I failed the MEE (Multistate Essay Exam). What should I do?: You’ve been waiting anxiously for your score report for a few months. What happens if when finally receive your score report you discover that you failed the MEE (Multistate Essay Exam)? Start by taking a deep breath and trying not to panic. There are strategies to improve your score on the MEE, but in order to develop a plan it is necessary to conduct an honest self-assessment of your performance.
First, order a copy of your essay answers.
It is a good idea to order a copy of your MEE and MPT answers to see how you answered each question. Follow the procedure at the end of your score report regarding how to get a copy of your MEE and MPT answers. Note that each state has its own procedure and that copies of your answers must be requested within the time frame stated in the score report. It is important that you comply with the deadlines!
Even if you do not feel like reading your answers, request them anyway! They can be a valuable source of information! And they can help you see how you did under the pressure of an actual timed exam.
Keep in mind that each state determines its own rubric for grading MEEs. For example, some states use a six-point or a ten-point scale, while others have adopted a 15-point scoring system.
Second, after you receive your answers ask yourself the following questions:
Did I run out of time?
Time management is essential to completing any portion of the bar exam, including the MEE. There are only 30 minutes to answer each question. Did you spend too much time on one question, leaving yourself with almost no time to complete the other essays? Or, did you make detailed outlines on scratch paper, but fail to discuss all the issues you spotted in your answer? Did the first questions cause you to draw a blank and then proceed to panic? There are different strategies to address each of these common timing issues. But before addressing the strategies, you need to figure out which timing issues you had!
Did I know the laws that the MEEs were testing?
Did you make the mistake of trying to memorize every single rule in all of your 40-page long outlines? No one knows all of the laws that are tested on the exam. It is best to prioritize your studies by learning the rules for the most highly tested issues. It is also important to review the bar examiners’ MEE Analyses to see whether you should know multiple approaches to particular issues (e.g., Uniform Probate Code and common law). Remember that the Uniform Bar Exam tests generally accepted legal approaches, not the law of a particular state. Check out our MEE frequency chart to get a better idea of the most highly tested issues!
Further, if you are looking for an overview of the highly-tested areas of law on the MEE, 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.
Did I have trouble organizing my answer?
There are two kinds of questions that you are likely to encounter. The MEE might ask you to answer a broad question with multiple issues (e.g., Did an enforceable contract exist?). Or it could ask three to five questions about a fact pattern. It is important to determine whether you had organization issues with one or both of these question types.
Did I practice enough MEEs prior to taking the exam?
Maybe you neglected to do enough timed and untimed practice MEEs. Set aside time to practice MEEs for every subject (not just those subjects that are predicted!) especially if you did not look at any MEE questions or only looked at a few before the exam. And always take the time to review the bar examiners’ MEE Analyses as well as any available high-scoring student answers. If you visit the “Minnesota Essay Questions and Good Representative Answers” section of the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners’ website, you can find past MEE questions (and good student answers) beginning with the February 2014 exam.
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