but it is heavily covered in your Barbri/Kaplan/Themis materials, you should pay less attention to it. Conversely, if my outline stresses a topic but it is not covered in your Barbri/Kaplan/Themis materials, you need to learn it. For example, an examinee who subscribed to the $500 Combined MBE and UBE Essays module who just passed Feb 2019 told me the following “I just wanted to let you know that I passed the TN UBE with a score of 302. I wanted to thank you sincerely for providing such an amazing program for the MEE, MPT, and MBE. It allowed me to really focus my studying and pass with flying colors. Thank you again!”
Please note that this is a comprehensive outline rather than an attack outline so it will take you some time to get through it. While an attack outline (i.e. an outline that is 3-5 pages per subject) may be more manageable as the exam nears, I find that outlines significantly smaller than 25 pages per subject are too superficial for productive MBE study. With each exam, I actually have to force myself to limit each subject to only 25 pages of black letter law. I honestly feel that I need more than one page of black letter law per MBE question to cover all the nuances for each MBE topic, but I have settled on one page per MBE question for the time being. Since I put a lot of time into trying to understand the exam, so you can regard my outlines as an excellent reflection of it. Basically, what you can expect on the exam is what you can expect in my outline (which also illustrates how comprehensive the scope of the MBE is). As I mentioned earlier, the best benefit of my MBE Outline is that it is packed with the nuances you will see on the MBE.
The Combined MBE outline also contains my 1,800 NCBE MBE rules which are built into it. Subscribers find these MBE rules very helpful in their MBE studies. Thus, the black letter law sections of the MBE outline will appropriately tell you what to expect on the upcoming exam (both contextually and proportionally), while the built-in MBE rules will tell you what was tested on the past. This is about as complete a picture as you can have of the current MBE exam while being able to study everything for the MBE in one place. Typically, subscribers rank my MBE Rules outline as 2nd or 3rd most helpful in their MBE studies (the UBE MASTER outline is ranked most helpful, but this is only available through my UBE Course). For example, as one examinee recently told me: “Knowing now that I passed, I can confidently say that your MBE Rules outline was indispensable. Even though I probably completed only 400-500 practice MBEs, I really focused on thinking about why I got answers wrong, what aspect of the law I didn’t quite understand, and creating rules that directly addressed that misunderstanding. I then reviewed these rules multiple times.” This is because the past questions serve as a good reflection of the legal concepts currently tested. A 2004 research report entitled A Multivariate Generalizability Analysis of the MBE concluded that “variance component estimates for sub-tests for the February and July administrations are very stable, which indicates that the table of specifications for the MBE is well-defined and faithfully followed, and various forms constructed based on the table of specifications are quite ‘parallel’ to each other.” This is why reviewing NCBE questions is so important. Because the MBE forms are ‘parallel’ to each other, reviewing released MBE questions is the best way to familiarize yourself with future MBE questions. Granted, the farther back you go, the less relevant the questions become (NCBE even warns about this), but there is no better way of understanding the MBE exam than by examining the law tested in the released questions by the exam maker. Accordingly, you should frequently review the rules I wrote for the NCBE OPE questions from 2006-2013 and the NCBE MBE Study Aid questions from 2019.
Included in this Combined MBE + UBE Essays subscription is a separate MBE rules outline you can read or listen to via MP3. It consists of the same MBE rules which are built into the Combined MBE outline, but they are separated based on their importance. Thus, the important NCBE MBE rules (based on questions from 2006 and later) are separated from the less-important rules (based on questions from 1998 and earlier) to enable subscribers to focus additional time on the 644 most important rules while still spending some time reviewing the less important ones. This is because while any of the 644 legal concepts in the “OPE” MBE Rules can be tested on the upcoming MBE (and therefore important), there are a number of legal concepts in the “NON-OPE” MBE Rules that are no longer tested (making this older set of questions less important). If you answer the released NCBE questions, this serves as a great second perspective and if you don’t answer all the released NCBE questions, this serves as an excellent hedge. Thus, since you are taking Kaplan and may not review the released NCBE questions in your MBE practice, reviewing these rules through my outlines serves as an excellent hedge because you will at least become familiar with the legal concepts tested on the actual MBE.
The UBE Essays subscription will give you a lot of insight into what is required on the MEE and MPT. The subscription includes the licensed MEEs, but I transform them into more efficient study tools such as condensed outlines, comparison banks and MP3s. Please keep in mind the available component modules (i.e. UBE Essays and MBE Rules) do NOT contain any topic priorities for the upcoming exam. Any material I produce which prioritizes/predicts upcoming exam topics such as my UBE MASTER Outline or Top 50 MEE outline is only available through the UBE Course.
For the MEE, I recommend that subscribers review the MEE Issue Spotting Practice Outline or listen to the MP3s of it. This outline contains every released MEE question from 2002 to present (200+ MEE questions) grouped by subject with the questions sorted from newest to oldest with the corresponding issues and short answers for issue spotting practice. If you don’t have enough time to do full MEE study, this is a great alternative (especially to fill time while you are commuting/working out/etc.). You can listen to these essays in MP3 form while you commute which serves as an excellent way to study more efficiently while also forming different memory impressions.
For the MPT, there is a very large bank of graded MPTs (500+) spanning the past 19 exams. By looking at a wide variety of real graded MPTs, especially the high scoring MPTs, you will learn by example of how a good MPT answer should be constructed. There is also an MPT Format Bible which will efficiently illustrate to you the majority of past MPT formats (according to NCBE, the MPT format can account for up to 10% of the MPT grade).
In contrast, if you are on the other end of the spectrum (Foreign-educated Non-Caucasian Repeat-Taker), you can’t afford any inefficiencies in your studies. The lower your ability, the less room for error you have in your studying. For example, I strongly believe examinees MUST do well on the MBE in order to pass. There will always be outliers where examinees pass based on a low MBE score and a high written score, but in general it is the best measure of an examinee’s ability. This opinion is shared by NCBE who recently stated that “MBE scores are highly related to total bar exam scores.” In a perfect world with no time constraints, you would memorize your full outlines and then answer each NCBE MBE question over and over until you fully understood the law behind every single NCBE question. However, all examinees are limited in some way by study time, memory capacity, and exam ability. In such cases, you may benefit from a supplement that gives you a better picture of the exam in a more efficient manner and format. Otherwise, lower-ability examinees try to be good at everything, but if their MBE score languishes, they almost always fail.
In addition, if you are interested in a quid pro quo, I offer a $30 discount coupon code to any examinee who agrees to complete my post-exam followup form within one week after taking the UBE exam (probably takes about 10 minutes of your time). The current version of the post-exam form is here: http://seperac.com/postexamform.php
This post-exam followup form enables me assess the effectiveness of my materials/advice. It can also help you later if you find out you failed the exam. For example, using this information, I track the key details of your attempt, so if you fail, I will try to match your responses/statistics to whoever previously submitted the most comparable details (and later passed) to give you their advice on what worked for them. Over the past five years, this pin-pointed advice has helped a number of failers pass on their next attempt. Please email me at joe [@] seperac.com for more details if you are interested.
Here is how I used my subscription:
MBE Rules:I read through your rules fully at least 3-4 times before the exam. This was the first time I begun to feel that I understood possible questions that could be tested on the exam. Your rules were the closest thing to the exam questions. I started studying for the bar with Barbri and even though I was learning a lot with Barbri I felt like I wasnt being directly prepared for possible bar exam questions. I researched online and read rave reviews about your materials. I decided to follow my gut and try your subscription. You responded quickly to my questions and welcomed me to your subscription family! Once I read your MBE rules, I finally felt like I was hitting the nail on the head and truly understanding potential MBE questions. My advice to anyone is first make sure you understand each MBE subject as well as possble (using Barbri or whatever your primary study material is) then read Joe’s MBE rules thoroughly, at least 3-4 times before the exam. Make sure you understand and can apply each rule fully. Another thing: Barbri advises you wait till last two weeks to memorize for all the subjects. I highly disagree. I was memorizing as I went along–and by memorizing I mean I was making sure that I fully understood each rule in your outline. Whatever didnt “stick” in my mind on the first read would eventually stick on subsequent reads before the exam. Also, start your study early. I dont believe in Barbri’s calender of 2 months of study. Start 1-2 months ahead of Barbri if possible (unless you are already very familiar with the bar materials). It takes time for your mind to digest all the information.
MPT: I followed your advice. First, I fully answered all the MPT essays assigned and graded by Barbri as homework (3-5 full MPT questions). Then I applied your advice… I read through as many additional MPT questions as possible (perhaps 6 additional questions) then read the sample answers as well . I didnt write out these 6 additional questions I just read both the question and the sample answer and it gave me a solid understanding of the pattern of questions tested on the MPT and the pattern of acceptable answers. I believe I read the additional 6 the weekend before the exam so it would be fresh in my mind since NY tests MPT on Day 1.
MEE: Your advice made all the difference! I did all MEE questions assigned by Barbri. Then I read through NEARLY ALL of your MEE questions and answers. I read until I just couldn’t anymore. I noticed your answers to the MEE questions were more thorough and easy to comprehend than Barbri’s. The summary at the beginning of your answers was also super helpful when I felt I was running out of time to read the full answer. Your predictions made a HUGE difference for me as well. It helped me hone in on potential topics that could be tested. It boosted my confidence knowing possible subjects that could be tested. I did make sure that I understood all 13 MEE subjects clearly then I paid extra attention to the topics you predicted. I believe most of your predictions were spot on!!
One more thing: your advice to do all 4 OPE’s and the NCBE study questions was spot on!!!! I believe a few OPE questions were repeated on the test and changed very slightly. I did not get to the NCBE study book due to lack of time but I am sure that would have raised my score even more!! I also did some of the questions in Emmanuel’s Strategy and Tactics which matched the exam questions as well.
Overall, I think another thing that made a BIG difference for me was the level of attention you gave me. When I felt down or unsure or confused I could write to you and get encouragement and a strategy. I DID NOT EVEN GET THIS LEVEL OF ATTENTION FROM BARBRI WHOM I PAID WAY MORE. I could always ask for your advice whenever I felt I hit a wall and you would give me invaluable strategy advice. This made all of the difference. Even when I finished the exam and I was unsure of how I would score your advice boosted my confidence that I passed. Now, I am happy that my score is high enough to transfer to any UBE state. Thanks to you I wrote the bar once and aced it so I dont have to worry about it again!
Joe I believe you have DECODED THE BAR EXAM!! Keep up the excellent work!! If I can do anything to support your business please let me know. I am forever a fan and will spread the word any chance I get.
Another examinee who scored a 150 on the MBE told me:
I did roughly 3,000 mbe practice questions from a variety of sources, wrote down the rule, used your rules and outlines, and self studied. I was scoring between 72-85 percent before the exam so I felt good about the mbe. I’ll be swearing into other states, besides Maine (I can swear into ME by motion in a few years). Thank you for the help and great subscription site. I improved my mbe score by 15 ish pts from the first go-around, which I definitely attribute to your page.