The multistate performance test (“MPT”) on the bar exam often flummoxes bar applicants. With the amount of knowledge and critical analysis that needs to be acquired in the time before the test, the performance test often gets pushed to the back-burner and is not prioritized. The MPT can be very challenging for people as it doesn’t test any substantive knowledge, but assesses your ability to examine facts, understand which ones are relevant, and develop a document that answers a pointed question. Some of the greatest difficulties that students have with the MPT is time and being able to organize their answer. Since students only have 90 minutes to read through the file of documents provided, outline an answer, and write a concise and comprehensive response, the limited time often seems daunting. But implementing strategies for common performance test issues can help you gain points and increase your chances of doing well on the bar.
So, how can you do this? Well, what are we always telling you to do? Practice! Start from early in the bar study period, and practice all types of MPT questions. Wondering where you can find these questions? Most bar prep companies will have some options, but of course we’re going to direct you to our own as well! Bar Exam Toolbox has an excellent resource, the Brainy Bar Bank: MPT. The program focuses on providing actual performance test questions, sorted by different categories and areas that the bar examiners like to test on. Since the performance test is organized by different writing formats, the program divides the questions by memos, briefs, letters, or unusual documents that the bar examiners test. This is incredibly helpful as it can help you focus in on a particular format, depending on how much assessment you require. Additionally, the Brainy Bar Bank: MPT includes a frequency analysis, so you can easily focus on the types of documents you’ll be most likely to face on the exam. Knowing what to expect on the exam will save you time and energy working on the performance test.
Once you’ve written a performance test, you’ll need to self-evaluate (I know, I know – NOT a favorite thing to do for most studiers, but it really is necessary). The Brainy Bar Bank includes the NCBE graders’ point sheets so that you can make sure that you hit all of the key issues in your document. If you’re using a different resource for MPT questions, make sure that it also provides you with either the point sheets, sample answers, or another resource for self-evaluation. If you have someone providing you with feedback, that’s fantastic! But you should also be sure that you are taking the time yourself to review your answers so that you will be able to self-evaluate quickly when you are writing on the bar exam.
With focused study and practice, practice, practice, you can succeed on the performance test. By dedicating time and energy to becoming familiar with the performance test and understanding what is expected, you can increase your chances of earning points on the performance test portion of the exam. Best of luck on the bar exam!