MPT Bar Exam Preparation Do’s and Don’t’s!
MPT Bar exam preparation: What to Do and What Not to Do!
MPT Bar Exam Preparation: The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is the most overlooked area of bar exam preparation. Some students are told that they don’t need to study at all for this section (not true!). Others are unsure of how to begin their review, while others begin their review too close to exam day. Below are some tips on what to do and what not do as you begin studying for the MPT.
MPT Bar Exam Preparation: What to Do and What Not To Do!
MPT Bar Exam Preparation: What to do!
1. Read the task memo first.
Begin by reading the task memo. The task memo will tell you your assignment (e.g., persuasive brief, objective memorandum, client letter, demand letter, etc.). Sometimes the task memo will also help you organize your answer by specifically telling you which issues to discuss. If you forget what your objective while taking notes on the cases and/or statutes in the library, reread the task memo and reorient yourself. Make sure to answer all of the questions in the task memo.
2. Carefully craft your headings.
Always include headings in your answer! It is best to write your headings in complete sentences, making sure to apply the law to the facts. Underline or bold your headings to make them more visible. If you find that that a legal issue contains several elements, create subheadings for each of the elements. As you read the file, insert the relevant facts under the respective headings.
3. Distinguish the facts in the file from those in the cases.
The most important facts on any MPT are the facts in the file! However, a high-scoring passing answer will always distinguish the facts of the client’s case from the cases in the library. Don’t ignore unfavorable law or exaggerate favorable law, regardless of whether you have to write your answer using a persuasive tone. If you are in a jurisdiction that assigns 90-minute long MPTs (as Uniform Bar Exam jurisdictions do) try to utilize every case in the library but keep in mind that some cases may be more relevant than others.
4. Familiarize yourself with different tasks.
Do you dread a particular MPT task? If so, take some time to read and write MPTs that require you to complete different kinds of tasks. Objective memoranda and a persuasive briefs are the most highly tested tasks, so you need to have a general idea what they look like. Also, take some time to review opinion letters and demand letters. They were tested several times in the last five years. Don’t forget to look over a less common tasks too (e.g. drafting provisions of a contract). The MPT is worth 20% of your score in a Uniform Bar Exam jurisdiction–that is the equivalent of 70 MBE questions! So you don’t want to leave anything out of your studying!
To see high-scoring student answers for these tasks, visit the “Essay and MPT Questions and Selected Answers” section of the Georgia Bar Admissions website you can find past MPT questions listed by year beginning with the July 2011 exam.
MPT Bar Exam Preparation: What NOT to do!
1. Do not use any outside law.
The library contains the only law that you need to include in your answer. The MPT is a closed universe. You are not tested on any law that you have memorized. Similarly, don’t include any law you may have learned in a legal clinic or during an externship. Even if you recognize a case or a statute, read the library carefully to make sure that the NCBE has not changed or revised the law.
2. Do not write case briefs (like you did in law school)!
When reviewing the cases in the library, do not spend the majority of your time writing a case brief like you did during your first year of law school. Prioritize your time by first extracting the relevant rule of law. Then summarize the key facts of the case in a few sentences. If you are having trouble identifying the relevant facts, see which facts the Court highlighted in its discussion.
3. Do not ignore whether authority is binding or persuasive.
Pay attention to which court decided the case. Make it a habit to skim the table of contents before you begin the MPT – you can quickly see whether the same state decided all the cases. Sometimes you will get a case of first instance, which will require you to evaluate different states’ approaches to the same legal issue. Even though this authority is not binding, it could be persuasive. Also, pay attention to whether a later case overturned any law.
4. Do not ignore footnotes.
When reading cases pay attention to footnotes. Footnotes will elaborate on the holding of a case or provide an example of how the law was applied in another case. This will help you to draft your legal argument.
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