don't know how to answer an mpt, MPRE in two weeksWhat to Do if you Don’t Know How to Answer an MPT Question 

Many examinees ask us what to do if you don’t know how to answer an MPT question. Some examinees “blanked out” when they saw the last bar exam “wildcard” MPT question. They got low scores because they didn’t even know how to start answering that question. Here, we tell you what to do if you don’t know how to answer an MPT question on exam day.

What to Do if you Don’t Know How to Answer an MPT Question 

1. Start with the task memo  

The first step is to start with the task memo – which should be the first document in the MPT. The task memo should give you detailed instructions on who you are writing to and what information they are seeking. The task memo will tell you:

  • What kind of task you are writing
  • The tone of the memo (whether it is “objective”–e.g., someone is seeking information, or “persuasive”–e.g., you are supposed to persuade an opposing counsel or judge of something)
  • Who your audience is (e.g., a judge, the client, the opposing counsel, or the partner at the firm) which tells you your tone (if the client is a non-lawyer, you should not use as much legalese)

2. Pay close attention to any examples 

If the task is an unusual task, there will probably be an example of what your task should look like. Or there will be additional instructions. Pay close attention to any examples or additional instructions. This will be key to making sure you are structuring your answer in the right format, that you are using the right tone, and that you are writing in language that makes sense to your reader.

3. Read the library, the file and the task memo (again)

Next, most students find it helpful to read the library to get an idea of what the law is. Then they read the file. You do not have to passively read. You can start outlining arguments on your laptop or in your bluebook as you read the library and file. In fact, we recommend you do this because it saves time.

Keep going back to the task memo to make sure you are answering the questions posed in the proper format and tone.

4. Apply the law from the library to the facts

Even if you are confused about the law or some of what you are reading, remember that your ultimate goal is always to apply the law to the facts. So, apply what you have learned in the library to the facts using the directions in the task memo.

Remember that if you are confused, others are probably confused too! So do your best to apply the law and follow directions. You may end up scoring higher than you think even if you initially don’t know how to answer the MPT question!

How to Avoid “Blanking Out” on MPTs

If you want to try to reduce anxiety and the feeling of dread when you get to an MPT question, we recommend that you do the following:

  • Practice MPTs ahead of time! (This will boost your confidence!!) If you do not have time to practice every kind of MPT, start with baby MPTs in our MPT guide.
  • Check out our MPT one-sheet so that you can get formats down.
  • Time yourself! A lot of people struggle with an MPT simply because they spend too long on the first one then they have a short time to answer the second one. After 90 minutes, move on from one MPT and go to the next one! It is better to get a 4 or 5 (assuming a 6-point scale) on each MPT rather than a 5 or 6 and a 0!

  • Looking for MPT Help?

    We offer the following MPT products and services:

    • An MPT seminar for those seeking help on how to tackle the MPT.
    • An MPT guide which takes students from the beginning to end in in how to write an MPT.
    • MPT feedback for those seeking structural and organizational review of practice questions.
    • Real MPT questions! We offer all MPT released questions from 2000 to present compiled in one book.