MPT Attack Plan: How to Dissect an MPT (Multistate Performance Test)
In this post we give you an MPT attack plan and tell you how to dissect an MPT. The MPT portion of the exam may be overwhelming to you. You open an MPT exam and see the following:
- the “file” which contains a task memo as well as the facts of the case. The task memo tells you what to do (e.g. write an objective memo, a persuasive brief, or something else). The rest of the file will contain documents that reveal the facts–e.g., deposition transcripts, witness interviews, e-mail exchanges etc.
- the library, which contains cases and/or statutes
Where do you start? You need a good MPT attack plan so you can confidently dissect an MPT and draft a stellar MPT answer. Here is the MPT attack plan that will maximize your chance of getting a stellar score.
MPT Attack Plan: How to Dissect an MPT
1. Identify the task. Never lose sight of the task memo.
The task memo is your road map. So when making your MPT attack plan, remember to never lose site of it. It will tell you where to go and where not to go. For example, a typical task memo will describe the case then say something like this: “Please prepare an objective memorandum analyzing the questions of… (it will generally have a couple questions to answer). Do not draft a separate statement of facts.”
This task memo instantly tells you a few things:
- You should aim to be objective and look at facts from both sides, rather than persuasive. (Note: You should still arrive at conclusions for each issue but your goal is to do so in an objective manner rather than arguing for one party.)
- Based on the instructions, format your MPT utilizing the “objective memo” format (see below) which includes a caption, introduction, and headings.
- You should not discuss the facts in a statement of facts. You are specifically told to omit it. If you write a facts section, you will lose points.
When you begin to dissect an MPT, you will want to remember to constantly come back to this task memo. It will keep you on track!
2. Read the library next.
We recommend, as a general rule that you examine the library next. This way, when you read the facts, you can even start drafting your MPT. When you look at the library you may notice cases and statutes. Here are a few tips:
- If your library is composed of cases, pay attention to what jurisdiction the case is in and what level of court decided the case. For example, if the case takes place in Franklin and you see a court from a different jurisdiction, you should realize it is only persuasive, rather than binding, authority.
- Not everything in the library will be relevant. Just like in real life, a case may contain extraneous information or a specific statute may not need to be analyzed in depth.
- Pay attention to details and footnotes. Footnotes are often important. The best way to score high on an MPT if you have cases is to compare the facts in the cases in the library with the facts given in your case.
3. Review the statement of facts and start drafting your answer using the appropriate format.
Next, read the statement of facts. It is helpful to read the statement of facts after the library because you can start to draft a skeleton of your MPT and include relevant facts. To do this, you need to make sure you are following the proper format.
Each MPT has a specific format that you should follow as a default rule. You can see all MPT attack formats here.
For example, if you have an objective memorandum, the format you will follow will look like this.
- Caption (to/from/date/matter)
- Discussion (with headings to discuss each issue. Headings should be complete sentences with strong conclusions. Follow Rule/Analysis/Conclusion after each heading.)
- Conclusion (summarize discussion)
Here is an example of what the skeleton of an objective memo may look like (in very abbreviated form – as most will be 2+ pages).
Date: February 28, 2018
Re: Assault and Battery claim
This memo identifies whether Mr. James Stewart committed assault or battery when he…
1. James Stewart likely did not commit an assault when he approached Ms. Brady from behind as only two of the four factors outlined in Jones v. Smith are met.
Then you would go on to analyze this issue in depth.
2. According to John v. Doe’s interpretation of battery, James Stewart likely committed a battery when he instructed his son to kick Ms. Brady in the shin…
Then you would go on to analyze this issue in depth. And repeat for remaining issues.
In conclusion, Mr. James Stewart….(continue drafting a summary paragraph).
Bonus Tip: You only have 90 minutes to complete an MPT. So, when you are formulating your MPT attack plan, be sure to stop writing after 90 minutes. We recommend that when you have 10 minutes left, you write your conclusion and wrap up your response to make it look as complete as possible. Remember, you can get a perfect score without addressing every single possible issue!
This three-step MPT attack plan should help you feel more confident approaching and dissecting an MPT. If you want to read more about the MPT, check out all of our MPT blog posts here.
Looking for MPT Help?
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- MPT private tutoring for those seeking one-on-one help to pass the MPT.
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- MPT feedback for those seeking structural and organizational review of practice questions.
- Real MPT questions! We offer all NCBE-released questions from 2000 to present compiled in one book.
- An MPT seminar for those seeking help on how to tackle the MPT.
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