Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Preparing for the Multistate Professional Responsiblity Exam

For many 2 and 3Ls the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is right around the corner.  The MPRE is a multiple choice exam consisting of 60 questions offered three times each year.  The MPRE is a required licensing test for all states except Maryland and Wisconsin.  The American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, and control­ling constitutional decisions and generally accepted principles established in leading federal and state cases and in procedural and evidentiary rules are tested on the MPRE.  Commercial bar companies have condensed these rules in their review lectures.  And, fortunately, most of these companies offer free MPRE courses and materials for students.

Although these free resources are available, many students do not take advantage of them.  Instead, they underestimate the difficulty of the MPRE and sometimes take the exam without even studying.  While the MPRE is not as challenging as the Multistate Bar Exam, it is still a high stakes standardized test that requires concerted effort in order to reach a passing score.  A careful study of the rules sets a firm foundation for test day.  Additionally, as with any test, completing practice questions will hone an examinees test taking ability and will help assess their performance.  The commercial bar courses offer ample practice questions for this purpose.  The National Conference of Bar Examiners also offers for purchase one Online Practice Exam (OPE) for the MPRE.  

Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you prepare for the MPRE:

  • Arrive on time, but not too early.  Once you have been checked in by the proctors in the testing room, you are not allowed to leave prior to start time.  If you arrive too early, you are stuck waiting in a room full of overly anxious applicants and an assortment of #2 pencils.
  • You cannot chew gum during the exam (or have other food or drinks).  I really wanted my gum, but they made me throw it away.
  • You cannot wear earplugs!  Why?  I do not know the answer.  This is cruel and unusual.
  • You are able to leave the room during the test, but depending on your testing site that may not be a great idea.  At my testing site, the bathroom was two flights of stairs from the testing room.  (Even though I wanted to take a restroom break, I did not want to sacrifice the time.)  Extra time is not given for restroom breaks.
  • You cannot bring anything into the testing room- no cellphones, no bags, no books... Bring your pencils, your ID, your admission ticket, (photo- see below) and your knowledge of PR.
  • Don't forget to bring a current passport-type photo on exam day.  Think about getting this out of the way early.
  • Leave your watch at home.  Watches are not allowed at the test center.  Electronic devices of any kind are not allowed either.
  • As with the bar exam, wear comfortable layers.  The temperature of the room may be too hot or too cold and may fluctuate during the course of your test. 

Above all, do not minimize the effort needed to prepare for the MPRE.  Last minute cramming may lead to regret.  Scores are posted approximately five weeks after the test.  Good luck to everyone taking the MPRE!

(Lisa Young)

 

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