The Patent Bar Exam MPEP – What to expect on the day of your exam?

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The Patent Bar Exam – What to expect on the day of your exam

We were talking with two individuals earlier this week about the MPEP and what to expect on the day of the exam.  This is a great question and it shows they are trying to prepare as best as possible. It also got us thinking about how there is a widening discrepancy between what you/students/patent practitioners will use on a daily basis vs. what is provided on the exam.  What do we mean by this?  Well, here’s our question:

The USPTO has created a fully searchable MPEP.  You have the ability to enter keywords, phrases, and search across the entire MPEP.  It’s a very useful tool and resource.  This version of the MPEP is in stark contrast to what is provided on the exam.  The format of the MPEP you/students encounter on the day of the exam is very limited.  You are unable to search or query across the entire MPEP and instead, must pre-select a chapter and perform a *very* limited search function within that specific chapter.

Additionally, how many of you use the ‘control-F’ or ‘command-f’ shortcut to bring up a search window/find window in text?  Yeah, don’t do this on the day of the exam at Prometric.  It won’t work, and sometimes can freeze up your screen.

We not really sure the reasoning behind having different interfaces.  Whilst we can assume it’s most likely the software that was built/provided/used by Prometric, it appears this software has been in place for a number of years now.  It would be nice to see it updated to more accurately reflect what actual patent practitioners will be using.

Have a look for yourself at the differences:

Go take a look at the USPTO MPEP (here)

Now compare that to MPEP interface provided on the day of the exam at Prometric (here)


So, what to do to practice?  Using the searchable MPEP (web browser) is nice and useful for quick lookups and to help process information rapidly.  That said, we still recommend downloading the pdf version of the MPEP, and using adobe to perform the search functions.  This will most reflect what you’ll encounter on the day of the exam.

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