I receive so many questions about how to prepare for the Florida bar exam's 100 multiple-choice questions on the first day. They make taking this exam somewhat challenging. Yes, Texas has the Procedure and Evidence questions and New York has the New York Law Exam. However, neither can induce the same type of headache produced by these Florida questions.
The Florida multiple-choice questions are a very important component of the exam and they should not be overlooked during your studies. Countless students have told me over the years how they barely studied for this part of the test, deciding to concentrate solely on the Florida essays and the MBE. This is foolish and I do not recommend this strategy.
The Florida Board of Bar Examiners explicitly state in their study guide multiple-choice examination instructions that the three afternoon segments count the same as the morning ones. Therefore, why would anyone only prepare for one-half of a day of testing? That's exam suicide! I recommend that examinees explore all of the study guides found here to fully understand what they might encounter over day 1 of the Florida bar exam.
The Florida multiple-choice questions has 3 segments. Segment 1 ALWAYS test the Florida Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure. ALWAYS. If you don't like surprises on exams, then you should feel relieved to know that you can expect approximately 33 questions on these subjects. Segments 2 and 3 can be any combination of the following 3 subjects: (1) Business Entities, (2) Evidence, and (3) Wills and Administrations of Estates. To complicate things further, a particular testing might include a majority of questions under a subject focusing on a specific area such as partnerships or hearsay.
The Florida study guide contains two important sentences telling you what kinds of questions you might encounter on this portion of the exam: "Some of the multiple-choice items on the Florida prepared portion of the examination will include a performance component. Applicants will be required to read and apply a portion of actual Florida rules of procedure, statutes and/or court opinions that will be included in the text of the question." This performance component of some questions is what can add to the afternoon fatigue caused by the multiple-choice questions.
Making your brain spin further is that many of the questions are not entirely straightforward with the correct answers. For example, you may have studied Florida civil procedure from your commercial bar review outlines and then encounter a multiple-choice question on the first day where both a plaintiff and defendant enter motions for summary judgment after the closing of pleadings. The question asks you to select the "correct statement" followed by several choices that might look appealing to you, especially if you are not 100% confident in your knowledge of Florida civil procedure. You will, in some cases, have to organize bar outline knowledge in your head to select the correct answer. This is not unlike the skills you must refine to answer some questions on the MBE.
In some instances, the Florida multiple-choice exam will ask you to make a decision on one question that affects your answer on another question, For example, a question might test a Florida/FRE distinction on former testimony. Should you answer incorrectly on one question, the odds are you will get the second question wrong as well. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you master the distinctions between the FRE and Florida rules in Evidence, as well as distinctions unique to Florida civil and criminal procedure.
People often ask me what is the best resource for practicing Florida multiple-choice questions. Other than the Florida Board of Examiner's study guides, I recommend procuring Barbri's Florida Testing Volume I & II. These two books can be found used on Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist. They contain great practice questions for each subject and it is worth your time to do every question for each subject. I have not review the Kaplan or Themis Florida multiple-choice questions but I have had some examinees tell me that they liked the Kaplan questions as well.
Barbri's questions are particularly useful for practicing the difference between per stirpes and per capita distributions in a Wills and Administrations of Estates question. Ultimately, even Barbri's questions cannot properly simulate everything you will see on this part of the Florida bar exam. Some of the actual questions are quite challenging and I have never encountered a commercial bar review that properly simulated their style and level of difficulty. So what can you do to maximize your preparations?
I tell students that the most simple way to prepare is to memorize "numbers and lists." For example, when conceptualizing deadlines in Florida civil procedure, memorize the number of days for timeliness of service or waiver or service. I made flashcards for this purpose and I was not surprised to see some of these numbers tested on the actual exam. Same for lists - memorize things like the permitted endings for Limited Liability Partnerships.
Lastly, mastering the material in your outlines will help you to raise your scores on the multiple-choice segments. I always tell students that the Florida multiple-choice is about damage control. You want to avoid missing those questions that should be "gimmes." PaulLaw's 2016 Florida Bar Exam Review does a good job of distinguishing between Florida and federal law where applicable in critical subjects such as Evidence.
Overall, the material you need to master to do well on the Florida multiple-choice questions is not mysterious. Anyone can obtain a passing knowledge, but in many instances, you will have to manipulate this information and commit to proper application to correctly answer questions. Just as some MBE questions lack straightforward "obvious" answers, the Florida multiple-choice questions demand that examinees use their lawyerly reasoning skills to choose the correct answer. You can be successful on this exam with good outlines and a decent selection of practice questions.
Good luck in your studies!