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MPT Bar Exam Tips — Ethics Issues

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MPT Bar Exam Tips — Ethics IssuesMPT bar exam tips -- ethics issues

MPT Bar Exam Tips — Ethics Issues are Key. In our 2-Day MPT Crash Course in New York we find that students often have gaps in their approach to the MPT that can get in the way of high performance. They may overlook ethics issues, for example, just because they aren’t looking for them. But the bar examiners think ethics is foundational, and the MPT often raises ethics considerations. The MPT counts for 20 per cent of the UBE grade, so it’s important to know what to look for. The following tips on spotting and handling ethics issues on the MPT come from our book Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT), © Mary Campbell Gallagher, 2011. Students receive a copy in the 2-Day MPT Crash Course, the 4-Day Bar Camp: MPT and Essays, and the 10-Day Intensive.

Ethical considerations may arise in anything that we do as attorneys. The NCBE says that recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas is tested on the MPT.[1] The relationship between attorney and client, between attorney and opposing counsel, between our families and the parties’ families, our prior representation of parties in similar cases, our interests in fee disputes and in the interests at stake in the lawsuit, all are fertile ground for ethical issues on the bar examination. The MPT is a portion of the exam where you are practicing law in a fictional jurisdiction with simulated case law and statutes. But the basic ethical principles you must apply are universal.

The Bar Examiners May Provide  Means for Avoiding or Resolving Ethical Issues

But note that as fast as the bar examiners put forth an ethical dilemma, they may also provide means for avoiding it or finding a remedy, for example, in the form of a statutory exception that alleviates a possible conflict of interest. Make sure to notice whether the Partner Memorandum mentions an ethical question. If so, take special care to spell out in detail how it will affect your work in aiding the client.

Make a Separate Section for the Ethical Issue and Label Clearly

The MPT materials may or may not include statutes or case law touching on the ethical issue you have noticed. You must nonetheless show the graders that you have recognized this ethical issue. It is important to state clearly, in a separately-labeled section, that there is a possible ethical issue. Explain what the issue is. Use the word “ethical.” Make it unmistakably clear that you know you are confronting an ethical issue.

Discuss how you could handle the issue. Suggest what type of disclosure or other resolution is available. The ethical issue may be one where consent of the client suffices, leaving representation unaffected. Where receiving consent from the client will resolve the ethical issue, you must state that fact explicitly. Then continue with the remainder of the MPT task.

We Offer Help on the MPT in Courses, Coaching, and a Terrific Book

If you need help with the MPT, our 2-Day MPT Crash Course, in New York City will help you. At the least, you should plan to use our book Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT), © Mary Campbell Gallagher, 2011. Take a look at our offerings below. If you think the answer is private tutoring, we offer that, too.

BARWRITE® 10-DAY INTENSIVE helps you master the MPT and the essays and pole-vault the MBE. “My MBE went from a 126 to a 149!” ­- Gemma Waananen Kenney (Member, New York and New Jersey Bars).

BARWRITE® 6-DAY MBE IMMERSION COURSE. This MBE course focuses on mastering the most-frequently tested law and applying it to new fact patterns.


[1] NCBE, Skills Tested, http://www.ncbex.org/multistate-tests/mpt/mpt-faqs/skills-tested/



How an MBE Course is Like an Essay Course

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How an MBE Course is Like an Essay Course

Both in MBE courses and in essay courses students practice applying rules of law to fact patterns. The rules of law have to be the same for both courses, because it’s all the same law. In our BarWrite courses for the MBE we teach students that applying the law to the facts must also be the same. The same skills apply to the MBE as to the bar exam essays

As an example, take the following fact pattern, which we analyze first as if it were part of an essay fact pattern and then as if it were on the MBE. The facts will be the same. In this case, we structure the MBE to ask which rule of law applies. Many other types of MBE questions are of course also possible. But in all cases, the process of analysis is the same for the MBE as for the essays.

Fact Pattern for the Essay or for the MBE

FACT PATTERN. Student was studying in the living room of her dormitory at the University when someone who did not live in that dorm burst into the room and attacked her. The door to the dorm was unlocked, because the lock had been broken for a week.


Under the common law of torts, the elements of negligence are duty, breach, actual cause, proximate cause, and harm. Applying the traditional rules of landowner duty to invitees, licensees, and trespassers, University arguably has the duty to a student in a dormitory of a landowner to an invitee. That is the duty to make the premises safe. Alternatively, University arguably has a duty as a landlord to prevent unauthorized access to the building.

Here, on a theory of landlord’s duty to an invitee, University has the duty to make the dormitory safe. Alternatively, a landlord-tenant theory, University has a duty to prevent unauthorized access to the dormitory. On either theory, University breached its duty when it permitted a lock on the back door of the dormitory to remain broken for a week. But for University’s breach, the non-resident might not have been able to get into the dormitory and attack the plaintiff. University’s breach was also the proximate cause of the harm to the plaintiff because she was a foreseeable plaintiff in the zone of danger. The harm was that the intruder attacked the plaintiff, who appears to have suffered physical consequences.

Therefore, the plaintiff can state a prima facie case in negligence against University.

The Analysis Must be the Same for an MBE Question.

Assume that the same facts are given on the MBE as on the essay exam.


What argument is most likely to be successful for the plaintiff?


(a) University had a duty to prevent attacks;
(b) University had a duty to protect against known risks;
(c) University had a duty to make the premises safe;
(d) University had a duty to warn of dangers of which it was aware

The correct answer is answer (c). The University had a duty to make the premises safe for tenants. That is correct if you analyze the question as raising the issue of the duty of a landowner to an invitee. The other answers are wrong. As to answer (a), the University had no duty to prevent attacks. That might well be impossible, and in any event it is not the university’s duty. Answer (b) is wrong because the duty to protect against known risks does not apply to invitees, but to licensees. Answer (d) is wrong because the duty to warn of dangers of which the University was aware is the landowner’s duty to known trespassers, and the plaintiff here is not a trespasser.

The Best MBE Course Treats the MBE as Testing on How Law Applies to Facts

An MBE course should treat the MBE as just like the essays. In both, the bar candidate must apply law to facts. The bar exam is about knowing the law and applying it. The point is not to dance with the answer choices. The MBE does not have any mysterious aspect that means candidates should rely on extraneous factors like whether an answer choice focuses on the law or the facts. That is hokum. Just apply the law to the facts. In the same way as for the essays. If an MBE course focuses on  how to pick the right answer choice it has gone off the rails. An MBE course should instead focus on knowing the law and applying it.

The Key is Understanding the Law, Memorizing the Law, and Learning to Apply Law to Facts

You will need to understand the law, memorize the law, and learn to apply the law. It’s that straightforward. Take a look at our blog post on the key importance of memorization for the bar exam.

If you are having trouble with the MBE, our 6-Day Immersion Course or our 10-Day Intensive will help you. And if you think private tutoring is the ticket, we can help you there, too. Write to Info@BarWrite.com.


BARWRITE® 10-DAY INTENSIVE helps you master the MPT and the essays and pole-vault the MBE. “My MBE went from a 126 to a 149!” ­- Gemma Waananen Kenney (Member, New York and New Jersey Bars).

BARWRITE® 6-DAY MBE IMMERSION COURSE. This MBE course focuses on mastering the most-frequently tested law and applying it to new fact patterns.


Students’ Challenges on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

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Students' Challenges on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)Students’ Challenges on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) Include Following the Directions and Managing Time

While the essays test on the law, and the MPT does not, and while the MPT may require gathering new facts, but the essays do not, both the essays and the MPT require legal analysis, and both have strict time limits. Students’ challenges on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) include following the instructions and managing the research Continue reading Students’ Challenges on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)

What is the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)? Law-Office Skills.

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What is the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)? Law-Office Skills

What is the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)? Law-Office Skills. The MPT is a 90-minute test of law office skills that is part of the bar exam in 40 states. It is one of three components in the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). The second component of the UBE is the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) a computer-scored test. The third component is the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). The MPT is also a key component of the bar exam in many non-UBE states.

In our BarWrite 2-Day MPT Crash Course in New York, we stress that the MPT counts for 20 per cent of the UBE grade. So it’s important to understand its purpose during MPT bar Continue reading What is the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)? Law-Office Skills.

MPT Bar Exam Tips: What Not to Worry About

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MPT bar exam tips what not to worry aboutMPT Bar Exam Tips: What Not to Worry About

MPT Bar Exam Tips: What Not to Worry About on the MPT. In our 2-Day MPT Crash Course in New York we find that students have worries about the MPT that can get in the way of high performance. The MPT counts for 20 per cent of the UBE grade, so it’s important to know what not to worry about during your MPT bar exam preparation. The following material on what not to worry about comes from our book Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT), © Mary Campbell Gallagher, 2011. Students receive a copy in the 2-Day MPT Crash Course, the 4-Day Bar Camp: MPT and Essays, and the 10-Day Intensive.

Students Worry About Producing A Lot of Writing

MPT bar exam tips: what not to worry about includes writing a lot. On the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) your job is to produce a draft work product at the standard of a first-year lawyer. You have to try to solve the problem, and you have to finish what you start. You are not being paid by the word, like Charles Dickens. The bar examiners will not grade you on the number of pages you fill. Get in and get out.

Producing Polished Writing

On the MPT you must produce a draft work product and finish it in 90 minutes. MPT bar exam preparation should focus on learning to organize the work and get it done fast. If you take the time to phrase your sentences beautifully, you may not finish on time. As my MPT teaching assistant Sarina Sigel rightly said, “The MPT will never be your best work.” Learn to live with it. The most important things are to understand the task, follow the instructions, and finish the job. Get in and get out.

Making Sure You Have the Details Exactly Right

Your work product on the MPT is just a draft. It is not a law review article or a brief you will submit to the Supreme Court of the United States. You will inevitably make mistakes. Leave them, go on, and if you have time at the end, go back and correct them. Except in appellate briefs, do not concern yourself with citation form. Just name the case or the statute. Period. Push on, and finish. Once you have finished the task, you can go back, but not before then. Get in and get out.

Producing a Sophisticated Piece of Legal Analysis

The issues in Multistate Performance Test (MPT) tasks tend to be straightforward, and the bar examiners will normally provide guidance within the File or the Library on how best to do the work. You are only a first-year lawyer. The task memo is asking you to prepare a draft that a first-year lawyer might prepare. The task memo is not asking you to demonstrate the most challenging level of legal work.

Using the Law You Learned in Law School

Far from expecting you to use the law you learned in law school, the drafters of the Multistate Performance Test tell you emphatically not to use the law you learned in law school. If you think you recognize a case in the MPT Library, be careful. The drafters may have changed that case. The MPT asks you to use the skills you learned in law school, but it does not normally ask you to apply specific rules of law you already know.

Impressing the Grader

Of all of our MPT bar exam tips, this is one of the most important. If your ambition is to dazzle the graders with your work product on the MPT, you will be disappointed. All MPT bar exam preparation must stress that the MPT is about following directions, managing time, and producing an organized, lawyerlike, draft that responds to the directions. Completing the MPT work product requires competence, not special gifts. The MPT does not allow the needed scope for brilliance. If you insist on aiming for brilliance, you will simply not have time to finish the job, and your grade will suffer.

What the Task of Writing the Multistate
Performance Test Really Is

Your task on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is to act like a first-year lawyer. You are an associate in a law firm, or a junior attorney in a government agency, or a clerk to a judge. The senior lawyer who sends you an assignment in a task memo (“Partner Memo”) on the MPT expects you to act like a junior lawyer drafting a work product.

Among the factors the bar examiners will look at in grading the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) are these. Did the bar candidate follow the instructions? Has the bar candidate understood the client’s problem and the main legal issue in the case and tried to resolve it? Did the bar candidate perform sound legal analysis? Use statutes and other legal resources competently? Spot and resolve ethical issues? Give the work product an orderly structure? Communicate clearly and appropriately? Manage the time?

Remember, your job on the MPT is to produce a draft, not a polished piece of writing. You do not have time for that. Make your motto, “Get in and get out.” Trying to produce beautiful writing too often leads to long-winded, pretentious, writing, writing that will not favorably impress the grader. Trying to perfect each sentence or each paragraph of your work as you go along will make you waste your time, and time is your most precious asset on the MPT. Get in and get out.

The Single Greatest Key to Success on the MPT is Following the Instructions in the Partner Memo

Success on the MPT depends more than anything else on taking exquisite care to understand the instructions in the Partner Memo. Strangely enough, given the fact that you are under enormous time pressure, success on the MPT requires slowing down at the beginning. It means rereading the directions in the task memo several times. You should not plunge into the work until you have some idea of what legal issues the client’s problem raises. It means thinking about what kinds of facts and law might help you solve the client’s problem before you start looking for the facts and law in the File and Library.

Following the instructions in the task memo is vital to success on the MPT. Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT) suggests that you should read the instructions three times. Yes, even after you have begun work, you should go back. Read the directions in the task memo at least twice more. First, go back and read the directions in the Partner Memo again after you have prepared your outline and worked through the File and Library. That is before you start to write the work product. It is to make sure you are on the right track. Then read the instructions in the Partner Memo one last time when you are re-checking everything in the final five minutes before you hand in your paper.

On the MPT Students should worry most about reading the Partner Memo with care.

Students worry about things that distract them from reading the Partner Memo with exquisite care. That, however, is the  most important single thing a bar candidate does on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).

If you need help on the MPT, think about taking the 2-Day MPT Crash Course in New York City! At the very least, order Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT). It has helped many, many people. Look at the reviews on Amazon!





MPT Bar Exam Tips on Using Case Law

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MPT Bar Exam Tips on Using Case LawMPT Bar Exam Tips on Using Case Law

At BarWrite the Multistate Performance Test is our specialty. Dr. Gallagher’s study guide Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT) teaches systems for finishing the MPT work product in 90 minutes and scoring high on the the MPT. You can see the reviews on Amazon. Students learn the MPT systems in our 10-Day intensive, in the 4-Day Bar Camp, in the 2-day MPT Crash Course. And of course, they may learn it in one-on-one coaching. Everywhere except in the 6-Day MBE Immersion Course, that is. MPT bar exam tips on using case law are fundamental.

Following are some of our tips for using the case law on the MPT. They come from Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT).

Some Tips for Using Case Law on the MPT from Perform Your Best

In the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) the bar examiners aim to “evaluate your ability to handle a select number of legal authorities in the context of a factual problem involving a client.” Legal authorities in the MPT Library are usually either statutes or cases. The Library may also include selections from hornbooks, official commentaries, or even newspapers or web sites.

After you read the facts, and before you read the cases, read the statutes. Cases usually interpret statutes, rather than the other way around. If the statutes are too long or too complicated for close reading, skim to get the objectives. If possible, study the key statute, and if there are elements, number them.

Next, survey the cases. Using the cases on the MPT is easier than doing case research in the real world. On the MPT, the Library component of the task gives you the only case law you will need. You cannot possibly miss an important case on the MPT. The bar examiners have given you the case law. If you are using the MPT system in Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT), you will be reading and analyzing the case law while making your MPT-MatrixTM.

Decide Whether Each Case You Wish to Use is Mandatory or Persuasive Authority

Some cases you will distinguish. They do not apply to your facts. Those cases have no authority for your argument.

When you find cases you wish to use, on the other hand, decide on the weight of each case as authority. The two key words are mandatory and persuasive. The main factor is which court authored the decision. You will recall that, all other things being equal, a decision from a higher court in the same jurisdiction as your client’s case is probably mandatory authority. Lower courts in that jurisdiction must follow it. Likewise, the federal constitution is mandatory law in every jurisdiction.

Decisions of courts in other states, of federal courts applying state cases or statutes in other states, and of lower courts or courts on the same level in the same state, can be persuasive, but not mandatory. A federal or state court may choose to employ a decision as persuasive for any of a number of reasons, including factual similarity or compelling reasoning.

The year the case was decided is important. The MPT Library may not present the cases in chronological order, so read carefully. Be careful to check on whether a case has been overruled. Unlike Westlaw or Lexis-Nexis, the MPT gives you no red or yellow flag to tell you that the case is no longer good law. The examiners do give you enough information, however, so that if you know what to look for, you can decide for yourself.

In determining the weight of authority, keep in mind that the examiners have not only created the fact pattern in the File, but they have also created the State of Franklin, all of its case law, and the fictitious Fifteenth Circuit of the United States, where Franklin is located.

Do not confuse the hierarchy of courts in your own state with the hierarchy of courts in the state of Franklin. In Franklin, the trial court of general jurisdiction is the District Court, the intermediate appellate court is the Court of Appeal, and the highest court is the Supreme Court. In the New York State Unified Court System, for example, the highest court is the Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division is intermediate, and the New York Supreme Court is a trial court.

A word of warning about familiar-seeming cases. If you notice that a case resembles a case you already know, do not assume that the two cases are the same. It is not even fair to the graders to call this a trap because they warned you in the MPT instructions that you should not assume that cases in the MPT are the same as cases you know. The case law in the MPT Library can be “real, modified, or written solely” for the purposes of the MPT task.

Since the MPT may concern an area of law you have never studied, you must pay especially close attention to the weight of authority. The question is whether the case is mandatory or persuasive authority, or no authority at all.

You Can Usually Find the Holding of the Case in the First Two or Last Two Paragraphs

You will usually find the holding of the case in the first two paragraphs, the last two paragraphs, or both. It is usually safe to skim the discussion in between. But you must pay careful attention to other cases cited and to the footnotes. The cited cases may themselves provide authority for your arguments.

Whether a case is mandatory or persuasive will dictate the weight of the authority. When you determine and utilize the weight of the authorities provided, you demonstrate to the graders that you understand the hierarchy of the law. You will use the case law appropriately in your MPT work product.



Sample Bar Exam Study Schedule

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Sample Bar Exam Study ScheduleSample Bar Exam Study Schedule

During the first hour in every BarWrite course we discuss sample bar exam study schedules. One of my former students, Greek lawyer and New York lawyer Annie Noula, says, “If you don’t have a study schedule, don’t take the bar exam.” Study schedules are key, whether for the 2-Day MPT Crash Course, the 4-Day BAR Camp, the 6-Day MBE Immersion, or the 10-Day Intensive. Sample bar exam study schedules vary, depending on whether the student is working or not, studying full time or not, and whether the bar candidate has additional responsibilities, like taking care of small children. BarWrite also offers a free one-hour teleseminar before the bar exam that talks about sample bar exam study schedules, provides free sample schedules, and answers students’ questions.


This is the schedule for a student who was working full-time in a major New York law firm in Midtown Manhattan until three weeks before the bar exam. She passed!


6:30 am-7:45am  
BarWrite® MBE system.
7:45am – 8:20am
Get Ready for work. Memorize one MBE rule.
8:20am – 9am
Quick review of outlines or flashcards, or listen to MBE CD (Pick one
and stick to it) on the subway. [BarWrite® recommends flash cards,  and does not recommend CDs. Active study is better than passive.]
9am – 1pm
Work. Memorize one or two rules during bathroom breaks.
Lunch – Study outlines, memorize one MBE rule.
1:45 pm – 8/10pm      
Work (Depending on the day of the week, this candidate would sometimes have to work until 10:00pm. Then she would study on the subway.
8pm -9pm        
BarWrite® MBE System. Answer ten questions, analyze answers.
Outline two essays and analyze answers
Review law outlines and create flashcards for MBE substantive law and/or World Cup Rules
MBE (at least five questions). BED


7am – 7:35am  
Get ready for work – memorize one or two MBE rules
7:30am – 8:10am
Subway to work – Read outlines; Memorize at least one MBE rule
8:30am – 4pm
Work – memorize one or two MBE rules during bathroom breaks. Memorize on subway home.
5pm – Midnight    
Quick review of one subject outline, ten or more MBE problems. (Review, make flashcards for unfamiliar rules, do analysis); outline one essay.


8:45am – 4:30pm    
BarWrite® Class. Memorize two or three MBE Rules during breaks.  Study on subway.
5:30pm – Midnight  
Quick review of one or two subject outlines, ten or more MBE Problems. (Make flashcards for unfamiliar rules, do analysis); outline one essay.

This bar candidate would take 10-minute breaks every 90 minutes and
exercise every other day. [Not enough exercise, alas.]

Because this bar candidate’s time was so limited, her first priority was to make sure she knew the MBE rules and the World Cup Rules cold. Shortly after this candidate learned she had passed the bar exam, we got together and talked about how she had done it. She made a gesture like shuffling cards. She told me that for the final month before the exam, she had taken her 150 MBE cards and spent most of her time just reciting those rules from memory every day.

Her study schedule, and her emphasis on knowing the black letter law cold, worked!



Best MPT Bar Exam Preparation

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Best MPT Bar Exam PreparationBest MPT Bar Exam Preparation

— By the sponsors of the 2-Day MPT Crash Course. . . .

What are a Bar Candidate’s Choices for Preparing for the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) Part of the Bar Exam?

The MPT is 20 per cent of a bar candidate’s score on the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Better take it seriously! Bar candidates must ask what the best MPT bar exam preparation is. From my experience and observation, so long as the MPT uses appellate briefs in its tasks, the absolute best preparation for the performance test is to work in a law office. The MPT really is related to the practice of law.

I learned by experience that the key to the MPT is the right habits

I took and passed the California Bar Exam in 1982. It was the first year for the Performance Test part of the exam, and everyone was anxious. But when I opened the test packet and saw that the task was an appellate brief, I was delighted. I had been writing briefs in a law office for a year and a half! Hurray! I geared up my Selectric typewriter and dove in: Questions Presented! Brief Answers! And so on. While I never submitted the paperwork to become a member of the California bar, I did learn this invaluable lesson about writing a performance test by taking the California bar exam. The key is having the right habits.

The best preparation for the MPT is time spent developing the habits, in a law office.

That brief on the California Performance Test was easy for me because I had developed the habits for writing appellate briefs. Like most JDs, I had written a brief in Legal Writing class in law school. In fact, I had also done moot court, so I had written more briefs than most JDs. But I had not written enough briefs in law school to develop habits. Today, not just from my own experience in California, but also from reading my bar-prep students’ papers for many years, I know that the best preparation for the MPT is to spend time working in a law office. Over and over again, my own experience is confirmed. Students who have worked in a law office do better on the MPT. The difference is the habits such a job creates. Habits are key.

For Bar Candidates Who Cannot Work in a Law Office the Answer is to Learn a System for the MPT

What can bar candidates do who cannot develop the habits for writing briefs, memos, letters, and so on, in a law office? After much serious thought, I decided that without habits for briefs, memos, and so on, the next best thing is to learn a system for doing the MPT itself. With a system, bar candidates can make using the system into a habit. But where can a bar candidate look for serious MPT bar-prep?

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) Offers Released MPTs

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) itself provides abundant released MPT tasks and point sheets. For some bar candidates that is enough. With due respect to the NCBE, however, they provide no system. If a bar candidate needs help with the MPT, those materials are just saying Go practice! Many candidates have trouble managing time on the MPT. Doing more tasks does not teach them to manage time. Nor does it help bar candidates to organize the materials. The MPT tasks are too different from one another: doing many tasks does not build habits, or even skills. The Point Sheets that the NCBE provides give an abundance of information about points a candidate could make, but they do not teach candidates how to do the task.

Many Students’ Will Look First to the Big Commercial Bar Review Courses

The big commercial bar review courses all include the MPT in their programs. To be sure, most bar candidates will do well enough just relying on this instruction. But if a bar candidate needs work on the MPT, will the big bar courses be the best preparation? Especially for candidates who have not worked in a law office? Alas, no.

From what I understand, the big courses give bar candidates a few hints, and they demonstrate one or two MPT examples. Then they hand out a stack of old MPT exams, and they say “Go practice!”

Practicing the MPT Does Not Solve the Problem for Most People

But if the bar candidate can’t finish MPT tasks inside 90 minutes to start out with, what good does it do to practice not finishing inside 90 minutes, over and over again? These courses cannot offer enough practice on any given task to develop habits. Likewise, if the bar candidate can’t understand task memos and find the issues in a task memo, how can a lot of practice help? Nor can LLM who has never written even one appellate brief learn how to do it in one of the big bar review courses.

Here’s what the great master teacher of legal writing, Professor Louis Sirico, said when the book Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT) came out:

As far as I can tell, the large commercial bar review courses have yet to fully master how to train students to take the MPT. . . .”

So if bar candidates cannot look to either the NCBE materials alone or to the big bar review courses for training on the MPT, what choices do they have?

Students Do Have an Alternative. The BarWrite 2-Day MPT Crash Course Is the Best MPT Course by Far

The BarWrite 2-Day MPT Crash Course. If a bar candidate is searching for the best MPT bar exam preparation, nothing beats the BarWrite 2-Day MPT Crash Course. Offered live in New York City, where students can receive classroom instruction and immediate feedback, and not offered online at all, this course combines learning the system in Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT) (see below), with explanations and feedback. Bar candidates have come to us who have failed the bar exam twice because of the MPT, they took this course, and today they are practicing law.

Best Available Book: Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT).

If we disregard the text materials from the big commercial bar review courses, there are only two books available to help bar candidates for the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). I recommend Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT) as the best MPT bar exam preparation. This is not just for selfish reasons. First, Perform Your Best uses real NCBE materials, and the other book, by Rigos, does not. Second, more important, Perform Your Best teaches a system for doing the MPT and finishing on time. No other course, and no other book, does that. Nowhere else will candidates find a system that teaches not just how to complete an MPT task but how to complete an MPT task, finish inside 90 minutes, and get a high score.

Experience Shows that the Perform Your Best System Works!

The best MPT bar exam preparation is the system in the book Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT). My students and I have tested the system in Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT). As I developed the system, I taught the MPT in my own 10-Day Intensive and 4-Day bar-prep classes, over a number of years. My students tried it out. It worked!

In addition to teaching a system for the MPT, the book Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT) also provides not just 12 real NCBE-released MPT tasks but (a) sample answers for each task and (b) explanations for how to perform each task.

Read the Reviews of Perform Your Best on Amazon

After spending years developing the system, I spent two years getting the system and materials into publishable form. This was hard to do and very expensive, not just in time spent and lost opportunities but in the expense of paying design contractors. In the end, the MPT systems and the book were worth my time, expense, and trouble.  You can read the reviews of Perform Your Best on Amazon. I especially like the one that says the system is “the Swiss Army knife of MPT-preparation.” This is true. This book will help you on the MPT!

Wishing you the greatest success on the bar exam,

— Mary Campbell Gallagher, J.D., Ph.D.



Why Our Bar Exam Tutors Use Memorization

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Our BarWrite Bar Exam Tutors Use MemorizationWhy Our BarWrite Bar Exam Tutors Use Memorization
Memorization Helps Students Master the Basic Rules of Law

Our BarWrite BarWrite bar exam tutors have years of experience helping candidates learn how to pass the bar exam. They recommend memorization because it works. Does memorizing basic rules mean that bar candidates do not understand the law? Certainly not. Does it mean that they cannot apply those rules? No. BarWrite students don’t just learn the law, they learn how to apply it at the same time. Our bar tutors make sure that students take the rules apart into their constituent parts and apply those elements one-by-one to the facts of typical fact patterns.

Our BarWrite Bar Exam Tutors Know That Memorizing is Simple but not Easy

Can you memorize? Yes. In fact, to learn the basic rules in each tested area of law you do not need a special gift. It is simple, but it is not easy. Very few human beings have a natural gift for memorizing. Not even the champions at memorizing that Joshua Foer wrote about in his exceptional book Moon Walking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, which is about champions of memorization and reports on the latest research, too.

Our Bar Exam Tutors Find That Memorizing Is Good for You!

Our BarWrite bar tutors report that if students memorize one rule of law and learn to apply it, the next rule in that area of law is easier to learn. That makes sense. Research shows that memorizing changes the shape of the brain. It primes the brain for further learning. See our blog post “Memorizing Law, Can it Make You Brilliant on the UBE?”

In fact, signs are that there may be an upsurge in support of memorizing, and not just among our own bar exam tutors. In the New York Times, you could read “Memorize That Poem,” by Molly Worthen, New York Times, August 26, 2017

That same day, the New York Times Book Review included a review of a book about Chinese education which said that “Chinese students memorize what they have to, then explore deeper, more complex applications.” Americans, by contrast, have “so much focus on applicable knowledge that concepts are taught in a shallow fashion.” Alan Paul, “Study Skills: A personal investigation into China’s education system,” a review of Lenora Chu, Little Soldiers.

BarWrite Bar Tutors Say that Bar Candidates Can Start by Memorizing a Section of the Basic Rules in One Area of Law

A bar candidate can start by memorizing and applying, for example, the basic UCC rules for contract formation. Next the bar candidate can compare them with the basic common law rules. The candidate who masters those rules and how to apply them will find it much easier to answer MBE contracts questions.

Try it. Our bar exam tutors know.



How to Analyze and Answer MBE Contracts Questions

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Contracts MBE questions are challengingContracts MBE Questions Are Challenging

Contracts MBE questions are challenging for many bar candidates. Unlike Evidence questions, for example, Contracts questions rarely give hints about what rule of law will apply. (An Evidence question might say: “Plaintiff’s lawyer moved to strike the testimony as hearsay.” Aha! Apply the hearsay rule!) With a Contracts question, the bar candidate must figure it all out.

In the BarWrite 6-Day MBE Immersion Course and the BarWrite 10-Day Intensive, students use the Gallagher/BarWrite MBE Study System. We will illustrate key components here that will help you raise your MBE score.

With Contracts MBE Questions Use the Tactics of the Gallagher/BarWrite MBE System

Here is one key component of our system. Before doing any MBE practice question, cover the answer choices with your hand or with an index card. The MBE is a test of a candidate’s ability to apply law to facts, it is not a test of dancing with the answer choices. Read the interrogatory with special care.

Your answer must respond precisely to that interrogatory.
  1. Read the fact pattern meticulously, deciding what rule of law must be applied. By “what rule of law” we do not mean “what large area of law,” e.g., Contracts law. We mean, for example: Is an acceptance effective upon receipt or upon dispatch?
  2. Next, analyze the facts in the fact pattern. Take the facts apart and apply a term from the rule of law to each relevant fact. This is the offeror. That is the offeree. These facts are the dispatch. This fact is the receipt.
  3. Apply the whole rule to the fact pattern, one term at a time, as you have analyzed it.
  4. Decide on your own answer to the interrogatory.
  5. Read over the answer choices and pick the one that is closest to your own answer.
  6. Examine the other answer choices just to make sure you have the right one.
Sample Contracts MBE Question

This simplified sample question reflects the structure of many Contracts MBE questions.

Smithtown sponsored a marathon race to raise money for local charities. It sent a written invitation to the internationally famous marathoner Jacob Jobes. The letter announced a special bonus for Jobes to take part in the race, namely, $10,000. Although the letter never arrived, Jones heard about the race and he did take part. He placed first in the men’s race, and he received the $10,000 first place prize. But he had heard about the bonus from one of the officials, so he asked for the $10,000 bonus for taking part, as well.

How much must Smithtown pay to Jacob Jobes?

(1) $10,000.00 as a bonus for taking part in the race;

(2) $10,000.00 for winning first prize;

(3) Both (1) and (2);

(4) Neither (1) nor (2).

The interrogatory asks how much money Smithtown must pay to Jacob Jobes. In other words, must Smithtown give Jobes the $10,000 bonus for taking part? Jobes never received the letter that contained the offer. So the legal issue is whether the offer of the special bonus must be received to be effective. Did Jobes have to know about the bonus in order to qualify?

RULE. The rule is that in order to be effective, an offer must be communicated to the offeree. An offer is effective only upon receipt.

Word-by-Word Analysis of the MCE Contracts Fact Pattern Yields the Right Response

The offer was this: The letter announced a special bonus for Jobes to take part in the race of $10,000.

Was the offer dispatched? Yes, Smithtown sent Jobes a written invitation.

Was the offer received? No, the letter never arrived.

Was the offer communicated to the offeree? No. The facts tell us: . . . the letter never arrived.

Thus, since the offer never reached Jobes, it was not communicated to him.

Therefore, although Smithtown must give Jobes the $10,000 for winning the race. Smithtown need not give Jobes the $10,000 bonus for taking part. Accordingly, the answer is (2): $10,000 for winning first prize. 

Applying the BarWrite System Takes Patience, and the MBE Rewards Patience

Bar candidates often worry about taking too much time to learn certain parts of the law, or taking too much time to master certain MBE questions. If a rule is fundamental, and the rule in our example is, then there is almost no such thing as taking too much time. This rule is likely to appear on the MBE. A bar candidate will raise his or her score by learning to apply it. That takes patience. The bar exam rewards patience. Patience is one ticket to a passing score.