The Lowdown on the MPRE

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

We all know that to practice as an attorney we must take the dreaded bar examination. Many of us also know that part of registering for the bar exam is the Character and Fitness Test. Law students are divided on whether they’re aware of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) Requirement … so what is the MPRE?

Exam Structure and Overview

First off, it’s really nothing to stress about! The MPRE is a short two-hour, 60 questions multiple choice exam that is offered multiple times a year (generally, once in November, March, and August). Registration is done online and takes a matter of minutes.

Most importantly, the completion of your school’s professional responsibility course is not a requirement for registration.

When to Take the Exam Quiz

  • What year are you in law school currently?
    1. 1L
    2. 2L
    3. 3L
  • How full is your course and/or social schedule this semester?
    1. Extremely packed. I’m almost at the max credit allowance.
    2. It’s law school; I’m busy, but I still have some free time.
    3. Totally laid back.
  • Is there an MPRE examination center near your law school?
    1. They’re all pretty far away and I don’t have a car.
    2. There’s one pretty close!
    3. My school is a test center.
  • What is your summer job like?
    1. I’ll be working abroad.
    2. I’ll be in a US city for the average 10-weeks.
    3. I’m not working at all.
  • Have you taken professional responsibility yet?
    1. Uh no …
    2. I’m registered in it now.
    3. Obviously.

Mostly A’s: Sorry 1L’s, you must be a 2L or 3L to register for the MPRE! Otherwise, for eligible participants, it is not recommended that you take the Fall and/or Spring exam offering if your schedule is extremely busy since you likely will not have the time to devote to studying for the exam. Likewise, if you’re away for the summer, or working throughout August, it is not recommended that you take the August offering.

Mostly B’s: It sounds like you’re fairly flexible when it comes to enrollment options. If you’re interested in getting the exam out of the way, consider registering for the summer exam offering as you’ll have finished your professional responsibility course by that point! Otherwise, keep the MPRE in mind when registering for your Fall/Spring semester courses. You’ll want to make time during one of those semesters if you don’t opt for the summer offering.

Mostly C’s: You urgently need to register for the nearest MPRE! As a 3L you need your MPRE score to register for the bar exam. Don’t risk ruining your bar trip and interfering with your bar exam studying schedule by registering for the summer offering. Instead, head to the MPRE website now and register for the upcoming Spring semester offering before registration closes!


MPRE

Cost

The cost for the MPRE recently increased, as of 2019 if you register on time the fee is $125, however late registrations will now be charged $220 (a comprehensive fee and registration outline can be found here)! You are not charged at the time of registering, instead, you pay when you arrive at the test center – so if you’re short on cash, don’t feel dismayed from registering anyways.

On the topic of payment, if you’re going to a medium to large sized law firm, your firm may reimburse you for your MPRE test and preparatory course. Don’t hesitate to ask your firm if this is an applicable “bar-related” expense. Likewise, if you’re going into public interest, it can’t hurt to ask your law school if there are funding sources available to help with MPRE associated costs.

Recommended Preparation

Most law students who have completed the MPRE that I talked to seemed to agree that taking a course in professional responsibility before taking the exam is a smart decision. Otherwise, they stressed that preparation is relatively minimal, especially in comparison to the bar exam. Still, most students said they enrolled in at least one virtual prep course.

Preparatory courses are offered by many of the same companies who offer bar exam prep courses. Similar to the bar prep courses, the cost differs from company to company. As a plug for BARBRI, their MPRE review course is FREE!