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Reviewing the rules: Tips for MPRE success

MPRE Success Tips

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE®) is a 60 multiple choice question exam created by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®).  The MPRE assesses a student’s knowledge and understanding of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct.  The exam is currently administered three times per year and is required for bar licensure in most jurisdictions.  Generally, students will take the MPRE while they are still in law school, but it can be taken after graduation as well. 

Studying for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam is not always viewed as a top priority.  Students are typically focused on their law school final exam preparation; are busy working on internship projects; or are recovering from their bar exam preparation.  Thus, studying for the MPRE often takes a back seat.  To additionally feed typical 3L procrastination, a common myth is that studying for the MPRE is not necessary, or can be done at the last minute. 

While it is true that the MPRE is not as challenging as the bar exam, it is still a test that should be taken seriously.  And, there are ways to study for the MPRE both efficiently and effectively so that all priorities can be met, including MPRE success.

One place to start is Kaplan’s Free MPRE Review course, but after you’ve enrolled over there, here are a few tips to help you prepare for the MPRE while balancing the demands of the final phases of your legal education journey.  

One of the best study maxims we profess is to study smarter, not harder.  And, one way to put that maxim into practice is to maximize your time and effort by focusing your studies on where you will gain the most points.  There are a few ways to do this as you begin thinking about your MPRE study plan.  And, planning ahead is always a great way to set yourself up for success on a standardized test. 

First, the MPRE has several topic content areas that are more heavily-tested than other topics.  Based on the data from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the top three heavily-tested areas on the MPRE are:

  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Client Lawyer-Relationship, and
  • Litigation/Other Forms of Advocacy. 

These combined topic areas make up roughly half of the testable topics and points on the MPRE.  Therefore, these are areas that you should spend more time studying and practicing.  More time spent on the right content will lead to better results.

While it is true that the MPRE is not as challenging as the bar exam, it is still a test that should be taken seriously.

Next, most of the legal content tested on the MPRE is not overly difficult; instead, it is intuitive and often rather straightforward.  However, the content can feel dense with nuances presented in numerous rules. 

A great way to acclimate yourself to the rules and their nuances is to actively read through the rules.  Reading the rules will give you a high level overview and will provide you with a contextual understanding of the major themes. 

It is also extremely helpful to read the “Comments” to the rules.  The Comments expound on the rules by providing more clarity on their application, additional definitions, and even examples.  The Comments are filled with helpful details that will make your test preparation experience more effective and efficient.

Lastly, studying for any type of exam is never a one-size-fits-all approach.  Varying your studies will help you understand the content, memorize the content, and engage with it meaningfully so that you can accurately apply it.  Substantial study time should focus on learning the substantive law presented in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Model Rules of Judicial Conduct; but, ample time should also be spent on practice questions.  Completing practice questions will help you improve your general test-taking skills; understand where your weaknesses exist; and give you clarity on how the rules apply to various factual situations. Your Kaplan MPRE® QBank and Simulated Exams are great assets to help you accomplish both.

After you have spent time studying the rules and completing practice questions, take some time to reflect on your performance.  Self-reflection on your progress is a great way to also ensure that you are studying efficiently. 

Review your performance to look for trends, knowledge gaps, or test taking deficiencies.  To improve your substantive knowledge, practice questions in your weaker topic areas that are heavily tested. To improve your general test-taking skills, practice in sets of questions to help improve your reading comprehension and time management. 

While practice questions take time, this practice is one of the most valuable ways to prepare and improve.  Check out another article from Kaplan on the MPRE, “WHAT IS THE MPRE AND HOW SHOULD I STUDY FOR IT?” and don’t forget to enroll in Kaplan’s free MPRE Review course (but you’ve already done that right?).

Best of luck on the MPRE!