Is the MPRE Harder Than the Bar Exam? - JD Advising
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MPRE Harder Than the bar

Is the MPRE Harder Than the Bar Exam?

Drawing a comparison between the multistate professional responsibility exam and the Bar Exam is only logical. They are two of the most important tests that you will take in your professional career! Although both tests pose their own challenges, students often wonder how difficult the MPRE is compared to the Bar Exam. While the answer is different for everyone, the general consensus is that the MPRE is an easier exam. While test-takers believe the MPRE is easier for a number of reasons, many students still find it tricky and difficult.

Is the MPRE Harder Than the Bar Exam?

The Pass Rates Speak for Themselves 

The first reason that the MPRE is easier than the Bar Exam lies in each exam’s statistical pass rates. While the pass rate for the Bar Exam varies between each state, the MPRE enjoys a high pass rate nationally. For example, in 2019 California saw an average pass rate on the Bar Exam of 41.5%. New York experienced an average 2019 Bar Exam pass rate of 55%, while Texas had a roughly 61% pass rate. The MPRE had pass rates of 77.8% for March and August 2019, and a November 2019 pass rate of 81.5%.

Like the famous phrase goes, “numbers never lie.” It is clear from the data above that test-takers prefer the MPRE over the Bar Exam. Part of the reasoning as to why many test-takers prefer the MPRE has to do with the exam’s structure.

MPRE Structure vs. Bar Exam Structure

The structure of the MPRE is vastly different from the structure of the Bar Exam. First, the MPRE is only a single day test. In comparison, the Bar Exam is a two-day exam.

Second, the MPRE is administered over a two-hour period of time. The Bar Exam is generally broken up into a three-hour morning session and a three-hour afternoon session. That means the Bar Exam is a two-day test with the exam administered over six-hours each day.

Third, the MPRE is comprised of only 100 multiple-choice questions. Contrarily, the Bar Exam is a mix of 200 multiple choice questions, essay questions, and a performance test. Lastly, the MPRE is offered more times throughout the year when compared to the Bar Exam. The MPRE is offered in March, August, and November. The Bar Exam is offered only in February and July.

All in all, the MPRE is a shorter all multiple-choice exam administered more times during the year! Despite being all multiple-choice questions, the MPRE also only tests examinees on one general subject.

MPRE Content vs. Bar Exam Content

As with the structure of the MPRE and the Bar Exam, the content on both exams couldn’t be more different. The MPRE does not focus on any of the subjects learned in law school except legal ethics and responsibility. The Bar Exam on the other hand has a multitude of subject areas that test-takers are expected to know. The MPRE only tests your knowledge and understanding in connection with the professional conduct of lawyers. The Bar Exam tests real property, torts, civil procedure, criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law, evidence, and contracts! If you’re one of the lucky students taking the Bar Exam in California, be prepared to encounter community property.

Clearly, the Bar Exam includes a huge amount of information that examinees could be tested on. The MPRE is a different beast all in and of itself since it only tests legal ethics and responsibility. Many students prefer the MPRE simply because it is a more straightforward exam that includes a lot less content.

While that might be true, the MPRE is not an easy test despite what you may have heard. Many test-takers report that the Bar Exam is hard, while those same test-takers state that the MPRE is tricky. The MPRE has a reputation for heavily testing the nuances of legal ethics and responsibility. This often results in test-takers facing a situation where they’ve narrowed a question down to two potentially correct answers!

The only surefire way that you can decide what exam is harder for you personally is to take both. Luckily, we have a number of awesome resources that can help you successfully navigate each exam and come out victorious.

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