The Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is administered by participating jurisdictions on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year. NCBE offers two 90-minute MPT items per administration. A jurisdiction may select one or both items to include as part of its bar examination. (Jurisdictions that administer the Uniform Bar Examination [UBE] use two MPTs as part of their bar examinations.)
The MPT is designed to test an examinee’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. Each test evaluates an examinee’s ability to complete a task that a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish.
The materials for each MPT include a File and a Library. The File consists of source documents containing all the facts of the case. The specific assignment the examinee is to complete is described in a memorandum from a supervising attorney. The File might also include transcripts of interviews, depositions, hearings or trials, pleadings, correspondence, client documents, contracts, newspaper articles, medical records, police reports, or lawyer’s notes. Relevant as well as irrelevant facts are included. Facts are sometimes ambiguous, incomplete, or even conflicting. As in practice, a client’s or a supervising attorney’s version of events may be incomplete or unreliable. Examinees are expected to recognize when facts are inconsistent or missing and are expected to identify sources of additional facts.
The Library may contain cases, statutes, regulations, or rules, some of which may not be relevant to the assigned lawyering task. The examinee is expected to extract from the Library the legal principles necessary to analyze the problem and perform the task. The MPT is not a test of substantive law; the Library materials provide sufficient substantive information to complete the task.
The MPT requires examinees to (1) sort detailed factual materials and separate relevant from irrelevant facts; (2) analyze statutory, case, and administrative materials for applicable principles of law; (3) apply the relevant law to the relevant facts in a manner likely to resolve a client’s problem; (4) identify and resolve ethical dilemmas, when present; (5) communicate effectively in writing; and (6) complete a lawyering task within time constraints.
These skills are tested by requiring examinees to perform one or more of a variety of lawyering tasks. For example, examinees might be instructed to complete any of the following: a memorandum to a supervising attorney, a letter to a client, a persuasive memorandum or brief, a statement of facts, a contract provision, a will, a counseling plan, a proposal for settlement or agreement, a discovery plan, a witness examination plan, or a closing argument.
A list of jurisdictions currently using the MPT is available on the MPT FAQs page. Applicants should contact the bar admissions agency in the jurisdiction to which they seek admission to ascertain whether one or more MPTs are administered as part of the jurisdiction’s bar examination. Contact information for jurisdictions can be found in the Bar Admission Offices Directory on the home page.
The MPT is only one of a number of measures that a board of bar examiners may use in determining competence to practice. Each jurisdiction determines its own policy with regard to the relative weight given to the MPT and other scores. (Jurisdictions that administer the Uniform Bar Examination [UBE] weight the MPT component 20%.) Any questions about scoring procedures should be directed to the appropriate jurisdiction, not to NCBE.
MPT Study Aids
MPTs and Point Sheets include MPT items from previously administered tests and corresponding Point Sheets, which describe the factual and legal points encompassed within the lawyering tasks to be completed and outline possible issues and points that might be addressed by an examinee. MPTs and Point Sheets are available for purchase at the NCBE Online Store. See MPTs and Point Sheets, 1998-2007, for MPTs and Point Sheets from older administrations.
MPT Summaries are brief descriptions of the MPT task, context, and contents of each MPT's File and Library. See MPT Summaries, 2004-2012, for summaries of the past 10 years of MPTs.
MPT Information Booklet
MPT 2013 Test Dates
February 26, 2013
July 30, 2013