Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, October 24, 2014

The MPRE: Trick or Treat?

The Multistate Professional Responsiblity Exam is being administered next week on November 1st- yes, the day after Halloween.  In a previous post, I outlined the basics of the MPRE and reminders for test day.  If you are preparing for the test next week, you should check it out.

For some students, the MPRE is a treat.  It is straightforward, testing only one subject; it is timed, but not too intense; and it is only sixy questions.  For others the MPRE is a trick.  It is filled with tricky questions involving ethical obligations and moral judgments.   In either case, here are a few MPRE study strategies and tips to consider:

  • Know your learning style.  For example, if you are an auditory learner, you should listen to the MPRE lecturers from one or a few bar review companies.  As mentioned, these are free and will help you learn the material by hearing clear explanations of the rules and the application of the rules to hypotheticals.
  • Do not merely take full practice tests.  You need to have a solid understanding of the rules in order to perform well on the MPRE.  Therefore, you must study!   Is it proper to enter into a business transaction with a client? Can you split a fee with an attorney from a different firm?  Do attorneys have a duty of confidentiality to prospective clients?  Know these answers before you walk into your test.
  • Remember that more than one answer choice could be “correct.”  However, you need to choose the “best” answer.  Determining the central issue is the best way to do this. 
  • Determine the central issue and make sure you are answering the question being asked.  Sometimes you can easily determine the central issue from the call line (the interrogatory at the end of the fact pattern), while other times you need to search the facts to find it.  Whichever the case, determine the central issue before selecting your answer.  Before bubbling in your answer choice, make sure you assess whether you have answered the question based on the central issue.
  • Do not merely select an answer based on the “Yes” or “No” in the answer choices.  Read the entire answer choice and pay close attention to words such as: “if,” “unless,” and “only,” which qualify each of the answer choices.
  • Read the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (with a highlighter or pen).  By actively reading the rules, you will get to know the rules that you clearly know and the rules that you need to study further.  You need to know more than what was covered in your PR class, and even your MPRE lecture.  Read and learn the Model Rules.
  • Review the scope of coverage and study accordingly.  The NCBE produces an outline, which delineates the coverage on the MPRE.  Focus on the areas with higher coverage: Conflicts, lawyer-client relationships, and litigation/advocacy.
  • Don’t forget about the Model Code of Judicial Conduct.  There could be 2-5 questions in this area, which many of you are not familiar. 
  • Review MPRE practice questions in small chunks.  Complete 5 at a time and then review the ones you got wrong AND the ones you got right.  Take notes regarding what you missed and areas of confusion.  Review these notes before moving on to the next 5 questions.
  • Take at least 2 full practice tests after you have spent a considerable amount of time studying the rules.
  • Get a good night’s rest before exam day- NO LATE NIGHT HALLOWEEN PARTIES!
  • Take a few “easy” questions in the morning (before you leave your house) to warm up.
  • Eat a protein-rich breakfast and repeat positive affirmations.

While it is unrealistic for me to say that this exam will be a treat, I do hope it is not too tricky!

Lisa Bove Young

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