Tips For Answering A Wildcard MPT Task
Given that the July 2018 bar exam contained a “wildcard” MPT task, we have been getting more questions about tips on how to answer a wildcard MPT task. In this post we tell you how.
The MPT (that is, the Multistate Performance Test) is a lawyerly exercise that requires you to complete a task that is outlined in a memo. As you can see by this MPT frequency chart, persuasive briefs and objective memorandums are the most common MPT tasks. Generally, at least one of these will be tested each administration. Recently, opinion letters and demand letters have made a comeback as well. But, sometimes the task will be something that is less common (e.g. a bench memo, a complaint, contract provisions, a leave-behind, an early dispute resolution statement, or a closing argument, etc.). Or, you may be asked to complete a task that has never been tested (like in the July 2018 exam!) .
Tips For Answering A Wildcard MPT Task
Below are five tips to help you develop an approach a wildcard MPT task on exam day!
Take a deep breath!
Do not panic if you are required to complete a task that you have not practiced. Panicking will not help you!
Take a few extra minutes to do some deep breathing exercises to clear your mind and get into the right headspace. Having confidence that you will complete the assignment is critical to your success. If you are unsure and second-guessing yourself, you are likely to make more mistakes. So, take some time to gather your thoughts and collect yourself. Any time spent doing this now can save you invaluable time later!
One way to prevent second-guessing ahead of time is to practice a wildcard MPT task. Practicing answering one or two of the “unusual” tasks so you have at least seen one before. You will be less likely to panic! And more likely to remain confident!
Read the task memo carefully.
As with any MPT, begin with reading the task memo. Do not skim or gloss over any information in the memo. It is perfectly fine if it takes you a few extra minutes to review the task memo. Underline any key terms, basic facts about the client’s case, as well as any guidance on how to format your memo. The more uncommon the task, the more information will be provided about the assignment.
Check the file to see if additional instructions are provided.
When examinees are asked to complete a wildcard task, the task memo will generally be at least a page longer than usual or an additional document in the file will provide formatting and substantive guidelines. Since a wildcard MPT task is out of the ordinary, they will provide you additional material/instructions to help guide your answer.
Don’t ignore this additional information. It can go a long way in helping you boost your score.
Do not forget to follow IRAC!
Sometimes examinees panic because the task is new to them and forget to follow IRAC (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion). They haphazardly draft their responses and draft an unorganized or sloppy answer. Regardless of the task at hand, always remember your basic IRAC principles! You will use them (or some form of them) in virtually every wildcard task. Remember that this is a legal assignment. The goal of any MPT is to be as organized and clear and concise as possible.
So do not abandon IRAC if you see a wildcard task. It is more important to follow it now than ever!
Double check to make sure you followed the instructions.
When encountering a wildcard MPT task, take some time to reread the instructions as you tackle the assignment. With wildcard tasks, it’s easy to lose track of what you are doing. If you feel you are getting off track, reread the task memo and any additional guidelines. Do not wait until the last five to ten minutes to see whether you followed the instructions. At that point, it will be too late to make any significant changes to your answer!
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