The Lowdown on the MPRE

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 3L 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 bar admissions requirements include the Character and Fitness application.

Law students are divided, however, on they’re awareness of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.

So what is the MPRE?

Structure and Overview

The MPRE is a two-hour, 60-question multiple-choice exam offered multiple times a year (generally 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.

Quick Quiz: When Should You Take It?

What year are you in law school currently?
a) 1L
b) 2L
c) 3L

How full is your course and/or social schedule this semester?
a) Extremely packed. I’m almost at the max credit allowance.
b) It’s law school; I’m busy, but I still have some free time.
c) Totally laid back.

Is there an MPRE examination center near your law school?
a) They’re all pretty far away and I don’t have a car.
b) There’s one pretty close!
c) My school is a test center.

What is your summer job like?
a) I’ll be working abroad.
b) I’ll be in a US city for the average 10-weeks.
c) I’m not working at all.

Have you taken professional responsibility yet?
a) Uh no …
b) I’m registered in it now.
c) Obviously.

Quick Quiz: Your Results

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 MPRE offering if your schedule is extremely busy. You likely will not have the time to study for the exam. Likewise, if you’re away for the summer or working throughout August, it is not recommended that you take the August MPRE.

Mostly B’s: It sounds like you’re fairly flexible when it comes to enrollment options. If you’re interested in getting the MPRE out of the way, register for the summer administration. You’ll likely have finished your professional responsibility course by then. 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 MPRE.

Mostly C’s: You urgently need to register for the next 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!

The MPRE Registration Fee Has Increased

As of 2019, the on-time registration fee is $125; however, late registrations will 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, it may reimburse you for taking the MPRE and a prep 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 costs associated with the MPRE.

Recommended MPRE Preparation

Most law students, who have completed the MPRE (that I’ve talked to), seem 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 program — such as the free and online BARBRI MPRE Review course.