When studying for the MPT (Multistate Performance Test), you can use MPT point sheets or sample answers – or both! – to help you to understand how well you did on your practice answer. There are definite differences between these two methods, so let’s take a look at what each has to offer.
Using MPT Sample Answers
A common way to evaluate your answer is to look at the sample answers provided by the Bar Examiners. However, you must always keep in mind that even the best answers from real world test takers are not going to be perfect. You should not allow yourself to be intimidated by these answers either! Instead, look at them for what they are: one of the hundreds of possible “good answers” that were written during an actual exam.
Usually, what you can take away from these is a good example of the format you were asked to use. How does it compare to the format that you used in your answer? The format is important, so a sample answer can really help you if you happen to be struggling with a particular format.
Keep in mind that the most frequently requested format is the memo. The memo is followed closely by the brief. Letters come in as the third most common format.
There will be curve balls, however, so you must be prepared for anything. There have been MPTs that requested bench memos, exploratory memos, or even closing arguments!
How can I prepare for a particular format?
Be sure to look over as many MPT questions as possible. Look at the sample answers to brush up on format – and be sure to look at more than one sample answer.
The answers will all be somewhat different, but all of them were singled out as exemplary. Take a good look at a few different sample answers for the same question, in order to get a good feel for the proper tone and format the graders were looking for.
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Using MPT Point Sheets
Personally, I believe that point sheets are of critical importance when training for the MPT. What is fantastic about the point sheets is that they include absolutely every point of importance that can be properly discussed in your answer.
Remember that no one will get all of them! Some answers will contain more points than others – and they are all still great answers. You do not have to hit every point to get a great score on the MPT.
But the wonderful thing about point sheets is that you can see if you are thinking along the same lines as the examiners. Are you on the right track? How many points did you hit? What did you miss, and how important was it to the overall score? (In other words, you might be okay if what you missed was minor.)
You can see where, if at all, your thinking went off-topic. You can see how to better stay on subject and on task, so that no time is wasted during the actual exam.
How are MPT point sheets formatted?
Keep in mind that MPT point sheets are not formatted. They are basically a bullet point list of topics, subtopics, issues and their corresponding relevant rules, and analysis points. A point sheet will also include a conclusion. The NBE has older point sheets you can reference.
Think of a point sheet like a checklist. The more points you can check off and include in your answer, the better. Again, you don’t have to check off all of them, but it’s nice to know all the subtleties of what the graders can grant you points for discussing.
As you can see, it is extremely helpful to use both the sample answers and point sheets when studying for the MPT. Combined, they will give you a great deal to work from in perfecting your answers for the big day. Good luck!
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