How Long Is the Bar Exam

Is it common to run out of time on the MPT portion of the bar exam? 

We get a lot of emails after the bar exam from examinees who ran out of time on the multistate performance test (MPT) or essay portion of the bar exam. They wonder if they can still pass and if they are the only students who ran out of time on the MPT portion of the bar exam.

It is actually quite common to run out of time, or not provide a complete answer on the MPT portion of the bar exam. If you are in a Uniform Bar Exam state, you may find that this happened on the second MPT administered.

Why is it common to run out of time on the MPT portion of the bar exam?

The reasons that examinees run out of time on the MPT portion of the bar exam tend to be the following:

  • Examinees do not practice MPTs ahead of time (or practice very few). This is generally because many examinees have a false sense of confidence when it comes to writing and they worry more about the MBE portion.
  • Examinees practice MPTs before the bar exam but do not practice them under timed conditions.
  • Examinees get stressed out on bar exam day and their anxiety causes them to lose track of time or not answer questions as efficiently.
  • Examinees waste time by writing briefs to all of the cases in the library instead of actually responding to the task memo.
  • Examinees do not pay attention to the task memo.
  • Sleep-deprivation, anxiety, and other bar-exam-related stresses may contribute to running out of time.

These are some of the common reasons that examinees run out of time on the MPT portion, even if they don’t generally struggle with timing on exams. Many times, more than one of these factors will contribute to running out of time.

Does it mean I failed the bar exam if I ran out of time on the MPT?

No! It is quite common to run out of time on the MPT portion of the exam and it does not mean you failed the bar exam. We write more about that here.

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