Read this column and you will ace the MPRE

News   /   March 5, 2005  / 


BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

Okay, I don’t have anyone to blame but myself. I should have taken the MPRE in the fall, but I was lazy and saved it until the spring. On the plus side, had I taken it in the fall I would have had to go to downtown Hartford to find an open testing center. On the minus side, if I fail it now, I don’t get to take the bar exam. On the plus side, who wants to take the bar exam anyway? On the minus side, who wants to take the bar exam a year from now? On the plus side, maybe the world will end by then. On the minus side, uh, if the world ends, I’m in trouble.

Here’s what I don’t understand. In one breath, everyone says that the MPRE is nothing to worry about. But in the next breath, everyone has a study strategy. And in the third breath, everyone knows fourteen people who failed. And in the fourth breath, we stop talking about the MPRE because it’s a hella boring test and no one wants to spend more than eight seconds talking about it.

The friend whose book I’m using said that all I need to do is read his outline from the class, and that’s all I need to ace the test. The first person I told that to said no, that’s all wrong, I just need to read the mini review in the book and I’ll ace the test. The next person said no, ignore the outline and the mini review, just take the practice tests and I’ll ace the test. The next person said no, just use common sense and I’ll ace the test. The next person said I’m going to fail because I didn’t pay for Bar/Bri. Shut up, Bar/Bri representative. I don’t believe you anyway.

One of my professors last semester said we should be able to pass the MPRE with our eyes closed. I don’t even think I can find my #2 pencil with my eyes closed, so I don’t think I’m going to try that. But this whole thing seems a little ridiculous. If the test is so easy, why do we have to take it? And, even worse, why does everyone know eight people who failed? And, even worse, why is the book so hard to read? Oh, wait, I’m holding it upside down. There, that’s better.

I found a web site with some practice questions. I’m now going to make fun of them. Here’s one. “Attorney recently graduated from Bluff Law School and successfully passed the Bar Exam. Prior to going to Law School, Attorney practiced as a dentist for the past 15 years. As a result, most of Attorney’s contacts are in the dental field. At the last Dental Conference, Attorney approached his old cronies and said, ‘If you refer your patients to me who are in need of legal services, I will retain you as an expert witness in all of my dental malpractice cases.’ Is Attorney subject to discipline for making such an agreement with his old dental cronies?”

First of all, Bluff Law School? Could they do no better? I don’t know how high my expectations are for a lawyer’s ethical state if he went to a school called Bluff. And a dentist-turned-lawyer? This sounds like an idea for a sitcom, not a legal ethics practice question. In any case, there’s no need to even think about this one, because the mere use of the word “cronies” gives it away. Of course he should be subject to discipline. Otherwise his fellow dentists would have been called his “colleagues” instead. I mean, this is Beating the Standardized Test 101 here, folks.

Okay, next question. “Judge and her husband are interested in selling their home. They contacted Agent and Agent put Judge’s house up for sale. Last Sunday, Buyer’s agent took her client, Attorney, to several houses. The last house on the tour was Judge’s house. Attorney desired Judge’s house and made an offer the moment the tour ended. The offer was held open for one week. Meanwhile, on Monday, Attorney was assigned to Judge’s courtroom for trial. Is it proper for Judge to preside at this trial?”

They’re so freaking gender-neutral over in MPRE-land. “Judge and her husband.” Like there are really any female judges. I think Larry Summers would have something to say about this. In any case, I share this question only because of Answer Choice A, quite possibly the dumbest answer choice I’ve seen since “17″ on the Math SAT II. 17? Right. Everyone knew it was 3 and a half. Everyone. Anyway, choice A: “A. No, because Attorney may have discovered Judge’s secrets while touring his house.”

What? Judge’s secrets? What kind of secrets do they even want us to imagine here? The pile of bribes she left on the kitchen counter? The tortured child locked in the bathroom? The denture paste? This is an obvious wrong choice. The real answer is “E. Client needs to find a new Attorney, because if all Attorney can afford is Judge’s house, then Attorney’s not doing so well, and must not be a very good lawyer.” I mean, what can Judge possibly be making here? A hundred, a hundred fifty… Attorney’s gotta be making more than that or Client needs to shop elsewhere. I mean, really, find a better lawyerOne more. “Attorney fails the MPRE. Judge finds out. Judge tells Client. Client fires Attorney. Attorney goes to dental school. Judge goes to get his teeth cleaned. Chaos ensues.” Okay, clearly I’m not taking this seriously enough. My fault. I should’ve taken the MPRE in the fall. Oh well. But on the plus side, at least I don’t go to Bluff Law School.

Jeremy Blachman is a 3L who hates writing about the MPRE three weeks after writing about the bar exam, but what’s he gonna do?

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