I’ve heard countless students say things like, “I started reading it and thought it was a real property question, but it turned out to be torts.” Or, “I thought it was a criminal law question, but it turned out to be an evidence question.” One of the things that makes the bar exam difficult, is that you can be tested on a wide range of subjects, and you don’t know exactly what’s coming. That’s why it is important to read the call of the question first.This is true for MBEs and MEEs. You want to situate yourself as best as you can before you get lost in the facts. Otherwise, you may have a hard time figuring out how the facts fit together. It may take practice getting used to doing this if your habit is to read from top to bottom, but it’s worth it to try to break that habit now.
You will save time if you start with the call of the question, because you won’t have to go back and re-read the facts. You will already have an understanding of what you will be reading for. (This is also the same reason you want to read the library before the file when you do an MPT. You need to know the law you’re applying before you can figure out which facts are important to which pieces of the law.)
Steps to Approaching a Bar Exam Problem:
- Read the call of the question.
- Read and mark up the fact pattern, making notes, drawing charts, underlining/circling important information.
- Read the call of the question again.
- For essays, jot down a brief outline. For MBEs, read through every answer choice and eliminate the incorrect options.