15 MEE Tips—From A 99th Percentile MEE Scorer
15 MEE Tips—From A 99th Percentile MEE Scorer: Students ask us for MEE tips all the time! Here, we give you 15 MEE tips from one of our course instructors who scored in the 99th percentile on the MEE. She used many of these techniques to pass the MEE with a super high score. These are also the techniques we teach our students to help them excel on the essay portion of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE).
15 MEE Tips—From A 99th Percentile MEE Scorer
1. Focus on the highly tested subjects
Not all subjects are tested equally! For example, Conflicts (which is infrequently tested) should not get the same amount of study time as Civil Procedure (which is tested the vast majority of exams!). You should not ignore anything, but you can study smart by focusing on the highly tested MEE subjects. See our MEE frequency chart here if you are looking to focus on the highly tested subjects!
2. Focus on the subjects most likely to come up
We make MEE predictions every administration (and you can find out more about them by attending our Multistate Essay Exam Seminar!). While predictions are nothing that you should absolutely rely on, they are worth considering when you are trying to decipher where to spend your time. We frequently predict several of the essay subjects, so making sure you look a little more at the predicted ones is not a bad idea. (The danger is if you rely on predictions and ignore all the subjects besides the predicted ones!)
3. Focus on the highly tested topics
There is no need to treat everything equally when you study for the MEE. Just like some subjects are more highly tested than others, so are some topics! One of the absolute best and most effective MEE tips that we can give you is to focus on the topics that are most likely to appear on the MEE. We have a free list of highly tested MEE topics here (or you can purchase our raved about MEE One-Sheets here).
Multistate Essay Exam Tip: When you study for the bar exam, keep in mind that your goal is not to learn every single topic in every single area of law. Your goal is to pass the exam! So it makes sense to spend most of your time on the subjects and topics that are most likely to appear. This is how you study smart!
4. Memorize the law early on
There are 14 subjects that could be tested on the MEE. So make sure you are memorizing the law early on! Do not wait until two weeks before the bar exam to start memorizing. We have some tips on how to memorize your bar exam outlines here. If you are feeling overwhelmed, start by memorizing the highly tested topics!
That way, you can get into the habit of memorizing and you will be focusing on the law that you are most likely to see on exam day!
5. Use “IRAC” for each issue
For every issue that you spot, use IRAC—that is, have an issue heading, state the rule, apply the law, and conclude. While it may seem boring to use IRAC, or even oversimplified, it is very important to use this method on the bar exam. It will make it much easier for the grader to see that you addressed every issue!
Multistate Essay Exam Tip: One mistake we sometimes see students make when they use IRAC is that when they get to the “R” (rule) portion, they write the exception to the rule without discussing the general rule. Remember to always state the general rule before discussing an exception or nuance. Oftentimes, you will get points for stating both rules.
6. Don’t worry about eloquent issue statements
An issue heading is fine—you don’t need an eloquent issue statement. An example of an issue heading is: “Common law marriage.” An example of an issue statement is: “Were Dave and Paula considered married under State A laws given their cohabitation and promise ring ceremony?”
The former takes two seconds to write and the latter takes a lot longer. While you might think that an issue statement sounds better, remember that all of these facts can come out in your analysis (that is where the grader will be looking for them!). It is better to have a lengthier analysis than a lengthier issue statement.
7. Don’t start with a conclusion (in general)
This is one of our MEE tips that most courses don’t teach, but we have read hundreds of graded essay answers and really believe that this approach will maximize your points.
In general, use IRAC, not CRAC. The reason you do not want to start with a conclusion first is that if you are wrong, the grader will penalize you for it. Some graders appear to not even read the rest of an answer to an issue if the conclusion is wrong.
If you are sure you are correct, then go ahead and start with a conclusion first. Otherwise, put it at the end. That way, the grader will have to read through your answer to get to the conclusion and even if you ultimately arrive at the incorrect conclusion, you will likely pick up some points!
8. Don’t argue both sides
In law school, you may have been very good at scrutinizing the facts and arguing both sides using the facts and the law. Law schools reward this approach!
The MEE graders award more points for applying the rule rather than arguing both sides. So, while occasionally you may want to state a majority rule and a minority rule, in general, you should focus on applying the law and arriving at a conclusion instead of arguing both sides. Oftentimes when there is a “right” answer (which there generally is) it is awkward to argue both sides and it can confuse the grader.
9. Keep your answer simple!
This is not a law school exam. So, don’t argue both sides to no end (as noted above). Don’t change the facts or arrive at wishy-washy conclusions. Don’t engage in a lengthy policy analysis or theoretical analysis of the law.
The MEE requires (and indeed awards points for) a simpler approach. Use IRAC. Methodically tackle each question. Then, move on!
10. Use paragraph breaks
Many students use a paragraph break between their issue, rule, analysis, and conclusion. This makes it very easy for the grader to read your work and score your essays! Not only that, but it makes your answer appear longer and more complete.
It is a much better idea to get in the habit of using paragraph breaks than writing long, crowded answers. Make it a habit to use paragraph breaks when you write your MEE essay answers.
11. Emphasize key words and phrases
After graders grade enough essays, they start to scan the essays rather than read them word-for-word. When they scan essays, they are cued in to look for certain words. Like, for example, if the question is testing insanity they may be looking for the M’Naghten test. Or if the essay contains a joint tortfeasor issue, they may be looking for joint and several liability. It helps to bold or underline key phrases to make it extra easy for the grader to give you points!
Multistate Essay Exam Tip: MEE tips like this one (bolding and underlining key words and phrases) and the prior one (using paragraph breaks) makes it easy for the grader to give you points. If you have an answer that is easy to read and if you bold the key issues you have addressed, you are making the grader’s job easy! Which means you are making it easy for them to award you points!
12. Practice, practice, practice!
While this may sound like one of the more obvious MEE tips, it is very important! Set aside time in your schedule for regular practice. You would be surprised at how often issues are re-tested. And you will feel much more confident walking into the MEE if you have practiced! So do not overlook this very important tip!
13. Time yourself
You should plan on taking at least one three-hour timed MEE where you answer six questions. If you struggle with timing, you should incorporate several timed exams into your study schedule.
Successfully completing an entire six-question MEE prior to exam day will boost your confidence, quell anxiety, and increase your chances of passing the bar exam. After all, if you can successfully complete the exam in time before the MEE, then there is a good chance you will be able to replicate that on the actual exam!
If you are looking for some tips on how to improve your timing on the MEE, check out this post!
14. If you blank out or don’t know how to answer a question, make up the law and go from there!
If you don’t know the law, it is highly likely that everyone else struggled with the law! For example, on the February 2018 MEE, sanctions were tested in the Civil Procedure question. This was not expected and a lot of students struggled with it.
The students who did the best and received above-average answers recited whatever they did know about sanctions and then made up the rest. In the best-case scenario, they happened to be right! In the worst-case scenario, they got the law wrong—but this is still better than writing nothing!
Practicing writing essays ahead of time will help you get used to BS’ing a bar exam essay answer!
15. Seek help if you need it
The last of our MEE tips is if you are feeling overwhelmed, consider bar exam private tutoring. Or, consider signing up for bar exam essay feedback if you are looking for high-quality feedback on your essay answers.
It is much better to seek help early on than to wait until you have failed the bar exam! So if you know that some structure, guidance, or feedback could help you, don’t hesitate to reach out before it is too late!
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