law is given
The Multi-state Performance Test is a 90 minute open-book, closed-universe research problem. You are given facts and all the law you need. You write a legal document to report your solution to the problem. The legal document can be a letter to a client, a discovery plan or a negotiation plan as well as more traditional legal memoranda.
The MPTE just started appearing on bar exams in February 1997 and, because it's so new, there are no experts to help students prepare. But the MPTE was modeled after California's PT exam, which has been on the exam since July 1983. When I say "modeled after, " it's actually an understatement. The first two MPTE, used experimentally in several states when the exam was under development, were replicas of California PT exams. Exams that actually appeared on California's PT exam as 3-hour exams were cut in half and appeared as two separate MPTE exams of 90 minutes each!
legal reasoning
Because the law you need is given, the MPTE is not testing whether you know the law. Rather, it tests reasoning: legal analysis, fact analysis, problem solving and communication. The MPTE is also not testing you on whether you know how to write a particular kind of legal document. The exam gives you a detailed set of instructions with examples on exactly how your answer should look.

identify issues

read quicky

to facts

So the way to pass the MPTE is to identify the legal issue or issues in the Assignment Memo, read the file quickly, find the rules of the cases, and follow the formatting instructions on what your answer to look like. Since you are being graded on legal analysis, fact analysis, problem solving and how you explain your analysis in written form, organizing law to fact is the most important use of your time. MPTE's give you the issues in the Assignment Memo. Case rules set out clearly. So you need to speed up your reading of the files and get to the key rule in the cases and spend the greatest amount of time linking the rule elements to facts. You take 15-20 minutes to read the entire booklet and reserve 30 minutes to write your answer. That gives you 40-45 minutes to engage in the legal analysis and fact analysis that you will report in your answer. Since your grade depends on legal reasoning, it makes sense to spend the bulk of your time organizing and analyzing.


you need
an approach
time use

I have taken the California Performance Test for the Committee of Bar Examiners when the test was under development and have graded the California PT exam. I have been teaching performance test analysis and writing in two law schools and in The Writing Edge Bar Review Course since 1986. I have read and analyzed every California Performance Test that's been on the California Bar -- some 54 PT's. And I have worked with thousands of students to perfect an approach. I teach you how to spend your time and how to read the facts and library so you maximize legal reasoning and your score on the PT.

For my students the PT is the easiest part of the Bar exam to pick up extra points. The MPTE is half the length of California's PT but the exam is similar in all respects. No matter what state you're in, I can help you pass the MPTE.

©1997-2013 Vivian Dempsey. Phone: 510-644-3343

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