Multistate Performance Test Instructions: Read before taking the MPT!
If you are taking the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), which is administered in the vast majority of jurisdictions, including Uniform Bar Exam jurisdictions, it is worth it to become acquainted with the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) instructions prior to taking the exam. Below is a screenshot of the MPT instructions from the February 2019 exam. Your instructions will not be identical but should be pretty similar. (You can click on the screenshot to open it in a new tab.)
Here are some important takeaways from the grading instructions posted above.
Carefully follow the timing requirements!
The instructions tell you: “You will be instructed when to begin and when to stop this test.” They also warn you not to “break the seal on this booklet until you are told to begin.” Make sure you do not type or write until you are told to. And make sure to stop when time is announced.
Examinees have failed the bar exam for failing to follow directions! Make sure you abide by these simple and important rules on test day!
Acquaint yourself with what the MPT is.
The instructions state that you will have a File (which contains facts) and a Library (which contains cases, sometimes statutes, and other sources legal authority). If this is surprising to you, please practice some MPTs before test day and acquaint yourself with the basic layout and the expected organization.
Read the Library carefully — even if you are already familiar with the cases.
The cases in the Library may be “real, modified, or written solely for the purpose of this examination.” The Examiners warn: “If the cases appear familiar to you, do not assume that they are precisely the same as you have read before. Read them thoroughly, as if all were new to you.”
Allocate about half of your time to reading the materials and organizing your answer before writing it.
There will not be anyone standing over you policing how you spend your time, but the Examiners recommend spending about half your time reading the materials and organizing your answer. This does not mean you cannot begin typing when you review the material. Many examinees find it helpful to type notes to themselves or begin to type small portions of their answer as they read.
Don’t include your name anywhere!
Sometimes the instructions will ask you to write a letter or memo, which may require a signature. Do not sign your real name! Just sign it “Examinee”!
The MPT is truly a test of whether you can follow directions. It states, “This performance test will be graded on your responsiveness to the instructions regarding the task you are to complete, which are given to you in the first memorandum in the File, and on the content, thoroughness, and organization of your response.”
So, keep your eye on the task memo! Following directions is critical on the bar exam.
Good luck on exam day!
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