Taking the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam) is to getting your driver’s permit as taking the bar is to getting your driver’s license. It’s a sometimes overlooked, but crucial step to becoming a lawyer in your state and you want to make sure you’re properly prepared for it.
The MPRE is a comprehensive exam of professional ethics. It’s based on the law that governs the conduct and discipline of lawyers and judges and includes the disciplinary rules of professional and judicial conduct found in the ABA model rules.
The exam is a requirement for admittance to practice law in most states. (Yes, most likely yours.)
How it’s Structured:
The 2-hour test consists of 60 multiple-choice. There are 50 scored questions and 10 un-scored pretest questions that are indistinguishable from the ones that are scored. Each question is followed by 4 possible answers and scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly (meaning no points are subtracted for incorrect answers.)
The test is scored on a scale of 50-150 and the score needed to pass varies depending on what state you take the exam. (For example, in California the current passing score is an 86.)
How to Study:
There are many ways to prepare yourself for this exam- all, which are relatively inexpensive.
Enroll in the Professional Responsibility class at your school
The class is likely tailored to prepare you for the exam even if you’re taking the MPRE during the middle of the course, like during the Fall. Taking the course will keep you from spending a lot of outside class time learning the material.
Take Advantage of Study Materials Online
The NCBE Website (National Conference of Bar Examiners) offers the subject matter outline for free along with commonly used key words and phrases found on the test. You can also buy books on Amazon or take advantage of Bar Review Providers, like BarBri, Kaplan, Themis or BarMax (which Lee did a review on here) who normally give out the material for free.
Studying shouldn’t be too different from how you normally would learn material in school – review the law, take timed practice exams to see where you are scoring and then adjust accordingly.
When to Take It:
The MPRE is administered on a Saturday each spring (March/April), summer (August) and fall (November). Most students take the MPRE their 2L or 3L year but the earlier you take it the more cushion you’re giving yourself in case something inadvertently goes wrong.
Once you decide when to take it, make sure you register early; you don’t want to have to drive 2 hours away because all the spots are full at the test center down the street.
To register, you must have an NCBE account, but the registration process itself is through LSAC (Law School Admission Council). The NCBE provides a chart of dates and deadlines for you to consider below:
Photo by National Conference of Bar Examiners
Why It’s Important:
While the MPRE doesn’t have the same reputation as the bar, it’s still meant to be complex and force you to think like a practicing attorney when ethical situations aren’t entirely clear.
Good Luck on the MPRE!
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Your Guide to Study for the MPRE
- Easy (and Cheap) Ways to Study for the MPRE
- 3L Tip: Get the MPRE Out of the Way
- What You Can Do Now to Prepare for the Bar Exam
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