MPRE Tip: Become familiar with the Key Words and Phrases on the MPRE

Ashley HeidemannAre you studying for the MPRE?

We have a variety of tips on how to pass the MPRE the first time you take it.

In this post, we’ll be discussing another MPRE tip: to become familiar with key MPRE words and phrases. The national conference of bar examiners has a helpful document of key words and phrases to become familiar with. In this post, we will tell you common mistakes we see students make, as well as tips to get better at noticing key words and phrases. 

MPRE Tip #1: Review the Key Words and
Phrases that are found on the MPRE

An example of some key words and phrases on the MPRE that we see students struggle with are as follows:

“Subject to Discipline”

Asking “Is a lawyer subject to discipline?”  is basically the same things as asking: Did the lawyer violate a rule under the ABA model rules? (If it applies to a judge, it is asking if the judge violated a rule under the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct).

Some students mistakenly follow whatever they learned in their Professional Responsibility classes in law school. This can be a mistake because a lot of law schools teach state-specific material.  That is, they will teach you what your jurisdiction’s rules are. These rules may not be the same as the rules you need to know for the MPRE.

Keep in mind that the ABA model rules are what is tested on the MPRE.

“Subject to Civil Liability” versus “Subject to Discipline.”

These are two very different things! If a question asks, “Is the lawyer subject to civil liability?” you generally have to look for malpractice (the most common), misrepresentation, or breach of fiduciary duty.

In malpractice contexts, you have to look for a duty, breach of duty, and that it caused some actual harm to the client. If the lawyer did something horrible, like for example, got really drunk during trial, but it didn’t cause any harm to the client because, for example, the client would have been found guilty of committing the crime anyway, the lawyer is not subject to civil liability for malpractice! However, the lawyer would likely be subject to discipline. Just paying attention to this key language can make the difference between answering a question correctly or answering it incorrectly!

Other key words and Phrases

The national conference of bar examiners has a very helpful document of key words and phrases to become familiar with. These include the few mentioned above, as well as some others.

MPRE Tip #2: Get Good at Quickly
Spotting Key Words and Phrases!

How to Get Good at Spotting these key words and Phrases

Being aware of these key words and phrases can help you tremendously.

When we go over MPRE multiple choice questions with students, we notice that some students will get several questions wrong simply because they do not pay attention to these key words! If you find yourself in that boat, it is helpful to use a highlighter to highlight the key words or phrases in a question as soon as you see them when you practice answering questions. Doing this for several questions will get you in the mindset of paying attention to them.

If you have any questions about the MPRE or if you are looking for MPRE tutoring or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are wondering how many questions you should be answering correctly when you practice to pass the MPRE, please see this post.

Ashley-Heidemann-Profile-382x356Ms. Ashley Heidemann graduated as the number 1 law student out of over 200 students in her class of 2011 at Wayne State University. She, along with a team of tutors, tutors for the MPRE,  tutors law students and tutors for the bar exam. She also offers a Law School Preparatory Course for students interested in learning the skills necessary to achieve a high GPA in law school. 



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