Multistate Performance Test - MPT
The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) portion of the bar exam consists of either one or two (depending on the jurisdiction) 90-minute test questions. The MPT is a closed-universe test, which means that the examiners will provide you with all of the materials you need in order to adequately address the question. The test materials include both the facts and the law that you must apply in order to properly answer the questions.
MPT StrategyIf you find yourself going outside of the information contained in the file and library, to the knowledge of legal principles you have learned to prepare for the exam, then you are doing something wrong on the MPT. All the law you need to know in order to answer is contained in the library section of the question materials.
In most MPT questions, you will be required to write either an objective, or persuasive, document. These documents may include a memorandum to a supervising attorney or to opposing counsel; a letter to a client; a persuasive memorandum or brief; or a statement of facts. Less frequently, you might be required to draft a contract provision; a will; a counseling plan; a proposal for settlement or agreement; a discovery plan; a witness examination plan; or a closing argument. Regardless of what type of document you will be required to write, keep in mind that usually you will be given explicit directions, and you will be expected to follow them.
The MPT presents examinees with real-world lawyering situations. It tests skills commonly used by lawyers. For example, you may be asked to assume the role of a junior associate at a law firm, or a new attorney working for the district attorney’s office. As that new attorney, or junior associate, you may be provided with a task memo by a superior, directing you to write either an objective, or a persuasive memorandum. In a typical MPT calling for an objective analysis of legal issues, you may be given an assignment, and asked to determine whether your client is likely to prevail on a particular case. In a typical MPT calling for a persuasive answer, you may be required to write a memorandum to a court, or perhaps a letter to the opposing counsel.
You will maximize your score on the MPT if you do six things:
- sort detailed factual materials and separate relevant from irrelevant facts;
- analyze statutory, case, and administrative materials for relevant principles of law;
- apply the relevant law to the relevant facts in a manner likely to resolve a client’s problem;
- identify and resolve ethical dilemmas, when present;
- communicate effectively in writing; and
- complete a lawyering task within time constraints.