By Natalie White
Updated January 14, 2021
You may be thinking to yourself, why do I need to read an article about how to sign up for the MPRE? Don’t I just go online and click a few buttons?
Well yes, the application is online. And if you made it this far, I’m sure you can figure it out (eventually). But when I signed up for the March 2022 MPRE, it was more difficult than I thought. If you want to save yourself a little time and stress, here is a quick guide on how to sign up for the MPRE.
What is the MPRE?
If you don’t know, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam is a 60-question multiple choice exam that tests professional ethics for lawyers. It is required to enter the bar in every US jurisdiction except for Wisconsin and Puerto Rico, so almost all law students should expect to take it. Learn more about the MPRE here and get test prep help here.
Start the process by going to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) website, go to the top bar, hover over NCBE exams, move to MPRE, and click on registration information. Or do what I did and google “mpre sign up” and click on the first result.
This page is a catch-all page that lists all the dates, account information, fees, scheduling, and everything related to signing-up for the MPRE. If it feels overwhelming, that’s because it is. But if you use control+f, it can be useful if you have a specific question.
Before you go any further, you need to create an NCBE account. If you started the process of signing up for the Uniform Bar Exam, you should have already created an account. If not, make sure you do not lose your username and password, because you will need this account again.
After you make the account, you will be able to request the MPRE and designate what state you want to report it to. You may not know right now where your first job will be and what bar you want to join, but make your best guess (note: federal government lawyers can usually join the bar in any state). You can send your MPRE score to a different state later, but it will cost extra money.
If you need accommodations for your exam, you will apply for them at this step in the process. Honestly, the process looks incredibly confusing and you will need professional medical documentation. Even for a condition like ADHD, there are twelve items you need to include in the medical documentation and thirteen items total to get the accommodations approved. If you need a medical item, hopefully it is approved on the comfort-aid item list, which includes things like hearing aids, wheelchairs, and eyeglasses (which must be removed for inspection, what??).
I completely skipped this step because I didn’t think I needed accommodations. But I am a breastfeeding mother, so maybe I should have looked into the option of pumping during the exam. The MPRE is only two hours, but you need to arrive 30 minutes early and the testing center is 40 minutes from my house, which is pretty tight on the pumping schedule.
However, I have no idea whether the NCBE allows pumping during the exam. The Pearson Vue has rooms for nursing mothers, but the website says to check the NCBE website on whether nursing is allowed during the exam. I can’t find anywhere on the NCBE website about whether pumping is allowed. It is possible to get a stop-the-clock break, but there is no explanation of what conditions qualify. So basically, good luck if you are breastfeeding. I will be pumping in my car after the test.
Once you get through the accommodations, you are ready to pick which time to take the MPRE, whether in March, August, or November. However, you can’t actually sign up for the MPRE on the MPRE website. Instead, you need to open a Pearson Vue account.
Pearson Vue Account
To open the account, you have to receive an email from Pearson Vue that gives you “Authorization to Test.” I received this email a little over two hours after I had finished filling out my information on the NCBE website. Which, by the way, is actually super annoying. I sat down to sign up for the test, but I had to make time later in the day, in between classes, to finish the process.
Once you get the email from Pearson Vue, you need to create a Pearson Vue account. As a note, for this account you will need to create three different security questions. In the world of two-factor authentication, I don’t know why this is necessary, but here we are.
My favorite questions were, “What is your grandmother’s first name?” and “Where did you go on your first honeymoon?” Which grandmother? Does this question secretly assume that we all have a favorite grandmother? And why doesn’t it specify which grandmother, but clearly distinguishes that it was your first honeymoon and not your second or third?
You then get to schedule your appointment. Unlike most other exams, including the LSAT, there is a two-day window to take the exam and you can also take it at multiple times of day. It is kind of nice to have options. Usually, the tests run on Fridays and Saturdays, but for some reason the March and August 2022 sessions are on Wednesday and Thursday. It was a little tricky to figure out this scheduling in the middle of the school semester, but I made it work.
After that, time to cough up the $150 fee (or $220 if you sign up late). Insert rant about the NCBE sucking law students dry for all their money here.
And you’re done! Good luck signing up for the exam and preparing to take it!