About the MPRE

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About the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

Developed by and administered by the National Council of Bar Examiners (NCBE), the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is a multiple-choice exam that evaluates the knowledge and understanding of established standards governing a lawyer’s professional conduct. This article will offer you insights on the MPRE, so you know what to expect when it is time to take the exam.

Table of Contents

  1. The MPRE in General
    • Jurisdictions that require the MPRE
    • Relevant law tested
    • Passing scores for each jurisdiction
    • How many hours to study for the MPRE
  2. When To Sit for the MPRE
    • When the MPRE is held
    • Why the timing of the MPRE matters
    • Basic logistics
    • Registration deadlines for the November 2021 MPRE
  3. Choosing the Right MPRE Course
    • Outlines (long and short outlines)
    • Modularized lectures (limited to 25 minutes per video)
    • Hundreds of practice questions with answer explanations (majority are from previous MPRE administrations)
    • Getting access to the course and materials

1. The MPRE in General

The MPRE is one of the exams law students must pass to become licensed attorneys in all four jurisdictions (WI, PR, CT, and NJ).
Relevant materials covered within the MPRE include the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC), the ABA Model Rules of Judicial Conduct (MRJC), controlling constitutional decisions, and generally accepted principles established in leading federal cases, state cases, and in procedural and evidentiary rules. Check out NCBE’s MPRE Subject Matter Outline.
Since ABA-accredited law schools have a Professional Responsibility or Ethics course as part of their curricula, many students often remark that they don’t need to study much for the MPRE. And yet, it is precisely for heeding that advice that over 20% of students don’t pass the MPRE (this statistic doesn’t include the examinees who “pass” in at least one jurisdiction but fail to achieve their target jurisdiction’s minimum score). See the table below for MPRE minimum scores by jurisdiction:
While the MPRE is not as difficult as the bar exam, most students should still study between 20 and 30 hours. Since neither the MPRE nor the bar exam is curved, it is up to each student to prepare thoroughly to develop the habit of getting enough questions correct to pass. Click the following link to learn more about MPRE scores.
The MPRE is currently held three times a year in March, August, and November. Having multiple annual administrations provides some flexibility for when to sit for the exam. However, students should also consider this one thing when deciding to sit for the MPRE: the age of the MPRE.
Each jurisdiction has its own limit on how old an MPRE score can be. For instance, Virginia only allows for an MPRE score to be 2 years old. If an applicant achieved an 85 on the MPRE 2.5 years before passing the Virginia Bar Exam, they would have to retake the MPRE and score 85 to become licensed. Alternatively, many jurisdictions allow applicants to achieve a valid MPRE score after sitting for the bar exam. However, taking the MPRE after the bar exam may delay the applicant’s licensure.
Check out this Directory of State Bar Admission Agencies for links to the bar exam websites to learn more about your target jurisdiction(s).

2. When To Sit for the MPRE

To err on the side of safety and maximize your options, we generally recommend that students sit for the MPRE during the August administration of their final year in law school. This period is typically after summer work or during a less busy time at work and before classes resume.
While designed and administered by the NCBE, students sit for the MPRE in person at a Pearson VUE testing center of their choice. For more information about the testing dates and registration process, check out MPRE Registration Information – NCBE (ncbex.org).
The Registration Deadline for the November 2021 MPRE is September 17, 2021. Alternatively, if you plan to have accommodations for the MPRE, NCBE recommends submitting your application by August 2nd each year.

3. Preparing for the MPRE

There are many resources to choose from to prepare for the MPRE, including NCBE’s materials and third-party prep providers. However, all prep providers aren’t made equal, so make sure to vet the review course(s) carefully you intend to use to prepare for the MPRE.
Consider the following features when choosing the right MPRE course:
  • Long outlines that flesh out your understanding complemented by short outlines that serve as “cheat sheets”
  • Lectures divided into chapters that are no longer than 30 minutes and focus on specific points of law.
  • Multiple-choice questions that help you drill the application of the black letter law to facts
  • Answer explanations written in an IRAC format, further reinforcing your understanding of the law and how it applies to the facts
We recommend preparing with Themis’s free MPRE study aids. You can get access to all of the above features by setting up your free Themis account with the free materials (1L, Upper-level, or MPRE). Once signed into your account, click “Add Program” within the Free Programs section, then add the free materials attorneys you would like (1L, Upper-level, or MPRE).

Final Takeaways

Although it isn’t as challenging as the other bar exam components, you should still make sure you adequately prepare for the MPRE because most jurisdictions require you to pass this exam before you can obtain a license to practice law. We wish you the best of luck with the MPRE!
Prepare with UWorld MBE and Themis Bar Review for the ultimate bar exam prep experience.

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