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The MPRE: When and How?

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is a two-hour exam consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions.  The MPRE is required for bar admissions in all but three U.S. jurisdictions (Maryland, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico.)  The good news is that the exam doesn’t cover a huge amount of material so studying for the exam is not that arduous, but the bad news is you have to spend a Saturday taking the exam.

When to Take the MPRE?

This category is really two questions, first when can you take the MPRE and second when should you take the MPRE.  The MPRE is only offered three times a year so it’s something you should start thinking about early.  It’s important to register early for two reasons, many exam locations fill up so you need to register early in order to secure the location that is most convenient for you. Second, the regular registration fee is $95 but the late registration fee is increased to $190.  Save yourself the additional $95 and register early! Registration fees and deadlines can be found on the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBEX) website.

The more difficult question to answer is when should you take the MPRE, and that really comes down to personal preference, but here is some helpful information.  You do not have to take the MPRE after or concurrently with your Professional Responsibility course.  Although the MPRE is a Professional Responsibility test the focus is of the test is often much different than the focus of a Professional Responsibility course.  The MPRE is multiple choice so it can’t really test the grey areas that most PR courses focus on.  This is important to know because no matter when you chose to take your Professional Responsibility course you can take the MPRE anytime in your 2L or 3L year.   I recommend taking it in 2L or early 3L.   You never know what might come up in the future, so it’s best to get it out of the way early.  Trust me, taking the MPRE after the bar exam is the last thing you will want to do, so start planning for it now.

How to Prepare

Barbri, Themis and Kaplan offer free online courses to prepare you for the MPRE.  You can sign up for the courses online and stop by the tables on the third floor outside the library to get a free test prep book as well.  The online courses consist of lectures, assessment questions on the black letter law and practice multiple-choice questions.  I took the Barbri course and felt pretty prepared for the exam.  I watched all of the online lectures, did the most of the assessment questions and completed two practice tests, and although I did find the test to be pretty challenging I passed on the first try.   This is a great opportunity to try out the prep courses and figure out which one you want to use for the bar exam.

The most important take-away about the MPRE is that you shouldn’t stress too much over the exam, it’s completely doable, but it’s important to put some time into planning and preparing for the exam so you can save yourself some time and money by only taking it once.

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