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*First-time bar exam takers who completed at least 75% of Quimbee Bar Review or Quimbee Bar Review+. The margin of error is 5.9%.
Bar Exam Success

Bar Review FAQ: What is a Performance Test?

Bar Review FAQ: What is a Performance Test?—Quimbee
The performance test (PT) is the closest you’ll get to practicing law on the bar exam. The test assesses your ability to carry out a practical lawyering task, such as drafting an objective memo, a brief, or a demand letter. You’ll receive an exam booklet assigning a specific task and providing fictional evidence and legal authorities. There’s no need to learn specific subjects beforehand—the booklet provides all the law you need.

But make no mistake—even though you don’t have to memorize any law for the performance test, it’s not a cakewalk. You need to be able to work strategically, read quickly, and draft a professional document in a short time window. 

How should you prepare for the performance test component?

Practice is the key to success. Practice familiarizes you with the structure of the test and helps you develop the quick pace required to earn a high score. The best plan is to practice with real performance tests from past bar exams. Your bar course should offer practice PTs. If you haven’t enrolled in a bar course yet, check with your law school librarian or academic success faculty. They can help you find practice exams.

What mistakes do examinees make on the performance test?

By far, the most common mistake is avoiding practice. Don’t wait until the last minute. Start practicing the PT early in bar preparation. You don’t have to master any substantive law to start taking practice PTs. The packet will provide the authorities you need to complete the assignment, so start practicing during the first week of bar review.

Other common mistakes include:
  • Skipping directions in the task memo. Failing to heed instructions can have a big impact on your score. Read carefully and take notes of what to draft—a persuasive brief, an objective memo, a letter, etc. If you draft a memo when the assignment was to write a letter, you’ll lose points. 
  • Avoiding relevant authorities. Make a point of using every relevant case and statute provided in the exam booklet. Demonstrating your mastery of the authorities is important for scoring points.
  • Skimping on analysis. Graders look carefully at the analysis in your response—after all, they are assessing whether you are competent to practice law. Prioritize applying law to fact and skimp on other portions of your response, such as introductory paragraphs and reciting factual background.

How much time do I have on the performance test?

If you’re taking the Uniform Bar Exam, the performance test component, known as the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), allots merely 90 minutes per task. It’s not much time to complete your response. 

Is there a performance test on the NextGen bar exam?

Yes! A new version of the bar exam—the NextGen bar exam—will be administered in July 2026. The NextGen exam contains a performance test component. Much like the current MPT, the NextGen performance test will provide examinees with a drafting assignment plus all of the facts and law they need to complete the assignment. But the NextGen performance test will also test research skills, such as identifying search terms, updating sources, and determining whether sources are sufficient to complete the assigned task.

Make success a reality with Quimbee. Expert-written case briefs, outlines, and a practice-oriented bar review course give you the edge you’ll need to ace law school finals and conquer the bar exam. Book a free, 30-minute tour of Quimbee Bar Review+ to learn  how our top-rated bar review course uses an expert-graded performance test and other features to help you confidently prepare for the bar exam. 

Make your first attempt at the bar exam your last with Quimbee

  • 91% bar exam pass rate*
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • 1,450 real questions from past bar exams
*First-time bar exam takers who completed at least 75% of Quimbee Bar Review or Quimbee Bar Review+. The margin of error is 5.9%.

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