The Low Hanging Fruit: The MPT | Expert Bar Exam Study Tips

by Steve Levin,
BARBRI Vice President of International Development and Legal Writing


The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is included in most state bar exams (see the jurisdictions administering the MPT) and carries a good percentage of your overall points. For example, if you’re sitting for the bar in a UBE state, the MPT is worth 20% of the total bar exam score. If you are like most students, you’ll be spending a majority of your time working practice MBE questions and writing practice essays, but you don’t want to lose sight of the MPT. It’s a part of the bar exam that’s more important than you may realize because on each exam, many examinees fall just below a passing score. The MPT is an easy place to pick up valuable points or, conversely, lose points if you’re not prepared.

The MPT is designed as a real-world readiness measurement for bar examiners to assess your fundamental lawyering skills. Rather than testing substantive legal knowledge, the MPT requires you to think critically and resourcefully with the information presented/available and complete a realistic task a beginning lawyer might encounter. For example, you may be asked to create a persuasive brief, legal memorandum, client letter, discovery plan, settlement offer, will, closing argument, etc. Whatever the given assignment, you’ll need to demonstrate your ability to evaluate the facts of the case file, analyze the problem, and perform the task within the 90 minutes allotted for each MPT item.

If you prepare for this portion of the bar exam by putting finger to keyboard or pen to paper and practicing, you can leverage the MPT to put yourself in a stronger position to pass. The best way to familiarize yourself with possible MPT tasks is to work practice MPTs during your bar review. Your BARBRI Personal Study Plan will assign practice MPTs to you and the BARBRI MPT workbook will get you prepped for this, often-overlooked, area of the bar exam.

Remember, every point on the bar exam counts and just a few points can make the difference between passing and not passing. So if you’re taking the exam in any of the states that require the MPT, be sure to keep this low hanging fruit in sight, spend time on it, and pick up those valuable exam points. Be sure to download the BARBRI Bar Exam Digest for information about your state’s MPT and bar exam scoring formula.


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