Here are some strategies for the answer choices for the MBE:
- Look for the more precise answer: That is a better choice – one that incorporates more facts and more of the law relevant to your fact pattern.
- Be careful of those absolutes. If you see words like must, always, never, etc., be careful, because we know that the law almost never deals in absolutes. They are few absolutes in the law.
- Look for conjunctions. Be careful when you see words like because, if, only if, unless, etc. Those conjunctions are designed to try to trick the reader, especially the careless reader. For example, you’ll see a question that says, if the jury believes the defendant, it is because…. This example wants you to focus on the defendant’s defense, not whether the defendant is guilty.
- Be careful of distractors. Common distractors for evidence are the best evidence rule and prejudicial v. probative. Make sure you know when you can use these two as the right answer or else they may be distractors.
- Be careful of sympathy or dislike. The MBE likes to pull at your heart strings a bit too. Sometimes they have a really reprehensible defendant who has a legitimate “procedural” issue that makes him not guilty, i.e. an improper search and seizure. You want to find him guilty, but the police make an error and the evidence is suppressed. Similarly, you’ll see a sympathetic person who commits a cause of action or a crime and must be either liable or guilty. Don’t let emotion rule the day.
Remember, that common mistakes in choosing the answer come from not knowing the law, not reading the fact pattern carefully, or not reading the call of the question.
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