The decision by the National Conference of Bar Examiners to offer the MPT followed a review of the results of the July 1993 Performance Test Research Project, which included these findings:

  • The content of performance tests (PTs) is appropriate for assessing fundamental lawyering skills, and PTs could provide valuable supplemental information for making decisions regarding admission to the bar (see Marcia A. Kuechenmeister, The Bar Examiner, May 1995, at 29).
  • PTs can be graded as reliably as essay questions, and the PT measures an important ability that is related to but not fully measured by essay examinations or the MBE (see Jane Peterson Smith, The Bar Examiner, May 1995, at 41).
  • Applicants believe PTs are a better measure of their ability to perform as attorneys than either the MBE or essay examinations and favor including PTs on the bar exam (see Charles S. Kunce and Scott E. Arbet, The Bar Examiner, May 1995, at 44–47).

The MPT is not a test of substantive knowledge. Rather, it is designed to examine six fundamental skills lawyers are expected to demonstrate regardless of the area of law in which the skills arise. The test is developed by individuals who have extensive experience in writing and editing performance test items. All MPTs are pretested and critiqued by independent experts.

Each jurisdiction is responsible for grading the MPT. NCBE provides point sheets for use by the graders in each user jurisdiction. The point sheets identify the factual and legal points encompassed within the lawyering task to be completed. They outline possible issues and points that might be addressed by examinees, as well as provide a suggested resolution of the problem.

Yes. See MPT Summaries and Point Sheets from recent administrations, which include brief descriptions of the MPT task, context, and contents of each MPT's File and Library.