One study tip I heard over and over again was: “do not neglect studying for the MPT.” But as I began deep diving into each of my bar subjects, I did not prioritize the MPT section. More specifically, I did not know how to study for this particular part of the exam. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will feel differently.
Navigating a Closed World Exam
The first thing you have to get comfortable with is that the legal concepts on the MPT may not be familiar to you. Substantively, the topics on the MPT are not something you can prepare for. This could generate a lot of panic. I remember when I came across the task of drafting a will during one of my practice exams, and I promptly gave up. This might be you at some point during the course of your 10 week bar preparation.
But remember, everything you need know to succeed on the MPT is in that exam packet. The MPT “File” and “Library” will provide all the information you need to pass the exam. All you need to do is know where to find all the information you need. Stay focused and do not panic.
Become Familiar with All the Different Types of MPT Documents
One way to prepare for the MPT is to review all the different type of documents you may be asked to create in this portion of the exam. Many practice MPTs ask you to generate an objective memo with your analysis of the documents in the File and Library. When you see the word “memo,” you should immediately type out the below caption template on your answer sheet.
For the body of the objective memo, test takers should be proficient in organizing material into introduction, body, and conclusion sections. Know the difference between a memo, a brief, or a letter. For more complicated, wildcard formats, test takers should get into the practice of looking for a sample template in the Task Memo or File. Usually, the MPT exam booklet includes a model template. Doing different types of MPT questions will also prepare you for strong answers for each type. Use MPT Point Sheets to grade yourself and track your progress.
Create a Time Schedule
The key to the MPT is refining YOUR unique process. There are many study tips out there of pundits who try to tell you how much time you should spend for each section. But in the end, it only matters how you work through and process the material.
You need to have a plan for working through the bulky MPT packet and a process for how to take notes as you read everything the first time (because you only have time to read everything once). You need to have a designated time where you STOP reviewing and START writing. And you need to be able to write out these time windows for each step of your process, on scratch paper, available to you during the exam.
There were some little, random things that I did to reduce anxiety. I made these little things a part of my process too. For example, I always found I skip to the end of the Library and work to the beginning. I did this for no reason except that moving through the Library from start to finish made me overwhelmed. I felt burdened by all that I had to read under a time crunch and working through the Library backwards took away that stressor. Little things like these may seem nonsensical to another test taker, but for you, it could mean undeniable success on the MPT.
I created a cheat sheet for my process during the second week of my bar study, and it became something that I would look over before every MPT:
1. Read Task Memo
2. TIMES TO REMEMBER
START MPT #1: 3:00 | Writing Start: 2:15 | MOVE MPT#2: 1:30 | Writing Start: 00:45
3. Look at the Template. Fill in those headers and structure it EXACTLY THE SAME, get ready to fill in with your analysis.
4. Go straight to the LIBRARY
- Read the Cases first
- START with the newest case, FIRST last paragraph of case
- Pay attention to Footnotes
- Note the cases within cases, include them because they could be important to client
- Rule Holding Issue Parties – Facts Research Terms/Questions Explanation
- Start writing the important pieces
- Read the Statutory Law next
5. Pull Facts from the FILE
6. Spend 45 min. to read/outline & 45 min. to write
Having a plan like this did wonders because it created a routine that became “muscle memory.” It played to my unique strengths and helped me stay calm. As a result, I could focus on becoming an efficient writer and scoring the maximum points for each section. I would encourage you to create a cheat sheet for yourself early in your bar preparation. For more ideas on how to create a unique process, check out What’s Your MEE and MPT Bar Prep Strategy?
Practice Every Week!
Practice one MPT a week. In a 10-week bar prep study schedule, this means you would do at minimum 10 practice MPTs. Decide if you need more or less practice based on your performance. Figure what you need to do to write your MPT faster. Over the course of the 10 weeks, you may find that sitting down for an MPT flips a switch in your head, and suddenly you are in MPT mode. Your unique process plays a role in building this confidence and generating success on the MPT portion of your bar exam.