Ethics Exam / MPRE

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”) is an ethics exam administered separate from the bar exam by ACT, Inc. on behalf of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”). The MPRE tests the standards and rules of professional responsibility.

Almost every jurisdiction requires the MPRE as a condition for admission. The few exceptions are Maryland and Wisconsin. The MPRE is administered three times each year – generally in March/April, August, and November. By scrolling over the following map, the minimum MPRE scores and the applicable time periods for each jurisdiction will appear in a text box. Please see the Bar Reciprocity Page for states that require the MPRE as a condition for Admission on Motion.

States testing the MPRE
States that do not test the MPRE

Format and Subjects

The MPRE is a 2-hour exam testing 60 multiple-choice questions. Ten of the multiple choice questions are unscored “pretest” questions for future MPRE exams. The “pretest” questions appear randomly throughout the MPRE test. Test takers do not know which questions are the “pretest” questions.

The MPRE ethics exam tests knowledge of:

  • Generally accepted statutes and common law rules (Majority Rules)
  • Unless stated otherwise in the question, the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure apply to procedural or evidentiary issues. Examples include availability of litigation sanctions and the scope of the attorney client privilege. Local ethics rules are not tested, but specific questions could include the text of a local rule that must be considered in order to answer the question. Any ABA approved amendments to the ABA rules will not be tested in an MPRE exam for one year.

The NCBE provides an MPRE Outline and sample questions.

Schedule and Deadlines

MPRE Test Date Registration Deadline ($80) Late Application Receipt Deadline ($160)
March 29, 2014 February 4, 2014 Feb. 20, 2014
August 9, 2014 June 17, 2014 July 3, 2014
November 1, 2014 Sep. 10, 2014 Sep. 25, 2014

Fees

The MPRE registration fee continues to increase every year and is now up to $80. Late registration costs $60. Fees, of course, are nonrefundable. The NCBE continues to increase the price almost every year.

The MPRE fee includes the score report and having a score report sent to a jurisdiction’s Board of Law Examiners. Scores for the current administration or any future MPRE exams will not be released until all fees are paid in full. Applications that contain insufficient or improper payment will not be processed.

Scoring

The MPRE uses a scaled score formula. The individual’s raw score is the number of correctly answered questions. The raw score will be from 0 to 50 and does not include correctly answered “pretest” questions. The raw score is then converted to the new scaled score. Scaled scores range from 50 to 150. The average scaled score is 100. The new scaled score is then further adjusted accounting for variations in test difficulty to ensure fairness from test to test. Easier tests will result in an adjustment downward and more difficult tests will result in an adjustment upward.

Like the Bar Exam, each state sets its own passing score. Passing scores range from scaled scores of 75 to 86 depending on the jurisdiction. Generally, MPRE test takers must answer approximately 65% of the scored questions correctly. The passing score is usually set less than the average score for all test takers. The MPRE Map above contains passing scores for each jurisdiction.

Score Reporting

During the administration of the exam, test takers have the opportunity to select the jurisdiction where the individual wants their MPRE score to be sent. MPRE scores will be sent to the jurisdiction within 5 weeks of the exam date. The MPRE score report will also be sent to the individual test taker via email or mail. The MPRE score report includes the scaled score and the requested jurisdiction. Applicants may request additional score reports for a $25 fee.

Current scores are available on the MPRE Services Website.

Reciprocity, MPRE Score Transfers/Additional Score Reports

All jurisdictions requiring the MPRE ethics exam allow scores to transfer to a new jurisdiction and accept scores transferred from another jurisdiction. MPRE scores must be transferred to the new jurisdiction through an Additional Score Report.

Please see the Admission on Motion page to view the jurisdictions that require the MPRE for attorneys seeking reciprocal admission.

Requesting Additional Score Reports
Individuals may obtain additional score reports through the NCBE.

MPRE Application and Registration

MPRE Online Application
Online registration is the preferred method.

Test Center Assignment
Test center assignments are made on a first come, first served basis, so it is important to register as early as possible. If first and second choices are full, the NCBE assigns the next closest test center. Please be aware the assigned test center could be in a different state.

Occasionally, additional space or a new test center will be established after test centers have been assigned. Applicants who have not yet been assigned to a space are then placed in the new test center.

Test Center Changes
Test center changes are allowed if space is available.

Test Date Changes
Test date changes are prohibited and paid fees cannot be applied to a new test date. Applicants must reapply for the new MPRE exam date.

Reapplying or Missing the MPRE

If an applicant fails the MPRE or misses the scheduled MPRE exam, the applicant must reapply for another MPRE exam and pay the full fee using the normal registration procedure. There is no special reapplication registration or fee waiver. Any applicable supplemental forms, such as those for testing accommodations, must be resubmitted.

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