Advice for the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE): The essays you wrote for your law school exams were likely designed to take you 45 minutes to an hour to write. However, the Multistate Essay Exam requires you to analyze a fact pattern and write a response to the question(s) posed in 30 minutes! This can seem like an insurmountable task, but with the appropriate strategy, you will be able to tackle these questions in the time allotted. Below are a few tips to help you approach your MEE review.
5 Pieces of Advice for the Multistate Essay Exam
1. Read the call of the question first!
It is a good idea to read the call of the question before you dive into the fact pattern. The call of the question will indicate what subject is being tested. Use the fact pattern to help you organize your answer (e.g., if there are three questions, answer each question chronologically).
This will help you organize and focus your answer! Many students lose points for writing rambling answers that do not focus on what they are being asked! Thankfully, this is an avoidable error. Simply remember to read the call of the question first and organize your answer around the issues presented.
2. Pay attention to the facts.
As you read the fact pattern, underline or highlight key facts, including the names of the parties, places, dates and dollar amounts. No fact is extraneous. Make notes in the margins if that helps you.
Also, we highly recommend that you set aside a few minutes to review the fact pattern after you have written your answer to see if you forgot to include any facts (or if you assumed any facts that were not in the fact pattern). Incorporate the facts you missed into your answer. This will bolster your analysis and help you score additional points. It is truly one of our best pieces of advice for the multistate essay exam if you can make a habit of doing it! Students earn a surprising amount of points if they make it a habit to do a second “look-through” of the facts after they are done writing their answers.
3. If it helps you, outline your answer before you begin writing.
Outlining can be important because it helps you with organization and time management.
Use a heading for each issue. You can outline on your laptop or on paper. But if you are outlining on scratch paper make sure to transfer all of your information to your laptop! You do not want to forget to discuss issues that you identified earlier.
If outlining does not help you (or if you find it wastes too much time), you can skip it. However, we recommend trying both ways when you practice to see what works best for you.
Remember when you outline, to pay attention to the weight that may be given to each issue. Examinees often run out of time when answering questions because they treat all issues equally. While this might be the case for some fact patterns, it is not true of all fact patterns. For example, if you have identified five issues, take a moment to consider which issues will require a lengthier explanation.
4. Use the appropriate legal terminology in your answer.
Use the correct legal terminology in your answer. For example, if you have a Secured Transactions question, it is highly likely that you will have to discuss attachment, perfection, and the priority of creditors (e.g., purchase money security interest (PMSI) or buyer in the ordinary course of business). You will score more points if you include key terms and concepts because it shows the bar exam graders that you recognize the issues that were tested.
If you are looking to nail down some of this legal terminology by becoming familiar with the highly-tested areas of MEE law, please check out our MEE one-sheets. These give you an overview of the highly-tested areas of the MEE in one sheet, front and back.
5. Do practice essays for every subject.
Every administration some examinees fall prey to the predictions they have found on the Internet. These students chose to forego reviewing an entire subject. Do not make that mistake! Go into the exam with the confidence that you’ve been exposed to essay questions for every essay subject. Focus on practicing essays that test the most highly tested issues, but also make some time to review an essay that tests less common topics. Make sure to do both untimed and timed essays. It is important to work out any time management issues prior to exam day.
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