Bad News on the First July 2018 MPT Task

How Bar Candidates Went Wrong on the MPTs in July 2018

Many bar candidates fell tragically short on the first July 2018 MPT task, called State v. Hale

For many people, the MPT is a huge obstacle to passing the bar exam. The MPT counts for 20 percent of the total score, but many bar candidates either underestimate it or just don’t know how to prepare. Once again, on the first July 2018 MPT task, State v. Halesome candidates may indeed have struggled to manage the time and finish in 90 minutes. But the main problem, as so often, was that candidates simply failed to follow the instructions. Read on, for how that happened in July. 

The instructions are usually in the partner memo (aka task memo), plus any document it refers to. So the challenge is to read the entire partner memo carefully enough, and also any other document that gives instructions.

I recommend reading the instructions two or three times before doing the analysis of the File and the Library. Then another time before starting to write the work product. And a final time before handing in the paper. That’s what I teach in my book Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT), and in our BarWrite classes, both the 10-Day Intensive and the new 3-Day MPT Crash Course that BarWrite will be offering twice for February 2019, in January and in February. 

In first July 2018 MPT task, State v. Hale, the assignment was to refute the arguments the defendant’s attorney makes in support of his motion for a new trial. The instructions in the partner memo referred to the defendant’s brief. That should have compelled extra-careful reading of the defendant’s brief. If you know how to use the MPT-Matrix(TM), you would have put the defendant’s arguments into your outline.

The defendant’s brief contained three arguments. First, that the government had suppressed the prosecution witness’s recantation, which was favorable to the defendant and material to the outcome, in violation of the rule in Brady v. Maryland, compelling a new trial. Second, that the government had suppressed evidence of what the victim had told the EMT driver, which was also favorable to the defendant and material, contradicting the victim’s trial testimony, and again compelling a new trial. Third, that the court had erred in allowing in hearsay evidence of what the prosecution witness had said to a detective just after the incident–despite the defendant’s having asserted spousal privilege.

Because the defendant’s brief contained those three arguments, the bar candidate’s “Legal Argument” had to argue against all three points. If a bar candidate in the heat of the exam failed to notice one of those arguments, it was curtains for his or her score. Alas.

On the first July 2018 MPT task, however, some candidates responded to only one or two of the defendant’s arguments.

Perhaps they did not read the defendant’s brief from start to finish. Or perhaps they got started outlining their first argument and never went back to read the defendant’s brief again before handing in their work. From my experience studying how the MPT is graded, unfortunately, I’d say sketchy treatment of one or another topic might be tolerated, but to skip a third of the assignment? That does not work. You cannot, alas, expect to get a high grade on the MPT if you do not even attempt to say something, even if short, about each main point. 

Bar candidates must read the MPT instructions carefully and do exactly what the instructions tell them to do.

You do not have to write very much, but you do have to understand the problem, and you do have to do what the instructions tell you to do. Just do exactly what the instructions tell you to do, and show that you have done it, and you will raise your MPT grade. My own draft MPT-Matrix for the first July 2018 MPT task, State v. Hale, is below. Click below to read it.

Click to read  my draft MPT-Matrix for State v. Hale.

How Bar Candidates Went Wrong on the MPTs in July 2018
How Bar Candidates Can go Right on the MPT! Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT)

Here are some other aids to passing the Uniform Bar Exam, for you to consider:

PERFORM YOUR BEST ON THE BAR EXAM PERFORMANCE TEST (MPT): TRAIN TO FINISH THE MPT IN 90 MINUTES “LIKE A SPORT(TM). Best-selling study guide for all Bar Exam Performance Tests. This system helps bar candidates and practicing lawyers produce faster and more effective work products. One reviewer called it “the Swiss Army knife of the MPT.” We use this book in our 3-Day MPT Crash Course. Information here. And in the 10-Day Intensive UBE Bar Review. Information here.m

BARWRITE® 6-DAY MBE IMMERSION COURSE helps you pole-vault the MBE. “My MBE went from a 126 to a 149!” ­- Gemma Waananen Kenney (Member, New York and New Jersey Bars).

BARWRITE® THREE-DAY MPT CRASH COURSE for your best MPT score. “Dr. Gallagher’s MPT-Matrix is like the Harmattan dust storm.” Adeolu Sunday (LL.B. Nigeria)(LLM NYU, passed the February 2018 bar exam).


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