The Northern Mariana Islands bar exam consists of the MBE, the MEE, the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and two questions on local law.
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
The MBE is a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice examination developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and administered by participating jurisdictions, including the Northern Mariana Islands, on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in July of each year.
According to the NCBE, the purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns.
The MBE is divided into morning and afternoon testing sessions of three hours each, with 100 questions in each session. There are no scheduled breaks during either the morning or afternoon session, though test taskers typically may be excused from the exam room during the test. Be sure to check with your jurisdiction, however, as the rules regarding leaving the exam room may vary.
Of the 200 questions on the MBE, 175 questions are scored. The remaining unscored 25 questions are used by the NCBE to test potential future questions. The scored questions are distributed evenly, with 25 questions from each tested subject area. The Northern Mariana Islands bar exam subjects include civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts. The MBE counts for 50 percent of the total Northern Mariana Islands bar exam score.
Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)
The MEE consists of six 30-minute issue-spotter questions. The MEE is administered on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year.
Subjects that may be tested on the MEE include business associations, civil procedure, conflict of laws, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, family law, real property, torts, trusts and estates, and Article 9 (secured transactions) of the Uniform Commercial Code. The MEE counts for 30 percent of the total Northern Mariana Islands bar exam score.
Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
The MPT is the third component of the Northern Mariana Islands bar exam. The MPT is not a test of substantive knowledge. The MPT consists of two 90-minute problems designed to mimic real-world tasks that a new attorney might be assigned.
The materials for each MPT include a file and a library. The file consists of the facts of a fictitious case and includes legal documents related to the case. The library contains statutes, cases, and other forms of rules. The file and library will include both relevant and irrelevant information; it’s up to you to figure out what you’ll need to complete your task. The examinee’s task will be outlined in a memorandum contained in the file. The MPT counts for 20 percent of the total Northern Mariana Islands bar exam score.
The Northern Mariana Islands bar exam includes two essays based on local law. The essay topics are announced at least 30 days prior to the bar examination. For more information on this component, please see the Northern Mariana Islands Judiciary's website.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
In addition to the UBE, a passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is also required to become a licensed Northern Mariana Islands attorney. The MPRE tests an examinee’s knowledge of the ethics rules related to the practice of law. According to the NCBE, the purpose of the MPRE is to “measure examinees' knowledge and understanding of established standards related to the professional conduct of lawyers.”
The MPRE’s questions are largely based on the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, but the MPRE also covers relevant court decisions as well as procedural and evidentiary rules.
The MPRE consists of 60 multiple-choice questions—50 scored questions and 10 unscored questions. As with the MBE, each question on the MPRE is followed by four possible answer options. You’ll have two hours to complete the exam.
The MPRE is offered three times per year, typically in March, August, and November. Be sure to register early—the regular registration fee is $135, but the late registration fee is $220.
The MPRE is scored on a scale that ranges from 50 to 100. The Northern Mariana Islands requires a minimum-passing MPRE score of 80.