How Long Should My MEEs Be For The Bar Exam?
Many test-takers want to write the perfect MEE answer and question how long their essay should be. As much as we’d like to tell you “five paragraphs and you’re golden,” the answer is not as straightforward as it seems. Answers that are too short will obviously miss points, but answers that are too long do not always get as many points as students expect if they can’t concisely and methodically convey the information the grader needs to award them points. There is no “perfect” length for MEE essays, but these guidelines below will help guide you when drafting your MEE essays.
How Long Should My MEEs Be For The Bar Exam?
1. General Length
While there is no magic length, generally the highest scoring essays are about one page in length.
This is an appropriate amount of space to draft an issue statement, rule paragraph, analysis, and conclusion. The length will fluctuate depending on the topic. Constitutional law and torts essays are generally longer than contract essays. Additionally, some essays may only test one issue while other essays can include multiple areas of law.
However, if your practice essays are about half a page, then keep reading because it is possible your analysis is too short. Conversely, if you are writing two-page essays or longer, read below to find out what can be cut it down!
2. Rule Paragraph
The rule paragraph should be just long enough to list every element or factor needed for your analysis section.
For lists longer than two elements, it is best to add numbers. Adding numbers for each element helps graders easily spot each of the factors you will analyze and ensure you covered everything necessary to earn the full amount of points. While you can list your legal tests in bullet form, that may appear to be adding unnecessary length. The best practice is to keep the rules in the traditional paragraph format, but adding numbers as discussed above. Again while some rules are longer than others, the typical rule paragraph can be completed in about four to five sentences.
3. Analysis Paragraph
The best approach for the analysis section is to make sure it is at least twice as long as the rules.
Your analysis CANNOT be shorter than your rule paragraph. If this is the case, you are likely not analyzing each rule in depth. Each component of your rule paragraph should take a few sentences to analyze. This is accomplished by writing about the facts in the essay, and then applying those facts to the rules you set forth above. The biggest reason for short essays, and often the biggest loss in points, comes from a failure to adequately incorporate facts from the problem, into the essay.
If your essays appear too long, check to make sure you are only addressing what is being asked. If the torts essay tells you that the individual negligently performed an action, do not write a full essay analyzing whether that person was negligent. It is important to stick to answering only what is asked because adding more than this will come off as not actually knowing the answer. Bar graders do not want to read an essay where a student has thrown every contract rule into an essay hoping to se what sticks. Simply answer the prompt, no more, no less.
While the conclusion is the shortest section, it is critical. You MUST have a conclusion. This can be accomplished in one or two sentences. Start by saying “In conclusion,” then state your final assessment of the matter, and finish with the reason. If you do not have time, just give the final assessment, but put something down.
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