The Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is a tricky test that nearly all law professionals have to prepare for and take. The only two states that are exceptions to this rule are Wisconsin and Maryland (along with Puerto Rico). How to prepare for the MPRE is a subject of some debate, as it tends to be rather polarizing depending upon whom you ask. That said, there are some foundational ideas to be aware of and some general principles that will help you figure out how to prepare for the MPRE.
Before Deciding How to Prepare for the MPRE
First, in trying to consider how to prepare for the MPRE, you should know that it is composed of 60 multiple-choice questions and takes 2 hours two complete. You can easily sign up and pay the $95 fee for the test online. Depending on where you are in your studies, you will want to plan to assess how to prepare for the MPRE based on when the exam is actually offered during the year: March, August, or November.
A lot of law students take the MPRE between their second and third years of law school. A good rule of thumb is to remember that you will have to take the bar exam after your third year, so make sure to get the MPRE out of the way as early as possible. That way, as you determine how to prepare for the MPRE, you aren’t also figuring out your bar exam preparations at the same time. This would be overwhelming for even the most stalwart of students.
It isn’t required, but if you haven’t taken a Professional Responsibility course during your law school studies so far, it is highly recommended that you look over the material that would be covered there. If you can, take the class itself, as this naturally provides an even better foundation from which to work and figure out how to prepare for the MPRE, being a professional responsibility test after all.
How to Prepare for the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam
Initially, you will want to find a course that provides instruction regarding all the many outlines and rules of the test, as well as repeated engagement with actual MPRE questions and exams in a timed, test-taking environment. Though some people will tell you that the exam is incredibly difficult and evasive, the information that it deals with is manageable even in just a few weeks with intensive studying.
The trap that many students fall into is thinking that in deciding how to prepare for the MPRE, they are basically just figuring out how to apply good judgment to practical situations. This is true to a certain point, but it misses the specifics of the MPRE’s judicial content. Remember that the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam gauges a law student’s mastery of two codes of conduct. The first is the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and the second is the Judicial Code of Conduct. Without studying both of these in detail, a student will likely miss a substantial number of questions. In other words, some of the information simply must be memorized. There’s no way around it. Common sense is just not enough for this test.
Along these lines, the ABA recommends that students begin to prepare for the MPRE no fewer than two weeks ahead of the exam itself. A month would be even better so that the preparations aren’t rushed or crammed. They also suggest that students “read through the rules at least twice in their entirety (yes, actually READ the rules)”. It would be unfortunate to miss a question simply because one did not read through the rules fully.
Use flashcards. These are a great memorization tool. Don’t neglect, however, that in determining how to prepare for the MPRE, you should absolutely take as many real test questions as possible. The exam essentially tests your legal ethics and responsibility, but, to reiterate, this does not mean that you can avoid the material itself and trust your judgment, however good it may be. Go over all the questions after each practice test, both the ones you got correct and those missed. This will drill the information even further.
Where to Find Materials on How to Prepare for the MPRE
Lots of different organizations publish material for studying and preparing for this exam, some of which are even provided free of charge. Make sure that you find one with actual questions for practice tests that include explanations and reasoning behind each answer. Take mini-tests, full-length exams, and put yourself through the rigors of simulated test environments.
If you follow these principles for how to prepare for the MPRE, you have a good chance of doing very well on the exam. At the end of the day, the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam is a test just like any other, in that one must study for it. It is different than others, however, in the material that it covers. Preparing for it is a combination of learning the content itself and figuring out how to implement it whenever necessary.