How I Passed The MPRE The First Time
How I Passed The MPRE The First Time: Most law students view the MPRE as a road bump along the way to the bar exam. To many, It is something to get out of the way. I felt the same way when I (Caitlin) took the MPRE. and wanted to get it over and done with. I knew I wanted to get it right the first time. So that meant taking it seriously and doing it right. In this post, I go over how to pass the MPRE the first time!
How I Passed The MPRE The First Time
I knew plenty of students who just winged the MPRE, hoping that what they learned in Professional Responsibility would be enough to carry them through. Some managed to pass fine but the majority of them did not get their desired scores. By not studying they practically guaranteed that they would have to retake the MPRE. I knew I had to put time and money into the MPRE the first time around so I would not have to waste more time and money taking it a second time.
I took the MPRE in March of my 3L year. If I did not get the score I needed that I could take it again in the summer. But taking the MPRE would be the last thing I would want to do while studying for the bar exam. I also did not want to have to pay for and take the time to sit for the MPRE again. I knew I had to pass the MPRE the first time.
I knew what I learned in my Professional Responsibility course would not be enough. So, I decided to take the time to study for the MPRE. I started by reading the book Strategies and Tactics for the MPRE. It told me how the MPRE was structured and gave tips on how to answer the questions. The book is small and easy to carry around during law school when you are already carrying too many heavy books. It was a quick read and I found the techniques suggested in it to be useful on the exam.
I used the 5th edition but there is a 6th edition out for an additional $20. If you do not feel like spending $50 on a tiny quick read book the 5th edition should be fine. I gave my copy of the book to a friend who took the MPRE this past fall and he still passed with flying colors.
I chose flashcards for my study materials. Since I had reached my 3L year of law school I wanted to keep my studying as simple as possible. I was fond of of using flashcards to study. I found them quick and easy to use. As I said before, when you are already carrying around twenty pounds of casebooks it is nice to just be able to grab a bunch of cards to review in the downtime between classes.
I bought Law in a Flash: Professional Responsibility to help me study for the MPRE. It was two full boxes of cards covering all sorts of topics. I enjoyed using these cards because I could read through them quickly and feel like I was making significant progress. But I made sure to comprehend each card fully before I put it down. Looking back, it probably took me about an hour to get through about 100 flashcards.
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Time To Study
Studying for the MPRE is a hassle because you have to find time while you are busy with classes and other law school activities. I started reading the book a month before the MPRE. The book helped get me into the right mindset.
I really kicked the studying into gear a little more than two weeks before the exam. I started with about an hour a day of reviewing cards but that could not always happen since I was a full-time student at the same time. Some days I could only review a few cards in between classes. On other days I would sit on my couch at night and get through piles of cards in one sitting. As long as I was reviewing, although sporadically, I knew I was preparing myself.
Unlike the bar exam, I studied the day before the MPRE. Not a lot, but just enough to get me in the right mindset. I reviewed the topics I was unsure about and felt ready for the MPRE the next day.
Taking The Test
Like any big exam it’s important to get a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast before the exam. The night before I reviewed a few key flashcards and went to bed early. The next morning I ate, double checked my materials and where I would park, and headed to the test facility.
My testing facility was in the basement of an academic building of a small liberal arts college by my parents’ house. There were just a handful of test takers from surrounding law schools. Looking back, the process to take it was relatively laid back as compared the the bar exam. We checked in with our ticket and ID, had our clear plastic bag with our materials checked, and went to our assigned room.
After the initial administrative directions and checks we began the exam on time. When I called my boyfriend after the MPRE I described it as “a weird test.” For instance, many of the questions seemed to have two very obvious wrong answers and two that seemed to be right that only varied slightly from each other.
For me, the MPRE went by very quickly. I paced myself through the questions and was sure to answer every one. I circled the numbers in the test booklet of the questions I was unsure about to come back to later.
Luckily, I answered all the questions within an hour and a half. I had plenty of time to go back and check my questions that I had marked. Even after I checked those questions I still had time. Some test takers left early but I felt like the MPRE was not an exam I should leave early from so I thoroughly checked my answers with my extra time.
I did not leave feeling particularly confident that I knew everything but I told friends and family that “I would be shocked if I failed.” When I got my score I was well above the score I needed for Washington, DC and I knew I had studying to thank for that.
If you want to get the MPRE over and done with your best bet is to study for it like any other exam. Do not try to coast by with what you knew from your Professional Responsibility course. Put time and money into it so you can pass the MPRE the first time around!
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