How To Predict MEE Subjects That Could Be Tested
Many companies, JD Advising included, attempt to predict which subjects the NCBE will select to test on the next administration of the MEE portion of the Uniform Bar Exam. No one has “inside knowledge” when making these predictions; rather, they are guesses based on patterns we have seen from previous administrations of the MEE. Predicting what subjects might appear on the bar exam can help you decide where to spend some extra time studying, and might warn you if there are subjects more likely to come up where you should spend a little extra time. In this post, we discuss some of the patterns and insights from the MEE Frequency Chart that can help you predict MEE subjects for your bar exam.
How To Predict MEE Subjects That Could Be Tested
1. First, notice which subjects are tested more frequently than others.
The NCBE does not test all subjects equally. Over the past 22 administrations of the bar exam (since July 2011), certain subjects have appeared more frequently, such as Civil Procedure (appearing 15 times as an entire question, and once as a crossover question) while other subjects are rarer (e.g., Conflict of Laws, which appeared 5 times, all of which were crossover questions with another subject). Here is a ranking of the subjects based on how frequently they appeared over the past 22 administrations of the bar exam:
- Civil Procedure – tested 15 times as an entire question, 1 time as a crossover question.
- Contracts – tested 13 times as an entire question.
- Agency & Partnership – tested 11 times as an entire question, and 3 times as a crossover question.
- Real Property – tested 11 times as an entire question.
- Secured Transaction – tested 10 times as an entire question
- Corporations – tested 8 times as an entire question, and 2 times as a crossover question.
- Constitutional Law – tested 8 times as an entire question, and 2 times as a crossover question.
- Evidence – tested 7 times as an entire question, and 3 times as a crossover question.
- Decedents’ Estates (Wills) – tested 7 times as an entire question, and 3 times as a crossover question.
- Trusts & Future Interests – tested 7 times as an entire question, and 2 times as a crossover question.
- Family Law – tested 6 times as an entire question, and 2 times as a crossover question (although not reflected in the chart, it crossed over with Conflict of Laws in July 2011 and February 2017).
- Torts – tested five times as an entire question, and 2 times as a crossover question.
- Criminal Procedure – tested 4 times as an entire question, and 3 times as a crossover question.
- Criminal Law – tested 4 times as an entire question, and 2 times as a crossover question.
- Conflict of Laws – tested 5 times as a crossover question.
2. Next, take note of the subjects that have appeared as a “crossover” subject with another subject:
Certain subjects have never been tested as a crossover question with another subject (e.g., Contracts, Real Property, Secured Transactions), while others have appeared numerous times as a crossover question subject (e.g., Conflicts, Agency & Partnership, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Decedents’ Estates).
When you make your predictions, be sure to account for those subjects that commonly appear as crossover questions (and what subjects they tend to cross over with). Even if something has been tested somewhat recently, it might still appear as a crossover subject, especially if a subject that it is frequently crossed over with is likely to be tested. Here are the subjects that appeared most frequently as a crossover subject, and what they commonly cross over with:
- Conflicts of Law – appeared as a crossover subject 5 times. It crossed over with Civil Procedure, Decedents’ Estates, and Family Law.
- Agency & Partnership – appeared as a crossover subject 3 times. Agency has appeared as a crossover subject with Corporations and Torts. Partnership has only appeared as a crossover subject with Agency.
- Criminal Procedure – appeared as a crossover subject 3 times. All 3 times it crossed over with Evidence.
- Evidence – appeared as a crossover subject 3 times. It has appeared as a crossover subject either with Criminal Law or Criminal Procedure.
- Decedents’ Estates – appeared as a crossover subject 3 times. It most often combines with Conflict of Laws, but has also appeared as a crossover with Trusts.
3. Notice which subjects have been tested back-to-back.
The NCBE has never tested some subjects as an entire essay back to back (this does not count the instances in which the NCBE included the subject as a crossover subject). This also does not take into account the July 2020/September 2020/October 2020 administrations of the bar exam, which we omitted due to the unique nature of those administrations.
The NCBE has not tested the following subjects back-to-back:
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law
- Family Law
So, if you notice that the NCBE tested one of these subjects on the last administration of the bar exam, it is less likely (but not impossible!) that the subject will appear on your administration of the bar exam. On the other hand, subjects like Civil Procedure and Contracts commonly appear on back-to-back administrations. So, even if those subjects appeared on the last bar exam, they could still very well turn up on your bar exam and are worth your attention!
4. Look at subjects that are ripe for testing.
Next, look at which subjects the NCBE has not tested in a while. Conflict of Laws has not appeared on the last 5 administrations of the bar exam, having been last tested in July 2019. Torts has not appeared since February 2019. It is entirely likely that subjects absent for several administrations are “ripe for testing,” and thus might be more likely to show up on your bar exam!
5. A few other notes to be aware of:
- Civil Procedure – this has been the most highly tested subject since 2011, appearing on 16 administrations of the bar exam. We suspect that this is partially due to the fact that prior to 2015, the MBE portion of the bar exam did not include Civil Procedure. Nonetheless, since the MBE incorporated Civil Procedure, Civil Procedure still appears frequenlty amongst the MEE subjects.
- Although Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure are not frequently tested if viewed separately, looking at them as one subject, they have appeared on 12 of the last 22 administrations of the bar exam. That is about the same frequency with which Secured Transactions appears on the exam. So, even though they don’t seem to appearfrequently, there is a fairly decent chance that one of the two subjects (either Criminal Law OR Criminal Procedure) could appear on your bar exam.
- Negotiable Instruments (which tested Article III of the Uniform Commercial Code) is no longer a tested subject on the MEE. You can disregard it for purposes of attempting to predict which subjects will are likely to be on the MEE.
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