Four Tips on How To Study For The MPT
We often encounter bar exam takers that feel like they don’t need to study for the MPT. They feel like since they were a strong writer in law school, they will easily be able to succeed on this portion of the bar exam. This is not a risk you should take! The MPT is very unique and is a whole different animal than writing in law school. It requires a lot of practice! Don’t just assume that since the MPT isn’t worth as much as the other portions of the bar exam, you don’t need to prepare for it! In this post, we give you four tips on how to study for the MPT.
Four Tips on How To Study For The MPT
1. Familiarize yourself with the types of tasks.
There are many different types of tasks the Examiners could ask you to complete. When you start to study for the MPT, you want to familiarize yourself with each kind of potential task. It is also a good idea to review sample strong student answers for each kind of task to see how best to approach the problem. Your goal is to get an understanding of what kind of questions might be posed, what tone you should be using, who the intended audience typically is, what kind of format is used, etc. Check out this post for an excellent overview of the different MPT tasks. The more you understand about each type of task, the more confident you will be when you encounter one on the MPT. You won’t have to scramble to figure out how to write your answer. You’ll already know exactly what a strong answer looks like!
2. Memorize the formats.
Memorizing the formats of the tasks while you study for the MPT is a great way to ultimately save time when you’re writing. After you read the task memo, you will know the type of task that is in front of you. Instead of trying to format your answer as you write (and then possibly running into a problem by the end), if you get your document completely formatted ahead of time, you can then easily compose your answer without worrying where anything goes. Timing is one of the biggest obstacles to success on the MPT. Any little bit that you can save by memorizing the formats and organizing your document at the very beginning will be highly beneficial! Check out our free MPT one-sheet and try to memorize the formats ahead of time!
3. Practice by starting slowly and then working on timing.
The main way to study for the MPT is to practice repeatedly. You need to get used to the style of the MPT and figure out how to adequately answer the question in the time provided. However, make sure you do some MPTs first without worrying about timing. Go slowly through the library and file, get used to how the facts and law are presented, and practice pulling out the relevant information. Then you can practice writing your answer. Get comfortable with the MPT, and then work on slowly building up your timing. You need to be able to craft a quality response in 90 minutes. It won’t happen overnight, but that is what practice is for! Don’t just assume that you can walk into the exam and be able to write a satisfactory response in 90 minutes with minimal practice. You need to work for it!
4. Compare your responses to the point sheet.
An often overlooked step when you study for the MPT is the self-grading aspect. Once you’ve completed a practice MPT, you need to compare it with the point sheet (and even sample student answers) to make sure that you covered what you needed to! The point sheets can be overwhelming as they include every single argument you could possibly make. You are not expected to include all of it. But comparing your answer to the point sheet should give you an idea if your arguments were sound or if you missed something vital that you can work on spotting for the next time.
You can also use the sample student answers to see the level of detail the Examiners will expect in a quality answer. Understanding your mistakes and learning from them is a critical part of preparing for all portions of the bar exam. Don’t ignore it when you study for the MPT!
Wondering where to find MPT sample answers? We tell you here.
Laura Sigler, a JD Advising researcher and essay grader, wrote this post.
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