When Should I Sit For The MPRE?
After the first year of law school, law students have to make many choices. Where should I work or intern? Should I do a journal or compete in moot court? What courses should I take? Another question many students find themselves asking is when should I sit for the MPRE? We discuss this in more detail below.
When Should I Sit For The MPRE?
For those of you reading this who are saying, wait—what is the MPRE?—a bit of background. The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), is a two-hour, 60-question multiple-choice online exam administered three times per year. The test covers the following topics related to professional responsibilities and ethics:
Conflicts of interest
Litigation and other forms of advocacy
Regulation of the legal profession
Different roles of a lawyer,
Communications about legal services
Safekeeping funds and other property
Transactions and communications with other persons
Lawyer’s duties to the public and legal system
Fifty of the questions are graded while ten of the questions are questions that are test questions and do not count towards the final score. The MPRE is required in all jurisdictions except Wisconsin and Puerto Rico. Connecticut and New Jersey waive the MPRE requirements if you successfully complete a professional responsibility course. Passing scores vary by jurisdiction. For more information on passing scores, check out the NCBE’s website.
So back to the original question, when should I sit for the MPRE?
The MPRE is traditionally offered in March, August, and November. Due to COVID-19, the MPRE, like all things, has been subject to several changes. For example, it is now exclusively online and the days the test is administered have changed. Check out this post for more information about the recent changes to the MPRE. However, despite those largely positive changes, challenges remain. For example, the test dates fall during potentially challenging times (both from an academic and professional perspective).
Many students are still interning or working during August around the time the MPRE is administered. The NCBE gives the November test about a week before Thanksgiving, which is right around the time that students start to turn their attention to final exams. The March MPRE lands somewhere near mid-terms and spring break. Given these scheduling challenges, it is really easy to put off taking the MPRE. This, however, is not a good strategy. While the MPRE is not the bar exam, the MPRE is not to be taken lightly.
For students who don’t study, failing the MPRE is a significant possibility. Not only can this lead to a crisis of confidence, which is certainly not helpful before the bar exam, it can also present some bar admission issues as well. Some states require passing the MPRE prior to admission to the bar. Some states require passing the MPRE prior to even registering for the bar while other states limit the number of times you can take the MPRE. Let’s not forget the financial considerations as well. The registration fee is $125, and the late registration fee is $220. In short, the MPRE matters. For more information regarding timeline requirements for each jurisdiction, click here.
Separate from the issues of dates and jurisdictional requirements is the issue, briefly touched upon above, of studying. When thinking about when you should take the MPRE, the date of the test is important, but the time around that date is equally as important. Here are some important questions to consider before registering for the MPRE.
When will you have the most amount of time to study?
How long will you study?
What will your stress levels be like at the time of each of the test dates?
Do you want to take the test with classmates, or do you prefer to take it when they’re not taking it?
Is there a day of the week in which you are more alert?
Will you take a professional responsibility class before taking the exam? (Hint, you should!)
Where will you take the MPRE? At home? In the law school library? At your big law summer associate office?
When do you want to take the exam? (No, really. It matters.)
In short, the answer to when should I take the MPRE? It depends on your personal preferences (and, of course, jurisdictional requirements!). JD Advising offers a free MPRE course which you can access through our website!
[display-posts include_content=”true” id=”24562″]