Cramming for the MPT: How to Study for the MPT at the Last Minute!
How to Study for the MPT at the last minute! We know it is not ideal to be studying for the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) at the last minute. However, many students find themselves panicking or not feeling sure of how to approach the MPT and they wonder how to study for the MPT at the last minute in a way that will maximize their points on this important section! Here we tell you how to study for the MPT at the last minute.
How to Study for the MPT at the Last Minute:
1. Make sure you are familiar with the types of tasks you could see on the MPT.
The MPT will have a “task memo” (with instructions), a “file” (with facts from the case) and a “library” (with cases, statutes, or both). You will be expected to follow the instructions given to write something (a brief, letter, etc.) using the law and the facts given.
Make sure you are familiar with the different types of tasks you will see on the MPT – this post gives you an overview of the different types of MPT tasks and some tips for each one. It tells you basic formatting advice and what you need to do (and not do!) to succeed. It is a great overview of what will be expected of you and should give you the background you need.
2. Look over the most common MPT tasks — the persuasive brief and objective memorandum.
More likely than not, you will see one or both of these tasks on the MPT. You can find our MPT chart here if you are curious to see how common they are. Thus, while you do not want to “ignore” any task listed in part one above, you want to focus on these two tasks specifically if you want to study for the MPT at the last minute in a most effective way.
The objective memorandum is the most popular MPT task. Usually you are an associate addressing the memorandum to a supervising attorney. The point is to be objective – that is, not to “advocate” for one side, but to point out both strengths and weaknesses of a case.
For an objective memo you will generally have the following structure:
- Caption (to/from/date/matter)
- Discussion (with headings to discuss each issue)
For more detail on how to format an objective memo, see this post. For a breakdown on how to write an objective memo on the MPT, see this post.
Unlike the objective memorandum, this popular MPT task will instruct you to advocate for a client. In other words, be persuasive rather than objective! Generally, you will want to only include a caption, statement of the case or statement of the facts if the instructions tell you. Otherwise, your format will look like this:
- Legal argument (with headings to separate each argument — the headings should state each point you are making clearly and concisely!)
Read this post for more detail on how to format a persuasive brief on the MPT. If you struggle with the persuasive brief, we have tips on how to improve your persuasive brief here.
3. Remember the importance of carefully reading the task memo – and constantly going back to it to make sure you are following instructions!
The easiest way to lose points on the MPT is to read the task memo once before trying to complete the task and never looking back at it. On the contrary, the easiest way to gain points on the MPT is to follow directions carefully! Read the task memo in the beginning so you are aware of what is being asked of you — e.g. Is your goal to predict an outcome? Persuade a judge? Inform your client? Then constantly refer to this task memo as you are writing your answer so you make sure you are on track!
4. Read the library and pay attention to the following:
When you read the library, note that not everything is important. Sometimes you will be given statutes with provisions that are not relevant to your case. No need to address this kind of provision in your answer. However, you will also certainly be given statutes that are “on point” — and sometimes you will be given cases to interpret these statutes as well. If a case interprets a statute, you will want to see if the case you are given will be interpreted in the same way or a different way in light of the facts.
If you are given cases, always look to see how legal rules are applied to specific facts. And weigh on on the similarities and differences between the facts of the cases you are given and the facts in your file. Note where a case comes from – e.g. a higher or lower court, and the date of the decision.
5. When you read the file, pay close attention to the facts.
The file will have the facts from the case. Some facts may contradict one another. Others may be ambiguous or irrelevant. The key is you want to look for facts that are similar or distinguishable from the facts given in any cases. You also want to address how these facts may relate to a statute you are given.
In essence, the key to doing well on the MPT is (a) understanding the task given (and making sure you follow directions!) (b) showing you are able to pick out and address relevant law, and (c) showing a close attention to detail with regard to the fact you are given.
While studying for the MPT at the last minute is not ideal, if you keep these principles in mind you can gain a lot of points in your last-minute MPT studying! If you have any questions on how to study for the MPT at the last minute, feel free to contact us here!
Note: We have a MPT Seminar that we offer before the bar exam as a way to learn a lot about the MPT in a short amount of time. If you are studying for the MPT at the last minute, it is well worth it to consider attending our seminar!
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