The November administration of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is in a few weeks and it’s time to start preparing.
Administered by the NCBE, the MPRE is a 60-question multiple choice test. 50 questions are graded and 10 are pre-test questions. The test is scored from 50-150 and in Ohio you need an 85 to pass. At first glance, you might think all you have to do to pass is spell your name correctly. After all, 100 is the mid-way point and 85 is below that. Yes, the pass score isn’t that high but you still have to know the material. You can find this out the hard way or you can prepare properly and pass the first time.
Passing the MPRE requires you to study and practice. First, learn what material is going to be tested. The NCBE has a MPRE subject matter outline with the scope of coverage and percentage of items included in each major area. This is helpful in order to see which topics are more heavily tested. For example, you can expect 6-9 questions on Conflicts of Interest but only 1-2 questions on a Lawyer’s Duties to the Public and Legal System.
Next, familiarize yourself with the material. Most commercial bar prep companies have free MPRE prep courses. Sign up for one (or more) and use the study material. The MPRE isn’t like a law school exam where you need to spend hours and hours going over your outline. Instead, learn the material in context by working through practice questions with your outline. Check each question as you answer it instead of answering sets of questions and then looking at the explanations. We learn from our mistakes so it’s best to catch them as we make them, not 20-30 minutes later.
After you’ve done a few sets of questions with your outline, you can switch to “practice for performance” mode and answer questions without your notes. Give yourself a few hours for this because you will miss a lot of questions at first. You have to remind your brain you know the information and this will take some time. What you should notice is that the more you practice (and check your work) the less mistakes you make.
Finally, your goal should be to do your best, not just to pass. It is better to over-study than to set the bar too low and fail. The bottom line is, it’s your $95 so it’s your choice if you want to spend it on another MPRE or on something else.