Five MEE Topic Frequency Insights Since 2016
There is one question every bar examiner wants an answer to before sitting for the bar exam. What essay topics is the NCBE going to include on the bar exam? Sadly, no one outside of the NCBE knows for certain which essay topics will appear on any bar exam administration! However, after analyzing MEE frequency beginning with the February 2017 administration and continuing through the February 2021 administration, we noticed five very interesting patterns with the selection of topics. This post will explain 5 of our MEE topic frequency insights into the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) selection of MEE topics over the past 5 years for the Uniform Bar Exam.
Five MEE Topic Frequency Insights Since 2016
1. Agency & Partnership and Corporations & LLCs appeared in all but one bar administration in the past 5 years.
The NCBE tested Agency & Partnership 64% of the time in the past 5 years. Corporations and LLCs appeared 45% of the time in the past 5 years. In every bar administration with the exception of the July 2017 exam, the NCBE included either one or both Agency & Partnership and Corporations and LLCs. Therefore, at least one of these topics appeared 91% of the time in the past 5 years. From a bar preparation point of view, it would be in the interest of all bar examiners to have a good grasp of the issues and rules surrounding both of these subjects as it is likely one will see these topics on the bar exam.
2. Criminal Procedure and Torts did not frequently appear over the past 5 years.
Criminal Procedure appeared only 27% of the time in the past 5 years. Torts appeared even less, a mere 18% of the time. While these topics are both on the MBE, it seems that the NCBE does not prioritize them as MEE topics. While students may not frequently see these topics on the essay portion of the bar exam, it is still a good idea to complete practice essays on these topics during preparation. Students who complete practice essays tend to have more insight into how issues appear on the bar exam. Ultimately, this knowledge can be applied to increase one’s MBE scores given that these topics are less likely to appear on the MEE.
3. Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Real Property appeared the most frequently on the MEE.
In every bar administration over the past 5 years, the examiners included at least one MEE question on Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Real Property. As individual topics, each appeared 64% of the time in the past 5 years. In 73% of the past five years, the MEE tested 2-out-of-3 or 3-out-of- 3 of these topics. Students tend to find these subjects difficult due to the complex rules students have to memorize to excel in these subject areas. Students should focus on memorizing the law in these subjects and practice writing essays for these topics early and often throughout bar preparation.
4. Decedents’ Estates (Wills) and/or Trusts and Future Estates appeared on all but one bar administration in the past 5 years.
Decedents’ Estates (Wills) and/or Trusts and Future Estates appeared on the MEE 91% of the time in the past 5 years. The NCBE tested Trusts and Future Estates 55% of the time over the past 5 years. Decedents’ Estates (Wills), on the other hand, only appeared 45% of the time over the past 5 years. Decedents’ Estates (Wills) and Trusts and Future Estates have only been tested on the same exam 18% of the time over the past 5 years. Therefore, it is likely that students will see either Decedents’ Estates (Wills) or Trusts and Future Estates but not both on any given bar administration. Although there are significantly more testable issues with Decedents’ Estates (Wills), most students tend to have a strong understanding of this topic. In comparison, bar examinees tend to struggle with Trusts and Future Estates even with though the number of issues arising out of this subject matter is more limited. Since these topics are MEE topics, students should make efforts to learn the material and practice writing essays.
5. Constitutional Law and Evidence are normally appear on the same exam and normally do not appear alongside Criminal Law.
Constitutional Law appeared on the MEE 55% of the time in the past 5 years. Evidence appeared 45% of the time in the past 5 years. And finally, Criminal Law appeared only 36% of the time over the past 5 years. Constitutional Law and Evidence were included on the same exam 80% of the time in the past 5 years. On the other hand, Criminal Law was only tested once when Constitutional Law was tested and once when Evidence was tested over the past 5 years. It is likely that Constitutional Law and Evidence will be tested on the same exam. It is also likely that Criminal Law will not appear when one of either Constitutional Law or Evidence is tested. Constitutional Law and Evidence essay questions tend to be harder and more in-depth than Criminal Law essay questions. Students should have a strong understanding of both Constitutional Law and Evidence so they are better prepared for two essays commonly tested together on the same bar exam. Students can also find common MEE mistakes students make on the UBE to help with their MEE bar preparation.
Ultimately, students must prepare for all contingencies and all topics in order to perform well on the MEE. However, understanding some of the MEE patterns can help bar examinees better prepare for topics that tend to appear frequently!
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