If you’re preparing for the bar exam and need to take the multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination (or “MBE”), you might be wondering how to get access to practice MBE questions with explanations. One option is UWorld, which offers an online MBE prep program with some great features. I was given complimentary trial access to UWorld’s “QBank” program to evaluate their new MBE prep software. This post explains how UWorld works and provides an overview of some of its tools that can help you get ready for the bar exam.
What is UWorld?
UWorld traces its roots back to Dr. Chandra Pemmasani’s time as a medical school resident. Disappointed with the materials available to help him prepare for the board exam in the early 2000s, Dr. Pemmasani started to write his own practice questions based on case studies from his medical school curriculum. After his questions started to grow in popularity in online forums, he eventually recruited a team to help grow UWorld into one of the leading test prep companies.
Since launching in 2003, UWorld has helped more than 2 million students and professionals across all levels and disciplines prepare for high-stakes exams, including medical and nursing students, graduate students, accountants and financial professionals, and high school students. UWorld is a relative newcomer to the bar prep industry, having just launched its MBE offering in April 2020. Prior to launching its MBE prep solution, UWorld consulted with attorneys and law professors to select questions and review explanations for answers, so every question and explanation you see has been reviewed quite recently.
Now that you have some background on UWorld and how it entered the commercial bar prep space, here’s some information about its MBE Question Bank (or “QBank”) prep software.
How Does the UWorld MBE QBank Work?
The UWorld MBE QBank contains more than 1,375 licensed MBE questions and more than 550 “simulated” MBE questions drafted by the team at UWorld. These questions can be accessed once you purchase a subscription, the cost of which depends on how long you want to have access to the software leading up to your exam date. UWorld can be accessed from a web browser or the “UWorld LEGAL” app.
Once your subscription is activated and you set up your profile, you can access the QBank and all of its questions and features. You have the option to answer questions in “Tutor” mode, which displays a detailed answer explanation after every question regardless of whether you choose the correct answer. Alternatively, you can use the “Test” mode, which does not offer explanations until after you complete the entire exam. In either mode, you can choose whether or not to display a timer on screen.
The QBank allows you to select as many questions as you want across any combination of the seven MBE subjects, as well as sub-topics within those subjects. I really like how specific you can be when creating a test in the QBank. It’s nice to be able to go beyond answering “Constitutional Law” questions generally and select questions from more specific sub-topics like “Judicial Review” and “Individual Rights.” This feature could help you cement your understanding of key concepts as you get started with bar prep or target weaker areas in the critical final weeks leading up to the bar exam.
Another thing I really liked about the UWorld answer explanations is that they contain a lot more content than some competitors. In order to make MBE practice valuable, you need to learn from your mistakes. Where some test prep companies offer only a static written explanation for every question, UWorld offers a more robust and interactive explanation. For example, the explanation after a Civil Procedure question on choice-of-law rules in federal court contained links to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a chart about choice-of-law rules, and links to definitions for terms like “substantive law” and “waiver.” There were even citations to applicable case law in the footer!
In addition to these robust explanations, UWorld indicates how many students got a particular MBE question correct. Based on my experience as a bar exam tutor, one thing a lot of students struggle with is differentiating between “must-know” rules and concepts, and “nice-to-know” (but not strictly necessary) concepts. After all, you can’t learn every rule before the MBE — and the MBE tests some pretty nuanced rules and exceptions. By telling you where you fall on the “curve” for a particular question, UWorld can help you make this critical distinction and focus on what really matters during bar prep.
There are some other features in the QBank to help you during your bar prep journey, including the ability to bookmark questions for later, create your own digital flashcards, and take notes on questions. I like how these features make MBE practice a more active and hands-on learning experience.
Performance Reports in QBank
Once you’ve completed enough questions in the QBank, you can generate reports that give you a lot of valuable information about your overall performance over time, as well as how you’re doing in particular subjects and sub-topics. The “Graphs” feature even allows you to see how you’re ranking in comparison to other students’ performance. This data can really help you reflect on your performance and fine-tune where you focus your energy during the weeks leading up to the bar exam.
Is UWorld a Good Choice for MBE Practice?
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the features I tried out in UWorld’s QBank. The answer explanations I saw in the program are often better than those of competitors, especially given the fact that they’re content-rich and interactive. The only downsides I see to QBank are as follows. First, it requires a bit of manual work to set up practice tests, where other programs require a bit less work and allow you to dive right into practice with fewer steps. In addition, this is a standalone MBE prep program, so you’ll need to source materials for your essay and performance test prep elsewhere.
If you’re looking to practice MBE questions either online or using a mobile app, UWorld is a great option for you. Good luck with your bar prep!