evidence on the california bar exam, mpt guide, multistate performance test guide

An MPT Study Schedule

Are you unsure of how to begin your review for the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) portion of the bar exam? The most common mistake that students make is to leave their review of the MPT until the month before the exam. They don’t take the MPT seriously because they don’t ever have the realization that it is worth a lot of your score – the equivalent of 70 multiple-choice questions to be exact!

If you start early, you will be able to identify any issues that you struggle with, e.g., organization and timing, and adjust your strategy so that you will be confident with your approach on exam day! Below is an MPT study schedule, which gives a brief overview of the tasks you may encounter as well as specific MPTs that test your ability to complete a specific task. Do your best to complete these MPTs based on the schedule provided.

An MPT Study Schedule

Once you have completed each task, either self-grade your response based upon the NCBE’s MPT Point Sheets or send them to JD Advising for detailed feedback.  You will find the NCBE’s MPT Point Sheets at the end of each exam file. Keep in mind that you do not need to address every point raised in the MPT Point Sheets in your response to receive a high score. As you self-grade, see whether you missed any key issues, forgot to include the law, failed to include facts, or struggled with organization and/or timing. See this post for a more detailed guide on how to self-grade your MPT.

If you are looking for more detailed feedback, email your response to us, JD Advising, and our MPT specialist will review your answers.

Our MPT study schedule is, in part, based on our MPT frequency chart, which breaks down how often different tasks are tested. We begin with the most highly tested tasks, to make sure you are as familiar with them as possible.

Week 1: November 27 – December 3

During this week, you should read some tips to warm-up to the MPT task. It is very much unlike the other portions of the bar exam. Read this post on five tips to writing a high-scoring MPT answer. Also, read our MPT Preparation Do’s and Don’ts. This will help you avoid the common mistakes that students make when approaching the MPT portion of the bar exam.

One of the most common tasks you will encounter is the objective memorandum.  In fact, between July 2005 and July 2016, students  an objective memorandum appeared 41% of the time on the MPT. So, there’s a good reason why it’s first on our MPT study schedule! Before you begin writing an objective memo, we recommend that you first familiarize yourself with the task and how to write your answer. Make sure to address any unfavorable arguments in a balanced manner. After reading this blog post, and also our post on how to format an objective memorandum, take some time during the week to write out the answers to the following MPTs under timed conditions:

 Week 2: December 4 – December 10

Because the objective memorandum is so highly tested, we recommend doing a few more MPTs under timed conditions to make sure that you feel comfortable with the task at hand. So, the second week of our MPT study schedule does not move on to another task. See if you can improve on any issues that you struggled with the previous week (e.g., timing, organization, using objective language, crafting headings). If you are still struggling, here are our MPT tips to help guide you. When you feel comfortable, try and tackle the following MPTs:

  • July 2009: Jackson v. Franklin Sports Gazette, Inc.
  • Feb 2009: Phoenix Corporation v. Biogenesis, Inc.

If you find you are struggling with timing on the MPT, please check out our MPT timing tips.

 Week 3: December 11 – December 17

The next most common task that you will see on the MPT is the persuasive brief. If you are not confident writing persuasive briefs, reading our top five tips to improve your persuasive brief is a good place to start. Between July 2005 and July 2016,  a persuasive brief appeared approximately 31% of the time. Here, you are required to advocate for your client. Do not ignore any unfavorable facts or case law. Instead, distinguish the law or the facts in a way that is favorable to your client. Before you begin writing a persuasive brief, take some time to acquaint yourself with this task, including tips on how to organize your answer. After you have read this blog post, complete two persuasive briefs under timed conditions during the week. We recommend doing the following assignments:

Week 4: December 18 – December 24

Complete the following persuasive tasks this week under timed conditions and again, see if you are able to tackle any of the problems you may have experienced the previous week:

  • July 2009: In re City of Bluewater
  • Feb 2009: Ronald v. Department of Motor Vehicles

Week 5: December 25  — December 31

Take this week off and enjoy the holiday season!

 Week 6: January 1 – January 7

Now it is time to practice the demand letter; if you need some tips on how to write a demand letter, we have you covered in this post! A demand letter requires a persuasive tone and aims to convince the recipient to act in accordance with your demands (e.g., dismiss the case). First, familiarize yourself with the basic structure of a demand letter and then complete the following MPT:

  • Feb 2007: Glickman v. Phoenix Cycles, Inc.

If you are looking for additional practice, consider completing the following task from July 2014: In re Linda Duram. This MPT is available for free on the Georgia Bar Admissions website. Try self-grading by reviewing two high-scoring student responses to this question. If you want to compare your answer to the MPT Point Sheet, it is available for purchase on the NCBE website.

Week 7: January 8 – 14

You are almost there! The last common task you want to acquaint yourself with is the opinion letter; if you need a refresher on how to write an opinion letter, this post will help! Generally, these letters are addressed to a client of the firm and require you to write in an objective tone. Often you are tasked with weighing the pros and cons of different legal theories of recovery for your client. Begin by reading this overview of how to format opinion letters. Then complete the following MPT:

This MPT is available for free on the Georgia Bar Admissions website. Try self-grading by reviewing two high-scoring student responses to this question. If you want to compare your answer to the MPT Point Sheet, it is available for purchase on the NCBE website.

If you want additional practice, do one or both of the MPTs from July 2015. You can compare your answer to two high-scoring student responses or purchase the MPT Point Sheet(s) on the NCBE website.

Weeks 8 and 9: January 15 – 28

The last type of assignment on our MPT study schedule is the uncommon task. You may be asked to draft contract provisions, a “leave behind,” a complaint, or the like. Use the same skills you have been practicing these last weeks and above all, read the task memo first and any accompanying formatting instructions. For additional tips, check out this blog post on how to approach an unusual task. Try two MPTs that require you to complete a less common task. We recommend doing the following MPTs:

  • Feb 2012: Franklin Resale Royalties Legislation
  • July 2013: Palindrome Recording Contract

These MPTs are available for free on the Georgia Bar Admissions website. You can compare your answers to two high-scoring student responses or purchase the MPT Point Sheets on the NCBE website.

You may be wondering what to do for the remaining weeks of bar study. If there are any tasks that you still feel uncomfortable with or if you are still struggling with timing and/or organization, keep on practicing! Let us know which types of MPTs you would like to practice and we can point you in the right direction.

Lastly, feel free to check out our last-minute MPT test tips so that you avoid common mistakes that students make!

We hope this MPT study schedule is useful!

Christine, one of our bar exam tutors, wrote this post. Christine has passed three bar exams, including California, New York, and New Jersey. She also scored in the 95th percentile on the MBE, and specializes in helping students raise their MPT scores.

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