MPRE Guide

By: Pamela Jordan, Tests.com Contributing Writer

To become licensed to practice law in all but four jurisdictions, an individual must first pass the multistate professional responsibility examination, or the MPRE.  This exam is a prerequisite to the bar exam.

The MPRE is administered by ACT on behalf of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). It is taken by law school students before graduation in all states except Maryland, Puerto Rico, Washington and Wisconsin. Also, Connecticut and New Jersey waive the requirement if students receive a grade of “C” or better in a law school course of professional ethics.

The exam is set up to measure a student’s knowledge of established values associated with a lawyer’s professional conduct. The MPRE is a standardized 60 question multiple-choice exam that lasts two hours  and five minutes. Of the 60 questions, 50 are scored. The remaining 10 unscored questions are used for future exams. Because scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly, students are advised to answer every question.

The questions are based on:

-          ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct

-          ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct

-          Principles established in leading federal and state cases and in procedural and evidentiary rules.

The test covers a broad range of subjects including representation of clients, conduct before the court and judicial ethics.  The test does not generally deal with local statutes or rules of court.  A question may, however, include a local statue or rule that must be considered in providing an answer.  The purpose of the test is to measure the examinees knowledge and understanding of the standards governing a lawyer’s conduct and is not meant to determine an examinee’s personal ethical values.

For a detailed list of the exam’s content, please visit www.ncbex.org  in the MPRE information booklet.

The exam is offered three times a year in March, August and November.

The fee for the examination is $63 for applications received by the regular receipt deadline, and $126 for applications received after this deadline and before the late application date. Applicants can apply online at www.act.org/mpre., or by mail by sending a paper application to the MPRE Application Department. However, using the online application is strongly advised. Upon completion of the application an admission ticket will be sent to your home. The admission ticket will list the test date and assigned testing center. Applicants must bring the admission ticket to the testing center in order to be admitted.

Approximately five weeks after completing the MPRE, a score report will be sent to the applicant either by email or USPS depending on how you applied. The score report will contain the scaled score. A scaled score takes the raw score, or the number of questions answered correctly, and statistically adjusts the raw score based on the difficulty level of the exam. For example, if your test was more difficult than previous tests, your score will increase to adjust for the difference.

It is important for students to fully prepare for the examination. Online study guides and practice examinations are available online for purchase at the National Conference of Bar Examiner’s website.

To find test preparation materials, see our MPRE Directory.