The MPT Will Give You More Love Than the Essays

If bar candidates want to pass the bar exam, they should be focusing more on the MPT, less on the MEE.

True, the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) is worth 30 percent of a candidate’s score on the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), while the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is worth 20 percent. But you can make more progress preparing for the UBE in a shorter amount of time if you focus on improving your MPT score. The MPT pay-off per hour of study time is much greater.

Many bar candidates lose sleep over the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE).

Each hour of study for the MEE is a shot in the dark with a relatively small possible pay-off. The essays are scary. They are worth 30 per cent of the exam, and they can touch on any of a twelve different areas of law. And a great many hours of study are demanded. Even if a bar candidate can guess which subjects will be tested on the MEE, for example, Federal Civil Procedure, there is no surefire way to know which topics the examiners will test.

Here’s the list of subjects on the MEE:

MBE Subjects: (1) Contracts and Uniform Commercial Code (UCC Article 2) (2) Torts (3) Federal Civil Procedure (4) Constitutional Law (5) Real Property and Future Interests (6) Federal Rules of Evidence (7) Criminal Law and Procedure Other Subjects: (1) Agency and Partnership Corporations, LLPs, etc. (2) Conflict of Laws (3) Family Law (4) Trusts, Wills, and Estates (5) Secured Transactions (UCC Article 9).

Sometimes it may look as though the examiners are retesting on old tried-and-true topics, like personal and subject-matter jurisdiction in Federal Civil Procedure. But other times, they seem to have searched to find a remote topic that is *rarely or *never previously tested on. To choose one recent example, the Tenth Amendment.

The MPT is entirely different.

By contrast with the MEE essays, for the MPT, there is NO law to study. No law, because the NCBE gives bar candidates all the law they will need to complete each task. The MPT pay-off has to be much greater. That is not to say, of course, that candidates need not prepare thoroughly for the essays. Preparing seriously for the essays is worth the work. It is to point out that the MPT pay-off is greater.

Then how can a bar candidate prepare for the MPT?

The big commercial bar review courses are totally confused about how to prepare for the MPT. They do not know how to help bar candidates prepare. They give students a few hints, and then they pass out a huge pile of old released MPT tasks and say, “Here’s a great big wonderful resource for you, dozens and dozens of old MPT tasks! Go practice!” As the students say, Give me a break.

Many students give up on the MPT. Every MPT seems to be different. Some are briefs or memos, but the format can be anything from a closing argument in a criminal trial to a persuasive letter to a client. Nor do students know how to finish on time, what they call “time management.” Thus, when bar candidates get a low score on the MPT, many times, they do not know what they are doing wrong. Instead of benefiting from the MPT pay-off, they are spinning their wheels.

Practicing the MPT need not, however, be entirely guesswork.

First, the NCBE provides Graders Point Sheets. They are not answer keys, but they do indicate which points the student should make. Second, students can refer to the sample answers in the books that come from the big commercial bar courses. Those books are not guides to managing the time or to self-grading, but they do give an indication, again, of the main points on each task.

BarWrite is different. The BarWrite systems let you handle every MPT task the same way.

Learning systems for handling every MPT the same way enables you to raise your score by working more efficiently and with less anxiety. These systems are the MPT-Matrix(TM) and the MPT Time System(TM). The MPT-Matrix is a system for representing everything you will use in your work product, without taking notes, and on one piece of paper. The MPT Time System enables candidates to finish inside 90 minutes. For bar candidates who want to learn that structure, BarWrite offers a book, Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT), by Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher. The book teaches the MPT-Matrix and the MPT Time System. It contains 12 sample MPT tasks with sample MPT-Matrixes, sample answers, and analyses of the MPT tasks, plus templates for MPT-styled briefs, memos, and letters.

For those who want a class and structure, BarWrite offers a live course in New York City based on the book.

Bar candidates who wish structured practice and feedback on the MPT can learn and practice the BarWrite systems in BarWrite’s 3-Day MPT Crash Course in New York City. People who take the course typically rave about it. Many bar candidates find that actually practicing a number of MPT tasks and getting immediate feedback is the best way to strengthen their skills and raise their scores on the MPT.

After all, the MPT is 20 percent of your score. In other words, at least in theory, you can learn how to raise your score by up to 20 percent. Nothing you can do on the essays will have anything like the same effect. You must of course prepare thoroughly for the essays, but preparing for the MPT will be more fruitful on a per-hour basis. If three days of intensive work on learning systems for all MPT tasks, practicing and getting feedback sounds good to you, sign up today. The 3-Day MPT Crash Course meets in New York City. Enroll here. Stay with friends, or we will be happy to send you a list of hostels and hotels. The big MPT pay-off will help you, too.

The book is available from Legal Books Distributing and also from To sign up for the course, go to the 3-Day page on the BarWrite website. You can benefit from the big MPT pay-off.