What Are the Different Types of MPRE Practice?

C. Mitchell

Students hoping to pass the multistate professional responsibility examination, or MPRE, typically practice by studying old exams, purchasing MPRE review books, and enrolling in review courses, either in person or online. There are many different means of MPRE practice. Most of the time, students employ a combination of different study techniques to better their chances of passing.

Students can purchase MPRE review books and study on their own.
Students can purchase MPRE review books and study on their own.

A firm grasp of professional responsibility and ethical conduct is essential for any attorney at law. Each U.S. jurisdiction has laws and regulations compelling lawyers to act ethically. Most would-be lawyers have taken an ethics or professional responsibility course in law school, but coursework is not usually enough to prepare one for success on the MPRE.

THE NCBE typically sells MPRE practice exams.
THE NCBE typically sells MPRE practice exams.

Lawyer training is usually a bit different than law student training. In order to succeed on the MPRE, a student must know not only the underlying ethics laws and issues, but also the skills and tips necessary to succeed on the test itself. Much of MPRE practice is devoted to understanding the test format and common question patterns.

The most common MPRE practice method is working through sample exams. Practice exams and exams from past years are typically sold through the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). The NCBE is a private organization that administers the MPRE and other related standardized tests, such as the multistate bar exam. In addition, the NCBE typically publishes an annual MPRE study guide, which many students find useful.

Commercial study guides are also popular MPRE practice options. Books, flashcards, and simulated exams are widely available, and can prove helpful to the self-disciplined studier. Most of the time, these kinds of study guides provide a combination of tips and advice on the exam and actual practice problems.

Prep courses can also be a valuable means of MPRE practice. Most of the time, these courses are condensed into an afternoon or weekend, which allows students to study for a state bar exam simultaneously. They are also frequently offered online, often for free or only a minimal cost. Online courses typically offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling than do in-person courses, but may not be as comprehensive.

The MPRE is typically administered in conjunction with individual states’ bar examinations, but its substance is not usually covered in the curriculum of bar review courses. This is largely because the MPRE is a national exam that is scored entirely independent of state bar exams. A student who fails only the MPRE need only repeat the MPRE — not the entire bar exam. The inverse is also true. Bar prep courses may offer additional MPRE practice courses, but they are usually billed and conducted separately.

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