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by Contributor

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(Apr. 27, 2020) — In most states, law students must take and pass the MPRE before they can be admitted to the Bar. But what is the MPRE – and how can you make sure you successfully get through it? Read on to find out more about this key component of every lawyer’s education.

It’s always best to register in good time – registration usually opens in December for the year to come, with sittings in March, August and November. Registration, which costs $125, is open up to eight weeks in advance of the test; late registration at a fee of $220 carries on for a further week.

Otherwise, all you can do is practice, practice, practice! With this free course, you can access 159 real MPRE questions from previous exams, as well as lectures and other benefits.

You should not sit for the MPRE until you have studied Professional Responsibility at school, but you do not want to wait too long after your PR course either. It’s a good idea to sit for the MPRE as close to learning the materials in school as possible, to ensure it is fresh in your mind.

While you may not use the knowledge from every course you sit in law school in your career, the MPRE relates to matters crucial to every lawyer.

What does the MPRE test?

MPRE stands for Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, and relates to professional ethics. The exam tests you on two American Bar Association codes. One is the Model Rules of Professional Conduct – the body of rules governing ethical behavior for lawyers. The other is the Model Code of Judicial Conduct – the equivalent set of rules for judges.

At law school, you will take a Professional Responsibility course, in which you will study the relevant materials. The main topics covered in the ABA’s codes (and in the MPRE) are:

  • Client confidentiality
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Legal competence (e.g., assessing when underage or mentally ill clients can instruct a lawyer)
  • Handling clients’ money responsibly
  • The role of the lawyer, including his or her duties to the public
  • The relationship between lawyer and client
  • Communications with non-clients
  • Legal advertising
  • The duties of the judge
  • The regulation of the legal profession, including how lawyers are sanctioned for breaches

You can find a full outline of the subjects covered in the test on the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ website.

How is the test set up?

The test is multichoice. Each question presents a scenario followed by four choices of answer.

There are 60 questions. 50 of these questions count towards your final mark. The other 10 are pre-test exploratory questions that are not considered in your final grade, but you cannot tell the difference between exploratory and substantive questions and you should try to get them all right.

Your final score will be scaled, which means that the average score of everyone who sat for the test on that day is taken into account when setting your grade. This is because different questions are presented on each day that the test is set and so the questions may be more or less difficult on some days than on others.

There is no set pass mark for the MPRE: rather, each state has its own requirements for what score you need. As an example, New York requires a scaled score of 85, which in practice translates to getting 32-35 of the 50 substantive questions right.

The MPRE is a digital exam. You are allowed two hours to complete it.

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