What is the MPRE?

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (or MPRE), is one of the requirements for bar admission in every U.S. state and jurisdiction except Wisconsin and Puerto Rico.* That means you need to achieve a passing MPRE score within a specified time either before or after passing your state’s bar exam.

The MPRE is all about legal ethics and professional conduct. It is complex and tricky by design, as its purpose is to test your ability to think like a practicing attorney or sitting judge when ethical situations aren’t so clear cut.

The MPRE is a 60-question, multiple-choice exam developed by the NCBE (National Conference of Bar Examiners). The 2-hour exam is administered online by the NCBE’s test contractor, Pearson VUE.

*Note: Connecticut and New Jersey will accept the successful completion of a professional responsibility law school course in lieu of a passing MPRE score.

A male 2L law student researches the MPRE exam

MPRE exam dates, registration deadlines & fees

The MPRE is administered three times each year in March, August and November. Click here to find up-to-date MPRE registration steps, deadlines, exam dates and fees.

There are several steps in the MPRE registration process, and it pays to complete them as soon as possible. The earlier you finish the MPRE registration process, the more Pearson VUE testing center location options you’ll have. Also, watch out for deadlines. The NCBE has emphasized that “absolutely no new registrations will be accepted after the deadline.”

You’ll also get an NCBE Number during your MPRE registration if you don’t already have one. You’ll need that same number when you apply to take the bar exam.

MPRE passing scores

Each U.S. state and jurisdiction determines its own MPRE passing score and these are subject to change.

For specific MPRE passing scores and other bar exam details and dates for each U.S. state, download the free BARBRI Bar Exam Digest.

MPRE scores are scaled, ranging from 50 to 150. This means that your “raw score” (the number you got correct out of 60) will be adjusted based on everyone else taking your same exam.

Scaling is a statistical process that adjusts raw scores on a current exam to account for differences in difficulty compared to past exams. In other words, according to the NCBE, it’s really not possible to determine in advance the exact number of questions you need to answer correctly for a passing scaled score on the MPRE.

You’ll typically receive your MPRE score within about five weeks of your exam date. Scores only remain available in your online account until the next MPRE exam, so you’ll need to retrieve and save your scores as soon as possible.

When you register for the MPRE, you can designate a jurisdiction and the NCBE will automatically report your MPRE score to that jurisdiction after the exam. That will save you a little time and money. If you don’t know your jurisdiction or want to change it later, you can also pay a small fee to report later.

Four law students learn about the MPRE while doing research in the law library

When should you take the MPRE?

Many U.S. law students find it helpful to take both the Professional Responsibility (PR) class at their law school and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) during their 2L year.

If that’s not possible, we recommend taking the MPRE the summer between your 2L and 3L year or as early as possible in your 3L year. This also allows time to retake the MPRE if you don’t attain the MPRE score you need to pass.

A male law student takes notes about the MPRE

What is tested on the MPRE?

The MPRE covers the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, and controlling constitutional decisions and generally accepted principles established in leading federal and state cases and in procedural and evidentiary rules.

According to the NCBE MPRE Subject Matter Outline, the average percentages of topics that may appear on the MPRE exam include:

  • Conflicts of interest (12-18%)
  • Client-lawyer relationship (10-16%)
  • Litigation and other forms of advocacy (10-16%)
  • Client confidentiality (6-12%)
  • Competence, legal malpractice and other civil liability (6-12%)
  • Regulation of the legal profession (6-12%)
  • Communications about legal services (4-8%)
  • Different roles of the lawyer (4-10%)
  • Judicial conduct (2-8%)
  • Transactions and communications with persons other than clients (2-8%)
  • Safekeeping funds and other property (2-8%)
  • Lawyers’ duties to the public and the legal system (2-4%)

When you’re ready to start studying, the comprehensive online BARBRI MPRE Review remains extremely popular for its detail, current and timely materials, and overall organization that models the nation’s #1 BARBRI Bar Review course.

A female law student stands confidently at her law school campus with textbooks in her hands

What should or shouldn’t I take to my MPRE exam?

There are several MPRE test day policies for which you should be aware before your exam day.

Arrive at your Pearson VUE testing center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time with your approved primary and secondary IDs.

You’ll be assigned a computer, given a small whiteboard or scrap paper to write notes on and earplugs or noise-canceling headphones; however, some test takers feel more comfortable taking their own earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to ensure they fit.

Most locations will provide a small locker for personal items, but be sure to confirm this with your specific testing center.

Here are some specific items that are prohibited, but be sure to check the MPRE test day policies for a detailed list:

  • Purses, wallets, watches and electronics
    You can bring these with you to the test center, but you’ll have to turn them off if applicable and store them during the actual test.
  • Water bottles and food
    Test centers have water coolers, but you’ll have to exit the test room to access them.
  • Jackets, scarves and hats
    Dress in layers because jackets have to be removed and stored during the test.
  • Study materials
    You are prohibited from bringing study materials into the testing room, so leave them at home.
  • Scrap paper
    The test center will provide you with this.

Next steps

BARBRI MPRE Review

Take the free BARBRI MPRE Review course now. 

Bar Exam Digest

Download the free BARBRI Bar Exam Digest.

About the bar exam

Learn everything you need to know about the bar exam. 

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