How To Use MPT Point Sheets To Improve Your MPT Score
The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) can be a daunting task. Many people preparing for the bar exam put the MPT off until the last minute. Then, once they get around to it, quickly find themselves overwhelmed. One of the resources available for students are MPT point sheets. If you are wondering how to use MPT point sheets effectively, you are not alone! We get this question all the time. To know how to use MPT point sheets effectively, we believe that you need to know what they are, what they generally contain and then how to use them. If you want more information on how to pass the MPT see our post here.
How To Use MPT Point Sheets To Improve Your MPT Score
1. What are MPT point sheets?
First, to know how to use MPT point sheets, you should know exactly what they are. MPT point sheets are created by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the organization that writes the MPT.
The point sheet includes all of the possible legal issues that could have been brought up by the examinee given the material provided and the task posed. In other words, it contains all of the information that you could’ve possibly put down in response to the task presented. This is important because if you are trying to figure out how to use MPT point sheets you should know that your MPT response does not have to include every single point contained in the MPT point sheet to be a passing answer.
2. What do the MPT point sheets contain?
Next, it is good to know, generally, what the MPT point sheets contain. The sheets generally start with a basic summary of the facts, the task and what the file and library contain. So, if you are self-grading your MPT after the fact, the beginning section can serve as a brief refresher. (However, it is more efficient to self-grade shortly after you write the MPT—that way you don’t have to waste time to reacquaint yourself with the facts.) The MPT will then usually get into the relevant issues that the examinee was to take up in the task, as well as its corresponding legal authority.
3. How do I use MPT point sheets?
The ideal way to use the MPT point sheets is to consult the applicable MPT point sheet when you self-grade your response. You should make sure that your MPT deals with the same issues that the MPT point sheet articulates. If you completely missed an issue, you should be sure to make note of it so that you can go back and see why you missed it – and what you can be on the lookout for next time.
Then, the MPT point sheets get into each of the relevant issues in the MPT. Again, if you are feeling overwhelmed with how to use MPT point sheets, remind yourself that the point sheet contains all of the possible things that could’ve been said in response to the issues posed. This means your MPT doesn’t have to look identical to the point sheet to get a passing score. So, when using the point sheet to self-grade you should analyze it from a micro and macro level. Take it one issue at a time.
When we say you should learn how to use MPT point sheets from a macro perspective, we mean look at what depth the point sheet deals with each issue.
Is one issue dealt with in great detail with lots of different authority corresponding to it, whereas the second issue is relatively brief because only one authority is relevant? Be sure that your MPT is similar. You should deal with the issues in generally the same depth as the point sheet.
If you are spending paragraphs discussing an issue that the point sheet only spends a few sentences on, this may be a sign you missed the main point(s) tested by the MPT.
When we say you should learn how to use MPT point sheets from a micro perspective, this means you have to get into the details.
This portion of the self-grading will take longer. We recommend taking up one issue at a time. So, if the MPT has two issues, start with the first one. We always recommend that you look at what legal authority is being utilized under that issue. Is one authority the focus? If so, that is what your MPT should look like. Compare the rule that you extracted from the authority to the rules set forth in the point sheet. If you missed a rule be sure that you make note of it so that you can try to avoid a similar error in the future. Do this for each issue—compare the rule that you extracted to the rules in the point sheet.
Next, to really make sure that you know how to use MPT point sheets, you should see if you relied on the same facts as the point sheet.
Some facts are likely more important than others. And again, you don’t need every single fact in your analysis of the issues to be correct. Just be sure that when you compare your MPT to the point sheet, you covered the major facts. One way to make sure that you are including the relevant facts when you draft your MPT is to make note of the facts that the court relied upon in making their decision (assuming your library has case law). Those facts will be relevant to your analysis. These are the facts that are the most important in the point sheet.
Then, be sure that you applied the law to the facts in the same way as the point sheet.
Again, it is not necessary that you hit every point. However, you want to make sure that you reasoned in a similar fashion. Make sure that you do this for each issue.
Finally, make sure you are really getting the most out of MPT point sheets and that you know how to use MPT point sheets.
Ideally, when you self-grade your MPT, you should try to strike a balance between the point sheet (which contains every possible thing you could have said) and a sample answer (a student response to the MPT under timed conditions from that relevant administration). By utilizing both resources together, you are ensuring that you are in good shape and catching major errors. For another post on whether your answers should look like MPT sample answers click here.
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