Master The MPT With Our 5 Invaluable Tips!
Are you wondering how to master the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)? Are you looking to perform well on the MPT to give yourself some wiggle room for the MBE or the essay portion of the exam? If so, read our tips below to increase your chances of receiving a high score and master the MPT.
Master The MPT With Our 5 Invaluable Tips!
1. Read the task memo – and reread it if you have to!
While it may seem obvious, we can’t tell you the number of people that read the task memo too quickly or forget what the task memo says. Remember that the task memo is the document that tells you the task(s) you must complete and which overarching issues to address. Making sure you address all of the issues in the task memo will ensure that you get as many points as possible! Graders love to see responses that follow directions!
It is always a good idea to jot down or type out a few notes after you read the memo:
- Who is your client?
- What are your client’s issues?
- Do you have complete one task or two tasks (and which ones!)?
- How should you organize your tasks? (Sometimes the memo will lay out your formatting for you.)
- Are you supposed to write in an objective or persuasive tone?
2. Perfect your timing for each commonly tested task.
Another essential element to master the MPT is timing! Too often students spend time only doing untimed practice MPTs. This is a big mistake. Each MPT should take you no longer than 90 minutes to complete. If you are in a state that assigns two MPTs, it is critical that you move on to the second MPT after 90 minutes. Students commonly think that if timing is an issue, they should devote as much time as possible to one of the MPTs, leaving less than 90 minutes for the second MPT. Rarely does this strategy pay off. Instead, try reading for 45 minutes (and outlining) and writing for 45 minutes. If this does not work for you, try reading for 30 minutes (and outlining, typing out the relevant rule statements), and then type for the remaining 60 minutes. There is no one approach that works for everyone.
It is also important to make sure that you feel comfortable with each type of MPT you might encounter. Students often feel more at ease with one type of MPT (e.g., persuasive briefs or objective memos). To maximize your chances of obtaining a high score, you need to have some exposure to each kind of frequently tested MPT (persuasive briefs, objective memos, demand letters, opinion letters). See our study schedule for guidance on which MPTs to tackle. Make sure to self-grade your answer by reviewing high-scoring student answers. If you have any questions regarding formatting for these tasks, see our posts on persuasive briefs, objective memos, demand letters, and opinion letters.
3. Read, outline, and review at least two uncommon tasks.
To master the MPT, you need to be prepared for uncommon tasks. The bar exam will always contain some surprises – but you can do your best to prepare for a surprise on the MPT. Every now and then the Examiners assign a task that students are less familiar with (e.g., bench memo, “leave behind,” contract clauses, an early dispute resolution document, etc.). The best approach is to read through a few of these tasks so that you don’t panic on exam day. In each of these uncommon task files, you will find a formatting document directly after the task memo. Read this very closely! It will tell you exactly how to organize your answer. Some recommendations of MPTs to review include: Franklin Resale Royalties Legislation (February 2012) and Palindrome Recording Contract (July 2013).
4. Understand how to extract the necessary facts from the library.
If you are trying to master the MPT, it is vital that you can figure out which facts are important in a case and which ones are irrelevant. Students often waste time regurgitating facts that have nothing to do with the facts at hand. Instead, focus on those facts that the court highlights in its analysis (often, but not always, found toward the end of the case). If the court gives you a three-factor test, you will find some analysis after each factor – include this in your answer! The better you become at extracting facts from the cases, the easier it is to spot which facts from the file you need to discuss in your answer. If you struggle with this, look at a MPT, read the case, and practice writing short case statements (3-6 sentences, focused on the holding and the facts that pertinent to the court’s reasoning).
5. Practice with different types of libraries – cases and statutes.
We find that examinees are generally stronger with one type of library — case-based, statute-based, or a hybrid of the two. It is less common to find someone who is comfortable with all three! Your approach will vary slightly depending on the type of library.
If you have library that is solely composed of cases, read each case, but note whether it is binding or persuasive. Has a portion of the case been overturned? Does the jurisdiction no longer adopt a certain approach to particular issue? Is the jurisdiction deciding between multiple approaches to a particular issue? Keep these issues in mind as you read the task memo and the corresponding cases. Then, make sure to address these nuances in your answer.
If you have a library that is comprised only of statutes, take a step back and skim the file. Usually you will find some document in the file (usually a memo) that provides a summary of the statute and highlights some of the important sections of the statute. In this case, it is better to read the entire file and familiarize yourself with the facts before you try to parse through the statute. Rarely will you need to discuss each subsection of the statute, so do not waste your time typing it all out. To get some practice, take a look at the February 2015 MPT, In re Community General Hospital.
If you have a hybrid library, one that is composed of statutes, cases, and perhaps some other secondary materials, first read the secondary materials and the cases. These will pinpoint which sections of the statute are at issue in the MPT. Pay close attention to citations within a case – they are there to help you! Again, this will help you save time as you read through a lengthy statute.
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