How To Save Time On The Multistate Performance Test
The Multistate Performance Test intimidates many bar exam takers. It is completely normal to feel this way! You might have felt comfortable writing briefs and memos during law school where you had plenty of time to research and prepare a final product. The timing aspect of the MPT adds a whole new dimension to this kind of project. During practice, you might find yourself struggling to finish the task on time! This post is for you! In this post, we give you tips on how to save time on the Multistate Performance Test. If you work these tips into your practice, you should see your timing start to improve!
How To Save Time On The Multistate Performance Test
1. Read the task memo and create the structure of your answer first
To save time on the Multistate Performance Test, you want to have a structured answer set up before you even dive into the substance of the material. You should always read the task memo first. This will tell you exactly what the goal of this task is, and you can identify what components you will need to write.
The next step would then be to set up your document so that you can just fill in the rest of the information later. If you wait to organize your answer until you are already writing, then you risk needing to restructure the entire thing if you hit a roadblock. This wastes time! Thus, to save time on the Multistate Performance Test, it helps to have the basic structure of all of the various tasks memorized so you can craft an outline as soon as you read the task memo. Luckily for you, we have outlines for all of the various MPT tasks saved in one handy post!
2. Read the library before the file
Our second tip that will help you save time on the Multistate Performance Test is to read the library before the file. The file, which is usually presented before the library, contains all of the facts about the situation you need to analyze. This generally includes documents like affidavits, interviews, emails, and more. This information is clearly relevant to your problem, but at this early stage, how do you know what facts are relevant to what specific legal inquiry? The library contains documents such as cases and statutes that will help you identify what legal issues need to be discussed to answer the question posed. Once you know what the legal issues are and what facts can be used to support or refute the legal arguments, then you know what to be looking for when you read the file. This makes your reading of the file far more efficient!
3. Pull out and write down key information as you read
On the MPT you have dozens of pages of documents to sort through. That’s a lot to try to remember! Thus, one great way to save time on the Multistate Performance Test is to write down the key information in your outline as you are reading. Here are some specific tips:
- When you read a case, jot down the facts and the key rules that come of it.
- Also draft citations as you read the case (just a case name is fine, rather than a full citation), then you won’t have to come back to it later!
- When you read an interview, identify the facts that will be relevant to evaluating the legal principals you pulled out of the cases earlier. Write the facts down in your outline now, making sure you cite your source. If you extract this information now, you won’t have to waste time later flipping through all those pages, trying to remember where you saw one specific sentence.
Your goal should be to have all of the relevant information organized in your outline before you even go to write. Then the actual writing process will go much smoother!
4. Spend half the time outlining and half the time writing
You’ll have 90 minutes to complete each MPT task. We recommend to our students that they spend about 45 minutes reading/outlining and then 45 minutes writing. You want to have a general idea of how your entire task will come together before you start writing. If you write the whole thing as you go, you might end up spending too much time on the first few issues and then rush through the ending issues. You then risk missing or discarding issues as well, worrying about running out of time. Thus, to save time on the Multistate Performance Test and to put out a better final product, spend a significant portion of time organizing and outlining your entire argument. If you practice this strategy, you’ll find that your approach to the MPT becomes much more efficient and you won’t run the risk of leaving out important issues!
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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