How To Approach The MPT
Are you taking the bar exam in a state which requires you to complete an MPT? If so, take a few moments to read through our tips on how to approach the MPT. Scoring high on the MPT section can provide you a buffer if you feel like the MBE or essay portion are not your strengths.
How To Approach The MPT
1. Read through a few MPTs if you are unfamiliar with them.
If you have never completed an MPT it is a good idea to first read through a one or two MPTs and the corresponding high-scoring student answers to better understand this section of the exam. Read the file and library slowly – not under timed conditions. Begin by reading the task memo, then read the library, and then read the file. Afterward, slowly go through the student answers to see how to format your answer, how to write your rule paragraphs, how to craft headings, and which facts the students used in their answer. Although this step takes time, it is an efficient way to approach the MPT because you will have an idea of what the Examiners are looking for in passing answers. To find past MPTs and student answers, visit the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions website, which contains past MPTs and student answers beginning with July 2011.
2. Know the most frequently tested tasks.
All tasks are not tested equally on the bar exam! You can see our MPT chart here, to see when each task has been tested.
As you approach the MPT, begin by familiarizing yourself with objective memos and persuasive briefs. Students have been asked to complete these tasks approximately 70% of the time during the last ten years. Then take some time to review demand letters and opinion letters, as these tasks have been tested during the past five years. If you looking for examples of which MPTs to complete, see our sample MPT study schedule. Remember that the graders do take your organization into account when scoring your MPT. So, make your answer as coherent as possible.
3. Figure out how to tackle case-based libraries versus statute-based libraries.
When you read the library, you will see that some libraries only contain cases, some only consist of statutes, while others are a mix of the two. Generally, students feel confident approaching one of these types of libraries. However, when you approach the MPT, you want to feel confident with all of them. With cases, always keep in mind whether the case is binding or persuasive, and note this in your answer.
In addition, make sure to extract not only the general rule statements but also any nuances to the rule that the court expands upon. With respect to statutes, it is a good idea to first skim them, and then go on to read any accompanying cases carefully. Otherwise, students often make the mistake of getting bogged down in the minutiae of the statute. Cases will always cite certain code sections or explain how to approach a particular statute. Pay attention to these citations. Then, go back to the statute and read the statute in more detail, focusing particularly on the sections that the cases highlighted.
4. Become familiar with writing short case statements.
To write a strong answer, you need to become comfortable with writing case statements, rather than case briefs. What is the difference? Case statements are generally between three and six sentences long that explain the holding of the case and the facts that were essential to the court’s reasoning. Therefore, you do not want to waste time regurgitating irrelevant facts from a case. This is different from the case briefs you wrote in law school which asked you to state the procedural history, the parties’ names, each party’s arguments, etc. Under the time restraints, it is better to write case statements – it will save you a lot of time!
5. Practice timed MPTs.
As with all the other sections of the bar exam, you need to make sure that you do not struggle with timing. The best way to figure this out is by completing a timed MPT for each type of task under timed conditions and then self-grade your answer to see how you did. Grade yourself on a 0-6 raw scale, where a score of four, five, or six is passing. If you are unsure of how to self-grade your answer, please take a look at our post about scoring your answer.
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