How To Write A High-Scoring MEE Answer
If you’re in a UBE jurisdiction, the MEE makes up 30% of your total bar exam score. Needless to say, it’s a significant component of the exam! The MEE consists of six fact patterns, and you have three hours for the entire exam. We recommend that you allocate 30 minutes per fact pattern. In other words, for each fact pattern, you have 30 minutes to read the question, read the fact pattern, identify the relevant issues, and write your answer. To that end, prior to exam day, you should know the black letter law cold so that you’re confident identifying issues and applying the relevant rules. You should also practice working through fact patterns under timed conditions. We’ve discussed preparing for the MEE in detail in other blog posts. In this post, we’ll focus on how to write a high-scoring MEE answer.
How To Write A High-Scoring MEE Answer
1. Respond to the call of the question.
An MEE fact pattern is not a law school fact pattern where your goal is simply to point out as many issues as possible. Rather, MEE fact patterns have specific questions that you are asked to respond to. A common mistake among exam takers is not responding to the call of the question. Some exam takers do this simply because they’re distracted by other issues, while other exam takers do this purposely because they feel less confident answering the specific question and more confident addressing irrelevant issues that they’ve identified. Don’t let this happen to you. No matter what, respond to the call of the question and identify the issues that are relevant to your response.
If you’re unsure about how to respond to a particular question, there are still ways to respond to the call and earn points in your answer.
2. Organize your answer using IRAC.
Writing a structured and organized answer is one of the most effective ways to earn points on the MEE. We recommend that you use the basic IRAC structure for each issue—in other words, don’t use CRAC. You should identify each issue that you plan to discuss in bold and then write a separate paragraph for the R, A, and C sections. This provides a clear structure to your answer and makes it easy to read (and grade).
Check out our post on how to use IRAC on the MEE if you’re looking for more detailed information.
3. Use facts to strengthen your analysis section.
In each IRAC, you should use plenty of facts from the fact pattern to “beef up” your analysis section. You want to show the grader that you know how to apply the rule to the facts at hand and that you know which facts are relevant to your analysis. It’s not enough to merely write that a rule dictates a particular result—you need to specifically explain how the rule applies to the fact pattern to increase your point tally.
4. Analyze the facts to reach your conclusion.
On many law school exams, professors often ask students to explore both sides of an issue in their answer because there really is no “correct” answer. The MEE is different: there is a correct answer to each question. When you apply the rule to the facts for a particular issue on the MEE, you don’t need to explore both parties’ arguments. You should instead apply the rule to the facts in the way that you believe leads to the correct conclusion.
There is one caveat to this. If a fact pattern includes an argument raised by a party, and that argument is relevant to an issue that you plan to discuss, you should be sure to address that argument even if it’s unlikely to be successful. You can be brief in your treatment of a losing argument, but you want to show the grader that you know why such an argument will likely fail.
5. Write clearly.
Ok—this probably sounds obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind as you craft your response: be sure to write clearly on the MEE. Use the active voice and write short, declarative sentences. This makes your answer easy to read and understand. You don’t want to create a situation where an exam grader has to read your answer several times simply to understand what you were trying to say. Long, convoluted sentences that use the passive voice may be great for a Law Review article—or a legal opinion written a century ago—but they’re nothing but trouble on the MEE. Clear, direct writing shows the grader that you know what you’re talking about.
6. Be mindful of timing.
You should be mindful of time as you work your way through each MEE fact pattern. While we don’t suggest obsessively looking at the clock, you should be aware of how much time you have remaining for a particular fact pattern and allocate your time accordingly. You should also try to leave yourself two or three minutes at the end of each 30 minute period to briefly review your answer. Finally, you should be disciplined with your time—i.e., try not to spend more than 30 minutes on a particular fact pattern. For example, even if you spend only two extra minutes on each of the first five fact patterns, you’ll leave yourself with only 20 minutes for the sixth fact pattern—a recipe for a rushed and incomplete answer.
The big picture
In sum, you can create a high-scoring MEE answer when you: (1) directly respond to the call of the question; (2) use IRAC; (3) use the facts strategically; (4) apply the rule confidently toward the correct conclusion; (5) write clearly; and (6) are mindful of time.
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