Are you looking to increase your multistate performance test (MPT) score? Whether you are studying at the last minute or well ahead of the bar exam, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to increase your MPT score. In this post, we cover 5 MPT tricks (as well as two bonus MPT tricks!) to help you score higher on the MPT.
5 MPT Tricks to Score Higher on the MPT
1. Memorize the MPT formats.
An easy way to score points is to format your MPT correctly. If you do not format your MPT correctly, it will be immediately apparent to the grader that you do not know what you’re doing! To the contrary, if you format your MPT correctly, the grader’s first impression will be that you do know what you’re doing. In our MPT Seminar, we go over MPT formats (and give you MPT one-sheets). However, if you are looking for a free resource, check out this post where we to over an “attack format” for each type of MPT.
It does not take long to learn the MPT formats, but it can go a long way in making your answer look polished!
2. Read the MPT in this order: Task memo, Library, File.
Most MPTs are given to you in the order of: task memo, file, library. (The task memo is included at the beginning of the file.) When you begin reading your MPT, read the task memo first so you know exactly what to do. Then read the library, which will give you an overview of the relevant law. Lastly, read the file. The reason to approach it this way is that you can start organizing your answer and taking notes as you read the file. It is a time-saver because you can start writing even earlier! (Read this post if you want to learn more about why we recommend this order.)
Note: If you have plenty of time to study for the MPT, try it the other way too – e.g., reading the task memo then library then the file. Some examinees find this to be more beneficial to them (though most prefer the approach we note above). You will not know what works best for you unless you try it both ways.
3. Pay attention to details like which court is making the decision.
On the July 2017 In re Zimmer Farm MPT, the third case given in the library was Koster v. Presley’s Fruit. This case was decided by the Columbia court of appeals. The applicable law in that case came from the Franklin jurisdiction – not Columbia. Thus, examinees were supposed to recognize that Koster was persuasive, but not binding authority. By explicitly recognizing this astute – and important – point, you are showing the grader your ability to pay attention to detail and pick out the truly relevant law.
Be on the lookout for this because oftentimes (but not always) libraries will include authority that is merely persuasive.
4. Pay attention to footnotes.
Sometimes a case will have a footnote. While you may be used to ignoring any footnotes you see in real life, on the MPT, they are often relevant, or at least worth saying a sentence about in your answer. So if you want to look like you pay close attention to detail, remember this MPT trick when you dive into the library! And mention the footnote, even if only briefly, in your MPT response.
5. Not all law and not all facts are relevant.
Just like in real life when you are given a file and when you are looking up the applicable statutes or cases, not everything is relevant. Sometimes specific facts (that your client may really focus on) truly do not matter. Other times, only certain provisions in a statute are truly relevant to your case.
On the MPT, a lot of what you will read will be relevant. However, not everything will be. Recognize that you do not have to address every word of the file and library. Instead, you have to focus on the facts and laws that make the biggest difference in the outcome of the case.
Two other bonus MPT tricks that are so obvious students often forget them:
These last two bonus “MPT tricks” are not even really tricks or shortcuts. But they are so obvious that students often forget them when they are looking for shortcuts! They are also extremely important:
- First, remember to constantly refer to the task memo. The MPT is really an exercise in “who can follow directions.” Whoever follows directions the best gets the most points. So many students write beautiful answers that do not address the questions that are asked of them. It does not matter how glorious your answer is if you are missing the main point! So please make sure you constantly refer to the task memo to make sure you are not wasting your valuable time.
- Second, practice! So many students do not want to hear this because practice takes time. And learning some shortcuts doesn’t! Well, we recommend you dedicate some serious time to practicing MPTs. Practice a few MPTs a week. If you dread the thought of this read this post on 5 reasons to take the MPT seriously, and we think you will change your mind (as well as your study schedule!). Practice is truly the best way to improve your MPT score.
Looking for MPT Help?
We offer the following MPT products and services:
- MPT private tutoring for those seeking one-on-one help to pass the MPT.
- An MPT guide which takes students from the beginning to end in how to write an MPT.
- MPT feedback for those seeking structural and organizational review of practice questions.
- Real MPT questions! We offer all NCBE-released questions from 2000 to present compiled in one book.
- An MPT seminar for those seeking help on how to tackle the MPT.
Also, check out our new Free Bar Exam Resource Center, which includes our most popular free guides, posts, webinars, and more!