One of the most interesting things about chatting with people who graduate law school is their fear of the bar exam and also their “mockery” of the MPRE. When I ask people how much they studied for the bar exam, I usually hear “every day, 8-10 hours a day”. Or, “I had no life all summer except studying”. Interestingly enough, when I ask how much those same people studied for the MPRE I usually hear “I studied the night before”. Or, “I studied 2 days before”. It’s rare to hear someone even admit to studying 1 week for the MPRE. Is the MPRE really that easy? I don’t think the answer is a simple yes or no. It depends on Continue reading
All but 4 jurisdictions require the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) to gain admission to the bar. Most people I’ve talked to tend to study for the MPRE the weekend before the exam or 1-2 days before. Why so little studying? The general answer I hear is “It’s an easy exam”. However, I’ve known more than just a few people who have passed the bar exam yet failed the MPRE. This is why I always recommend at least 1-2 weeks of study for the MPRE. Better safe than sorry is my philosophy.
It is not an “easy” exam. In my opinion, the questions are just as tricky as the MBE questions. Yes, it is easier than the MBE because you only have 1 subject, Professional Responsibility (PR). And PR is an easier subject than any of the 6 MBE subjects. So yes, it is easier than the MBE, but it is not “easy”. So, I always advise Continue reading
With the MPRE coming up this Saturday, no doubt many of you will be studying this week. Many of you will probably start to study this Thursday/Friday as the MPRE has a reputation as being one of those exams that you can study for in 1 day and pass. While it’s true that some people are able to study in just one evening and pass, this is not true for a large number of folks. In fact, there are many people who pass the bar but struggle with the MPRE. The mean score on the MPRE is usually somewhere in the high 90s, around 96-97. The “passing” score is different for every state, but the highest required score in most states is an 85. Looking at the distribution, that leaves roughly 1/3 of test takers failing the exam, so we’ve got a pass rate of about 70%, definitely lower than many bar exams. So why is this? It’s not because Professional Responsibility is a more difficult subject than any of the MBE subjects. I feel it is because many take the MPRE for granted.
Here’s the strategy if you need to pass: Treat the MPRE like you would a single subject on the MBE. So, if you made flash cards for evidence, make them for the MPRE. If you did 200 practice questions for torts, do the same for the MPRE. If you made an outline for real property, do the same for the MPRE. This should only take you 1-2 weeks time since we are only talking about a single subject here. And no doubt, PR is less voluminous than the MBE subjects. Yes, on the MBE you only have approx 33 questions per subject and the MPRE is 60 questions, but still, it’s just one subject, with a dash of judicial code thrown in for good measure. So, if you “need” to pass, I recommend you follow the above advice and not skimp on your studying. If you only “want” to pass, or really don’t care, then rolling the dice and taking your chances is probably a fine approach. Good luck this Saturday.
For those of you wanting to get a head start on the prep for the summer bar exam, I’d recommend picking up some used PMBR materials. First, get the PMBR 6-subject MBE Audio Lectures. These come on either a single DVD with MP3s, or as a 32-CD set. Then get the PMBR Red book to do some practice questions. You can find these used on ebay or cragslist or wherever for pretty cheap. I’d recommend listening to the entire audio lectures once or twice and then tackle maybe 50 questions per subject in the red book. This should be a good start before you start barbri or whatever other program you will be doing. Most programs today do not emphasize the MBE enough and it really deserves more attention and a unique study approach. Most people that fail the bar exam do so because of low MBE scores. You can write a fluffy essay and still pass the bar exam but you can’t BS you way past the MBE. So if you want to get an early start, focus on the MBE.
NCBE released the scores from the November 2008 MPRE today and I passed with a solid margin, scoring well into triple digits… I believe the free PMBR/Kaplan lecture + the multiple practice exams from the various sources was the key… Also, knowing and mentally preparing for the fact that the format of the current MPRE is simplified from the existing Barbri/PMBR/Micromash/Whatever practice questions out there now is probably the best advice I can give to anyone taking the exam… (As stated in my previous post http://www.dcbarexam.com/2008/11/thoughts-on-november-2008-mpre-and.html)
To those of you that did not pass, or are taking it for the first time in March 2009, I recommend 1 week of study, comprising 8 hours of review of the outlines (1-2 days) and 4 practice exams of 50-60 questions each reviewing all answer explanations thoroughly (4-5 days). It may seem excessive, but the test is not as “easy” as everyone says unless you put in that effort, or have recently taken PR in law school…
I realized there were some distinct changes to the MPRE from all of the sample tests I did… I did some digging around and found this document on the NCBE website:
Apparently, the test writers over at the NCBE are trying to make multiple choices more straightforward and have eliminated “none of the above” or “all of the above” choices! Further, they have eliminated the “K-type” format (using Roman numerals in complex options—e.g., I is true, but II and III are not true). NONE of these are on the MPRE anymore…
For more details, read the article in the URL I posted above and keep that in mind when doing practice questions as you no longer need to learn strategies for K-type questions and so forth…
Personally, I liked the new format and thought it was very straightforward, this might explain why I finished it faster than any of the practice exams.
Finally, keep in mind these changes appear to apply to the MBE, so the Feb 2009 MBE should be along the same lines…