The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. The MPRE. The pièce de résistance.
What you’re up against: 60 multiple-choice questions. Ten of them will go unscored. You have two hours to complete it all. While nowhere near as long or as demanding as the bar exam, the MPRE is definitely in a category of its own. It can be complex and tricky. All by design. It’s meant to task you with thinking like a lawyer when ethical situations aren’t so clear cut. And it’s a different exam format compared to law school. Even though it has the reputation as being “easy” and “not a big deal,” you’ll want to study. Especially if you’re a 3L student with only a few more opportunities to pass it before taking the bar.
Almost every state/jurisdiction requires that you pass the MPRE for admission to the bar, so be sure you have this requirement checked off your to-do list.
Many students opt to take the MPRE after completing their law school’s Professional Responsibility (PR) class. This is a good idea; however, do not rely solely on your PR class notes as a way to streamline your MPRE preparation. It won’t work well. The MPRE tests on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, whereas some law school courses may focus on state-specific rules of professional conduct or teach a combination (ABA and state). Plus, the hypos you encounter in PR class are likely to be quite different than the scenarios presented in the MPRE questions. To borrow a phrase, it’s “like comparing apples to oranges.”
If you can swing a few days off work or school to study for the MPRE, do it. You need to devote the time — it’s a bar admission requirement so you’ll want to take it seriously (regardless of the exam’s reputation). Consider the free BARBRI MPRE review course. Taking a legal ethics or PR class in law school won’t guarantee a passing score. The BARBRI MPRE Review covers everything about ethics, is highly organized and always current on legal ethics information. The course has a video lecture component and a ton of practice questions. In case you like to take practice exams by hand (which is not a bad idea because the test is in scantron format), there is a book that has sample exams.
Overall, the MPRE is an exam that requires knowledge of the rules and the application of the rules. Studying for one night is simply not enough. It is best to take some time off and really dive into the material. Your hard work will pay off in the long run.