The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is normally one of the hoops to hop before you can become a licensed attorney. It’s a 60-question, two-hour, multiple-choice exam that tests your understanding of professional responsibility and ethics. Only 50 questions are graded but you won’t know which ten won’t count. You can take the MPRE in March, August, or November. Like the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) makes the MPRE.
33 Tips to “Crush” the MPRE
Tip #1 – Study
Even though the MPRE is easier than the bar exam, about one in four test takers fails.
Tip #2 – Take a professional responsibility class
Take a professional responsibility class before the MPRE. The class probably won’t fully prepare you, but it should provide a solid start.
Tip #3 – Take a practice exam
See where you’re at. Once you’ve taken a professional responsibility class, take a practice exam before you start studying for the MPRE in earnest. That way, you can properly prioritize your studies.
Tip #4 – Master the rules
Once you know where you’re at, focus on mastering the rules you don’t know before trudging through more practice questions.
Tip #5 – Study the right topics
Study the right topics and subtopics.
- The NCBE lists the basic topics and subtopics covered and their rough exam emphasis.
- Crushendo’s MPRE outline closely mirrors that list.
Tip #6 – Know the key terms
The NCBE also lists and defines many of the key words and phrases covered. Use that list.
Tip #7 – Create a study plan
Create a study plan or calendar and follow it.
Tip #8 – Regularly review
Unless you have a near photographic memory, once or twice through just won’t do.
Tip #9 – Use memory hooks
Crushendo’s MPRE outline comes loaded with memorable mnemonics.
Tip #10 – Write out the rules
Write out the rules that are hardest for you to understand or memorize. Putting things into your own words is very memorable.
Tip #11 – Use flashcards
Use flashcards or have somebody quiz you.
- Crushendo offers visual and audio flashcards for the MPRE.
Tip #12 – Review before bed
Studies suggest studying before you sleep gives you more bang for your buck.
Tip #13 – Listen to audio outlines
Two words: Audio outlines. You can record your own or use Crushendo’s. Audio outlines are a liberating way to get the repetition you need.
Tip #14 – Chunk it up
Study one topic at a time, one subtopic at a time.
- Studying for the MPRE is like building with Lego bricks. You don’t half assemble a castle, and then half assemble a knight, and then half assemble a dragon. You build in chunks, so things don’t get too messy and confusing. You should study like that, too.
Tip #15 – Use reliable practice questions
Use reliable practice questions, preferably the NCBE’s own.
- Crushendo has a licensing agreement with the NCBE to use all its practice questions, so you can buy them directly from the NCBE or you can buy them for less through Crushendo.
Tip #16 – Dissect your mistakes
When you miss a question, figure out why.
Tip #17 – Sub-120
You only have 120 seconds per question. Practice a little faster than that.
Tip #18 – Start with the call of the question
Read the last sentence of each prompt first (i.e., the “call of the question”). This will help you quickly isolate the facts that matter.
Tip #19 – No blanks
Blank answers hurt as much as wrong ones.
Tip #20 – One for one
If you select more than one answer for a question, you’ll get no points. One question, one answer.
Tip #21 – Choose the best possible answer
The best possible answer may not be perfect.
Tip #22 – Avoid absolutes
Answers suggesting a black and white world are usually red flags.
Tip #23 – Evade the unfamiliar
Test writers like to make up new Latin terms, rules, and exceptions. If you’re reasonably competent about ethical rules, odds are that anything that sounds completely unfamiliar is nothing more than an evil trick.
Tip #24 – Rule out easy non-answers
If a question is tough, rule out the easy non-answers. If you narrow it down to two possible right answers, just pick one and move on (you can always come back to it if you have time). But if you’re too much of a perfectionist on tough questions, you can burn time and sabotage odds on the easier ones.
Tip #25 – Obvious doesn’t mean wrong
Just because an answer seems obvious does not mean it’s wrong. Sometimes a question can mess with your mind by being a little too easy.
Tip #26 – Do not contradict facts
Remember, right answers don’t contradict the facts.
Tip #27 – Stay centered
If you feel like the floor is falling out, take a deep breath and try to clear your mind before pressing on.
Tip #28 – Use common sense
Part of common sense is to not overthink it.
Tip #29 – Arrive early
The early bird gets the worm. Register early. Arrive early. Early means less stress and less stress normally means better performance.
Tip #30 – Take the MPRE early
Take the MPRE before your 3L year. If you don’t pass the first time, you’ll still have ample time to re-take the MPRE without adding stress to your bar prep.
Tip #31 – Follow test-day rules
Find out what you must bring, and what you can and cannot bring. The list may change, so stay up on the most recent rules.
Tip #32 – Be prepared
Pack your bag the night before.
Tip #33 – Take care of yourself
Eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep—you get the idea.
For more information about the MPRE, including which states require it, how much it costs, and more, go here.