Topic 9: 5 Critical Multistate Essay Exam Formatting Tips
5 Critical Multistate Essay Exam Formatting Tips
If you are taking the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) or the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), it is important to understand these five critical Multistate Essay Exam formatting tips. These are tips that students often overlook—and it costs them points! The goal of these formatting tips is to make it as easy as possible for a grader to see that you have identified the issues and analyzed them properly. In other words, the goal is to make it as easy as possible for the grader to give you points!
Here, we tell you how to format your MEE answer so you can maximize your Multistate Essay Exam score.
5 Critical Multistate Essay Exam Formatting Tips
1. Use IRAC
IRAC stands for “issue, rule, analysis, conclusion.” You should get in the habit of using IRAC when you write and format your MEE answer. Some students get out of the habit of using IRAC in law school. Or they think it is “too basic.”
But following this basic formula will get you points!
When graders are reading your answer, they are comparing it with a checklist that helps them to see if you spotted the issues, stated the rules, analyzed them accurately, and concluded. If you use a basic IRAC formula, the grader will be able to instantly see that you provided a complete answer. Further, they will automatically like your answer more because you made it easy for them to do their job!
The grader is not impressed by how eloquent of a writer you are. They just want to see you have identified the relevant issues—so focus on that!
2. Underline headings
Each issue should be preceded by an underlined issue heading. For example, if you are discussing battery, you should have the heading:
(then state the rule, analysis, and conclusion).
You do not need to write a lengthy issue statement! A simple heading with a paragraph break that alerts the grader to which issue you are discussing will suffice. Everything you might put in an “issue statement” will follow in your rule, analysis, and conclusion.
3. Use paragraph breaks
It is important to space your answer out! If your answer is difficult to follow and there are no paragraph breaks, a grader will not want to read it.
On the contrary, if you have paragraph breaks between each issue (and each part of “IRAC”) a grader will instantly like your answer more. It is easier on their eyes. It makes your answer look longer. And it makes it easy for the grader to see you have identified the issues.
Bar Exam Tip: We sometimes give students the opposite advice if they really do not know how to analyze an essay! If you have no idea how to approach an essay fact pattern, it is not a bad idea to not use as many paragraph breaks. If your answer is harder to read, the grader might not read it and might give you more points than deserved for a less-than-adequate answer. We see this happen frequently when we review student answers! In general, though, it is best to use paragraph breaks!
4. Remember to state the rule before stating an exception to the rule
This is a mistake we see students make a lot. They are excited that they know what the fact pattern is testing and they dive right into some nuanced exception.
Remember to connect the dots for the grader! State the rule first and then state the exception to the rule. Oftentimes, you will get additional points for saying both!
5. Bold or emphasize key words
After a grader reads enough essays, they stop reading and start “scanning” them. They are trained to look for and focus in on specific key words. So if you happen to know one of the legal “buzzwords” that is being tested, by all means, bold it or underline it! If the question tests the business-judgment rule and you have it conveniently bolded for the grader, they will instantly have faith in your answer. And. they won’t accidentally read past it or miss it.
The goal of these MEE formatting tips is to get points! And if you follow this tip, you will certainly pick up some points that might otherwise be left on the table.
Go to the next topic, Topic 10: How is the MEE Scored?
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