Let's talk about the MPRE

the basics.

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam or MPRE is a two-hour, sixty (60) question multiple choice exam given by NCBE (National Committee of Bar Examiners) three times per year. The MPRE tests your knowledge of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Each jurisdiction has their own minimum score requirements and they do vary from state to state, with minimum score requirements ranging from 50 to 150. Here in California you have to score an 86 to pass the MPRE. The map above, from the NCBE shows what score must be achieved from state to state. This link (https://thebarexaminer.ncbex.org/2020-statistics/the-multistate-professional-responsibility-examination-mpre/) also has some great information regarding the MPRE in general and score requirements.

study tools.

The good thing about the MPRE is that there are TONS of free (reputable) bar prep companies out there giving away their MPRE courses and outlines for free. Why you might ask? Well, because they know if you like their MPRE materials, there is a chance you may come back to them for a bar prep course which I can guarantee will NOT be free. My suggestion when it comes to picking a prep course, is to find a study method and materials that you like and use other materials as a supplement, if needed. I personally wouldn't recommend paying a ton of money for MPRE materials or for a tutor unless you have already taken the exam and was not successful, or you know in advance that you need the one-on-one support.

In addition to supplemental materials, most colleges offer a Professional Responsibilities (PR) course that students can take to help prep for the MPRE. BUT--- be careful in relying solely on your course materials. As some of you know, I took 1/2 a semester of PR during the summer 2021 and quickly realized that the teaching method was not going to be what I needed to pass the MPRE. Why you might ask? Well because California has not completely adopted the ABA Model Rules, and some rules vary significantly between the ABA and the CRPC (California Rules of Professional Conduct). In my PR class we were tasked with learning ALL of the rules for both the ABA and the CRPC during the summer semester to pass the class and then relying on that knowledge to flip the CRPC light off and turn on the ABA switch to pass the MPRE in August. That method didn't work for me. I ended up taking a semester off, took the self-study approach, and sat for the MPRE in March 2022.

my study method.

Before I go into how I studied, I'd like to make a few disclaimers: (1) Not everything works for everybody. Some people take their required PR class and sail right through the MPRE with no issues...I am not that person, and that is ok. (2) One size does not fit all when it comes to test prep. You have to find a method that works best for you. We all have slightly different learning styles so take your time to find a path that works for your unique learning style, even if that means tweaking things a little. (3) Timing matters! I had some extra time since I was not in classes during the fall 2021 semester and my spring 2022 semester was light (only 4 credit hours), so I had time to experiment with the various test prep courses and find a combination that I really liked. I also had less pressure since my course load was light and I wasn't juggling a ton of homework during my MPRE prep. If you have a light semester coming up...consider preparing for the MPRE then, instead of while taking a heavier course load.

my opinions of the courses.

Another disclaimer- I do not work for nor am I sponsored by any of the companies I plan on discussing. I will touch on how much of the materials/programs I completed and give my basic thoughts on each prep method I personally used. This is not an exhaustive list, meaning there are a TON of other options out there so if none of these work for you... keep looking or try a combination of a few different sources of information. My comments are here as my personal opinion only (used to critique each program), names and images used are not intended to infringe on any copyright/trademark laws.

BarBri-- BarBri has a pretty robust (free) MPRE prep program that a lot of schools use during the Professional Responsibilities course. The BarBri MPRE course offers video lectures, a PDF of a lecture handout/fill-in the blank form, a PDF of their MPRE course book, and a ton of practice questions. You can also get a physical study book by paying for shipping. I started the BarBri MPRE program in the summer of 2021 and re-started again this past spring before I tested in March. I completed the entire lecture course and 85% of the additional practice questions provided. I read through most of the course book and really liked the condensed outlines provided in the book. I will note that the BarBri course is for MPRE prep (meaning ABA rules only). If you live in a state that has not adopted the ABA Model Rules exactly as written, you will likely need to study separately for your PR course and/or for bar prep as most states/school test for both sets of rules.

Themis-- Themis was probably one of my favorite MPRE prep course for multiple reasons. I found the Themis videos to be enjoyable to watch, which is important when doing any type of test prep right? I mean if the videos/lectures are painful to watch... how are we going to get through them and remain engaged? I found that Themis did a really good job at keeping the videos entertaining while still providing thorough information. They also have a booklet you can download and use during your studies. I watched all of the Themis lectures, read through the outline/study guide, and completed all the practice questions/exams.

JD Advising-- I love, love, love the JD Advising outline. If you are studying for the MPRE get their attack outline!! With that being said, I felt that the videos (or the ones I watched) were simply the instructor reading from the outline/rules and adding very little extra information. I did read through and use the outline heavily, but I did not sit through many of the lectures (maybe 2). JD Advising also has a great question bank, which was extremely helpful when I started doing mock exams. JD Advising offers the course information through Canvas which I really like as you can track your progress and it just feels a lot more "official" for lack of a better work. JD Advising also offers one-on-one tutoring which could come in handy if you are struggling with the exam. As I mentioned, I watched approximately 2 videos, loved the outline, and did several rounds of practice questions.

Quimbee-- I believe I mentioned this in another post, but I am a BIG Quimbee fan!! I love the short videos that they provide which are both animated and easy to watch. For MPRE prep, Quimbee has the same short video lectures they provide for other subjects, coupled with practice questions after each section. They also have a really great outline that you can download a print (but I believe you have to pay to be able to download the PDF version of the outline). Quimbee also has several mock exams that I found really helpful. For Quimbee I completed the entire MPRE prep program and used their outline for additional studying.

ABA Model Rules-- This one may sound crazy, but I purchased a copy of the ABA model rules and read them all (including most of the comments). I focused heavily on learning those rules and used the comments as a reference if the rule was confusing or if I found myself stuck on something. You may be wondering why I would purchase the ABA Rules if I had all the rules in the outlines and books offered through the free programs (mentioned above), and I asked myself that same question but I know my learning style. I like the facts without all the fluff. The ABA Model Rules (in this book) are just that, the rules and the comments from the ABA, with no additional information. I found that the different test prep books have a lot of extra fluff that may be helpful to some, but became distracting for me. I used the book pictured here and purchased it from Amazon.

final thoughts.

Was my approach to the MPRE overkill? Possibly. I knew that I had extra time and I wanted to write this blog post to give a review of the various programs offered. I also didn't want to give my advice or opinion unless I really used the product and at least attempted to go through the materials myself. As I have mentioned before, I really want this law school journey of mine to be transparent so here we are! I spent approximately 3 months studying at a steady pace for the MPRE. While studying, I was still working full-time, being a mom (because that job never ends), and taking my courses which were light, but still required my time and energy. My final suggestions are to experiment on your own using the products mentioned here to find a study routine that works for you. If you like to get straight to the point I would highly recommend getting a copy of the ABA rules and studying those first! Once you have an idea of what the rules are, move on to watching either the BarBri or Themis videos and complete the practice exams they provide. I would also highly recommend Quimbee, but I will caution that their short videos do not provide an overview of all the information. Quimbee is a great resource to hit on the most highly tested topics in a way that makes the information rememberable and easy to understand. From there, I would focus on practice exams and go back and review the questions you miss with a fine tooth comb. Try to not just memorize the information but really understand the rules and how they apply as Professional Responsibilities (in general) is something that the bar writers love to throw into essay questions, so it is great to know the rules themselves, but even better to understand how they work in various situations. My results, well as I mentioned above, to pass the MPRE in California you must score at least an 86. I received a score of 105!!

If you have questions about the MPRE, my study method, or are struggling with a particular topic- I would love to talk with you more. Feel free to email me at: kathywinkleman@outlook.com or send me a message on Instagram @legally.possible. Good luck with your exam!!

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