How To Raise Your Multistate Performance Test Score
Too often, examinees overlook the Multistate Performance Test portion of the bar exam. It is very common for people to assume that their writing skills will transfer from law school to the essay portion to the MPT. However, the MPT is very different from not only the other sections of the bar exam, but from law school as well. It requires a lot of practice! And although the MPT is worth the least if you are taking the Uniform Bar Exam, it is still worth 20%, which cannot be overlooked. And you can still pick up many points on this portion! In fact, if you put in the effort to raise your Multistate Performance Test score, you can make up ground that you might lose in other areas of the exam! In this post we give you four tips on how to raise your Multistate Performance Test score!
How To Raise Your Multistate Performance Test Score
1. Follow the instructions in the task memo.
In order to raise your Multistate Performance Test score, you need to make sure you are creating exactly the kind of document the Examiners are looking for. Those who grade your finished product will be looking to make sure that you can follow directions. This is one reason we advocate that you always read the task memo first! Then you will be able to create the basic structure of your document, making sure it lines up exactly with what is asked. Try to separate the formats you used in law school for tasks like memos and briefs from the format you use on the MPT. If the task memo tells you to omit a statement of facts, then do so! You will not get extra points for adding extra details. Memorize the basic structure of each type of task (which you can find summarized in our MPT attack outlines post!) and don’t include anything more unless the task memo explicitly requests it. This is a very easy way to raise your Multistate Performance Test score!
2. Take the proper steps to improve your timing.
Working on your timing is an excellent way to raise your Multistate Performance Test score. While you’ve written briefs, memos, and other persuasive documents in law school, it is unlikely that you have much experience doing it in a strictly timed setting. For the MPT you will have only 90 minutes to sort through a vast amount of information and then craft a response for grading. To be able to do all of this in such a short period of time requires refining your approach. There are many things you can do to improve your timing. Fro example:
- After you read the task memo and create the bones of your document, we recommend reading the library before the file. This way you know the legal issues that will be relevant to this task and can be on the lookout for facts that will help you make your argument under the law.
- We also advise that you work as you read the material, and spend about half of the time outlining. You want to have a good idea of what your entire argument is going to look like before you begin writing in order to protect against backing yourself into a corner. You also then won’t have to spend as much time flipping back and forth through the file and library as you write. All of the important information will already have been extracted as you read it!
3. Make sure you are writing in the proper tone.
There are many differences between the types of MPT tasks, and you can’t always expect to be able to use the same writing style for all of them. Thus, another great way to raise your Multistate Performance Test score is to make sure you are writing in the proper tone. The Examiners want to see that you understand the correct argumentative approach to take. For example, an objective memo needs to be just that – objective.While an application of the law to the facts will likely lead to one conclusion over another, it is your job to lay out the argument in an objective manner.
In a persuasive brief, however, your goal is to convince the reader that your side of the argument is correct. You might be presented with unfavorable facts, but it is your job to explain why your position is still the proper one. You can utilize much stronger language here as you don’t want to present an objective look at the situation. Your job is to persuade someone.
The other less-common tasks have their own tone as well. Make sure that you are aware of your role in each of these tasks. Are you advocating for a certain position? Trying to convince someone of something? Or trying to figure out what the best solution to a problem is? Be aware of the desired tone and write accordingly!
This tip can’t be emphasized enough. A sure-fire way to raise your Multistate Performance Test score is to practice! Don’t write the MPT off as being something you’ll be able to handle with ease. Being a good writer certainly gives you an advantage. However, you need to practice translating your skills to these types of tasks. Take some time each week to work on improving your MPT abilities. Make sure you have the proper approach so that you can finish the entire task in 90 minutes. Even if you don’t hit that goal at first, that’s ok! You can work up to that! Try to get the hang of outlining as your read. Perfect the style of writing that you will use for any type of task. The more you practice, the more prepared you will be on test day!
LAURA SIGLER, WHO GRADUATED MAGNA CUM LAUDE FROM WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, IS A JD ADVISING LEGAL RESEARCHER AND ESSAY GRADER.
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