However, most states (including UBE states) have not one but two MPTs, worth 20% of an examinee’s overall score. Thus, while you may not have to spend as much time rigorously preparing for the MPT as you do for, say, the MBE, you should still take it seriously. One way to get better at taking the MPT is to learn the five most common mistakes that students make when approaching the MPT– and how to avoid them.
In this post, we discuss five very common mistakes we see students make and how to avoid these mistakes when you take the MPT.
Top Five Mistakes Students Make on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
Mistake #1: They do not pay attention to their timing. And do not finish the task. You cannot get points for something that is not answered, so obviously this leads to a large decrease in points for students.
How to avoid this mistake: Practice your timing by practicing MPTs ahead of time. Part of what makes the Multistate Performance Test tricky is that there is so much to do in so little time!
Mistake #2: They do not follow directions carefully. (This is super common.) The instructions to the MPT generally say, “[t]his 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.” Paying attention to the task is absolutely necessary to scoring high on the MPT!
How to avoid this mistake: Constantly go back to the task memo frequently to make sure you are following the direction given. Consult it when organizing your answer and when making your points.
Mistake #3: They assume they already know the law being tested. Remember to always consult the library to make sure the NCBE has not changed the law or revised the law. You are not being tested on your knowledge or recall of the law—the library will give you the law you are expected to know!
How to avoid this mistake: Closely read the library when drafting your answer.
Mistake #4: They ignore cases or facts. We see this happen particularly when students write persuasive briefs—they ignore facts or cases that are unfavorable to their arguments.
How to avoid this mistake: Identify and address all relevant facts and cases, even if they are unfavorable. If the NCBE gave you the “perfect case” it would be too easy! Instead, there may be facts or cases that aren’t favorable and you, as an astute almost-lawyer, will be expected to do what any other lawyer does – identify them and distinguish them.
Mistake #5: They do not take note of the authority. Are the cases binding or persuasive? Pay careful attention to which court any cases come from. The instructions to the MPT say: “Problems are set in the fictitious state of Franklin, the in the Fifteenth Circuit of the United States. Columbia and Olympia are also fictitious state in the Fifteenth Circuit. In Franklin, the trial court of general jurisdiction is the District Court, the intermediate appellate court is the Court of Appeal, and the highest court is the Supreme Court.”
How to avoid this mistake: Keep in mind that that legal authority from another state (i.e. Columbia or Olympia) will not be binding, but could be persuasive, especially if there is no case on point in Franklin. Also, remember to note what court the case you are citing is from every time you cite a case. A case from the Supreme Court of Franklin is going to mean a lot more than a case from the District Court in most cases.
Looking for MPT Help?
We offer the following MPT products and services:
- MPT private tutoring for those seeking one-on-one help to pass the MPT.
- An MPT guide which takes students from the beginning to end in how to write an MPT.
- MPT feedback for those seeking structural and organizational review of practice questions.
- Real MPT questions! We offer all NCBE-released questions from 2000 to present compiled in one book.
- An MPT seminar for those seeking help on how to tackle the MPT.
Also, check out our new Free Bar Exam Resource Center, which includes our most popular free guides, posts, webinars, and more!