How to Prepare for & Pass the MPRE

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With the March MPRE around the corner, many law students are scrambling to prepare for this legal ethics multiple-choice exam that is a prerequisite for bar admission in all but three U.S. jurisdictions (Maryland, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico).

But rest assured! If you follow this MPRE prep guide, you will do it once, do it right and never do it again.

First some background information . . .

MPRE Test Format

The MPRE is a two-hour, 60 multiple-choice question exam designed to measure your knowledge and understanding of established standards related to the professional conduct of lawyers.

50 of the questions are scored and the remaining 10 questions are unscored pretest questions (i.e. experimental questions). The pretest questions are indistinguishable from the questions that are scored, so you should answer all the questions.

MPRE Scoring

Your score on the MPRE is based on the number of questions answered correctly. Since you are not penalized for wrong answers, it is to your advantage to answer every question, even if you are blindly guessing.

MPRE scores are reported on a scale ranging from 50 to 150. MPRE scaled scores are calculated by NCBE based on a statistical process known as equating that is commonly used on standardized examinations. This statistical process adjusts raw scores on the current examination to account for differences in difficulty as compared with past examinations.

This statistical conversion helps to ensure that you are not unfairly penalized or rewarded for taking a more or less difficult version of the exam.

Each jurisdiction determines its own passing score on the MPRE. For example, California requires a score of 86 on the MPRE; New York requires a score of 85.

The passing MPRE score for each jurisdiction can be found here.

MPRE Subject Matter Outline

First things first, it is important to understand the MPRE’s scope of coverage and the frequency which they are tested. This information will help you focus on the concepts that are most likely to be tested, instead of wasting time trying to become an expert at everything.

So without further adieu, here are the twelve categories and the approximate percentage of questions that will be included in each:

I. Regulation of the legal profession (6-12%)
II. The client-lawyer relationship (10-16%)
III. Client confidentiality (6-12%)
IV. Conflicts of interest (12-18%)
V. Competence, legal malpractice, and other civil liability (6-12%)
VI. Litigation and other forms of advocacy (10-16%)
VII. Transactions and communications with persons other than clients (2-8%)
VIII. Different roles of the lawyer (4-10%)
IX. Safekeeping funds and other property (2-8%)
X. Communications about legal services (4-10%)
XI. Lawyers’ duties to the public and the legal system (2-4%)
XII. Judicial conduct (2-8%)

As you can clearly see from this, the majority of the MPRE will consist of questions from parts I-VI (50-86%).

Keep this in mind as you prepare for this exam.

Free MPRE Course

Today, all bar review companies offer free MPRE courses but BarMax was the pioneer in this regard. Prior to BarMax, the only way to get MPRE prep for “free” was to plunk down a non-refundable $250 deposit for a bar review course. Competition is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

BarMax MPRE offers on-demand audio lectures, black-letter law outlines and flashcards that you can access both in our app, BarMax Bar Exam, MBE & MPRE Review as well as online using BarMax Online.

When you register for our free MPRE course, either in-app or online, you will be emailed the PDF version of our MPRE Study Guide (check your spam folder if you do not see it).

To adequately prepare for the MPRE, we recommend listening to the audio lectures for each of the twelve sections. You can also review the black-letter law outlines, but DO NOT let yourself get bogged down in the details.

For example, judicial conduct section of the BarMax outline is nine pages (of 51 total), but as set forth above, only 2-8% of the questions you will see on exam day will be from this section.

With BarMax you not only get the mobile convenience of our #1-rated and most downloaded bar review app, but you also get real MPRE questions to practice with (unlike the made-up questions used by our competitors).

Real MPRE Questions & MPRE Online Practice Exam 1

The MPRE is a standardized exam, so just like your LSAT prep days, it is imperative that you prepare using real MPRE questions.

BarMax offers the largest and most affordable bank of real MPRE questions (200+) on the market and this bank includes MPRE Online Practice Exam 1, the same exam that the NCBE sells for $35.

So for $10 less, you will have access to more questions and you will also have access on mobile in addition to online.

MPRE Online Practice Exam 1 (MPRE OPE 1) is a 60-question, annotated practice exam that uses questions drawn from actual MPREs administered in recent years.

The annotations explain why each answer choice is correct or incorrect.

This exam is not only an extremely useful last minute review before the MPRE, but also a great way to highlight the importance of preparing with real questions.


There you have it. Your foolproof strategy guide to MPRE success!

And one last tip you can employ when in doubt, remember that the standard for attorneys is NOT “what would Jesus do”—so avoid the perfect answer.

Good luck! And remember, if Saul Goodman could pass the MPRE, so can you!

Updated on Apr 4, 2017