Five Tips To Improve Your MPT Score
Five Tips To Improve Your MPT Score: Are you trying to figure out how to improve your Multistate Performance Test (MPT) score? While it may seem like a daunting task, know that it isn’t impossible! In fact, we have seen students make significant gains in their MPT scores by adopting one or more of the tips below.
Five Tips To Improve Your MPT Score
1. Read the task memo and answer every question set forth in the memo.
The most important tip to improve your MPT score is to read the task memo. In fact, the first thing you do when you open the MPT booklet is read the task memo. This may seem like obvious advice, but we can’t tell you how often students miss out on easy points by failing to follow directions. Never assume that you know what the task memo says. Each one is different. Some task memos will give you one task, while others may ask you to complete two different tasks. Underline or highlight key facts and the issues that you are supposed to answer.
Do not include any issues that are not raised by the task memo, cases or statutes. You will not accrue points for discussing legal issues that are not relevant to answering the questions posed by the task memo. As you dive into the assignment, do not hesitate to go back to the task memo to keep you on track. I usually refer to the task memo after I read through the library, but before I read the file.
2. Know how to format the most highly tested tasks.
The most commonly tested tasks are objective memoranda and persuasive briefs. Graders will take your formatting into account when grading your answer. While the formatting may change slightly according to the instructions in the task memo and any accompany formatting memos, the general structure of memos and briefs remain the same. Knowing how to organize your answer will save you valuable time on the exam.
If you are unsure of how to format a persuasive brief, please see our post on tips for persuasive briefs. Similarly, if you are struggling with memos, take a moment to read our post on advice for objective memos. Do not make the mistake of trying to recreate the assignments you wrote for your legal research and writing class or legal externships. You only have 90 minutes to complete these assignments!
3. Always write your answer in IRAC format.
The next tip to improve your MPT score concerns the general organization of your answer. Regardless of the task, it is important to discuss each issue in its own paragraph and follow IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion). The issue should be clear from your headings. Next, set forth the law that you extracted from the library. Start with the most general rules and then discuss the more specific ones. Then, move on to your analysis. This is where it is critical to distinguish the facts in the file from those in the cases. See whether the facts of your client’s case are similar or different from those in the cases. The easiest way to do this is by focusing on the facts that a court highlights in its reasoning and seeing whether the facts you’ve been given mirror the case (or not).
4. Do timed MPTs for each type of task!
In a UBE jurisdiction you have to complete 2 MPTs in 3 hours (90 minutes per question). Many students make the mistake of only doing untimed MPTs doing bar prep – this is not a good a strategy.
The tasks that you could encounter include:
- Objective Memo
- Persuasive Brief
- Demand Letter
- Opinion Letter
- Uncommon Task
Further, just because you feel comfortable with one task (e.g., objective memos) does not necessarily mean that you do not have any timing issues on other tasks (e.g., persuasive briefs). And keep in mind that the benefit gained by answering one MPT more completely does not outweigh the points you will lose on the second question. If you are looking for ideas on which MPTs to practice, take a look at our sample MPT study schedule.
5. Self-grade your MPTs by looking at high-scoring student answers.
The last tip to improve your MPT score is to self-grade your practice MPTs using high-scoring student answers. Self-grading will help you get a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses. It takes time, but is essential to the learning process. Do not simply write the MPT and read the NCBE’s MPT Point Sheet. You want to get an idea of what can realistically be written within the allotted time. If you visit the “Essay and MPT Questions and Selected Answers” section of the Georgia Bar Admissions website you can find past MPT questions listed by year beginning with the July 2011 exam. Also, take a moment to look at our post on how to self-grade your MPT.
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