As you develop your approach to the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), keep in mind that you do not want to write your answer as if you were taking a law school exam. Below are five key differences between law school exams and the MEE that you want to be aware of as you practice MEEs at home. MEE answers are more different from law school exams than you may think!
How MEE Answers Are Different From Law School Exam Answers
1. You only have 30 minutes to write your MEE answers to each question.
In law school, your professor probably gave you anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes to answer one essay question. As a result, you probably have not had much practice, if any, with the blistering speed of the MEE. Because you have less time, you generally only have 5 minutes or so to analyze each issue. Practice taking timed exams. Start with one and then gradually increase the number of timed exams you complete in each session. The earlier you identify any timing issues, the easier it is to tackle them.
2. Some questions may test more than one area of law.
You probably are not used to fact patterns that test more than one area of law. However, because you only have six essays on the MEE, the Examiners may (and do!) pack in two subjects in one fact pattern. Common crossover essays include but are not limited to: Corporations/Agency, Agency/ Partnership, Criminal Law/Criminal Procedure, and Civil Procedure/Conflicts of Law. Do not panic if you see more than one topic in an essay question. Read the call of the question carefully before you begin.
3. Do not waste time discussing tangential issues.
You only have 30 minutes and it is virtually impossible to write a long and very well thought out response. In law school, your professor probably encouraged you to discuss a number of relevant issues. In MEE answers, however, the scope of relevancy should be much narrower. For example, if a fact pattern requires a discussion of how an easement may be terminated, do not discuss analyze multiple methods for termination. Instead, see which method the facts are directing you towards. Nor do the examiners want you to engage in a lengthy discussion of non-obvious issues or give a long background on the policy reasons for the law.
4. Do not spend time distinguishing the holdings of different cases in your analysis.
In law school essay exams, a great way to beef up your analysis is by distinguishing the facts in the fact pattern from the facts in cases you read in law school. Or you discuss why the holding of particular case should not control the outcome based on the facts in your exam question. This is not the approach you want to follow on the MEE. Bear in mind that the bar exam does not test unsettled issues of law. Apply the rule to the facts and move on. However, make sure to address different approaches when necessary (i.e., common law, UPC, etc.). These different approaches are well-settled law in different jurisdictions throughout the country.
5. Do not argue both sides of an issue unless the question indicates otherwise.
Another common way to add to your analysis on law school exams is by clearly stating what the Plaintiff would likely argue with respect to a certain issue and how the Defendant would respond, or vice versa. Again, with the time constraints of the exam, there is not much time to engage in such an analysis. Unless the question calls for such an analysis, do not use this approach. For example, in MEE answers, you may end up arguing both sides, especially if there is any ambiguity regarding which party has title in a recording statute question, or when you need to evaluate the merits of X’s claims and/or defenses.
Christine, one of our bar exam tutors, wrote this post. She has passed three bar exams, including California, New York, and New Jersey. Christine scored in the 95 percentile on the MBE, and specializes in helping students raise their uniform bar exam scores!
Looking for MEE Help?
Free or discounted resources
- Free popular bar exam guides (on the highly tested MEE topics, how to pass the bar exam, and what to do if you failed the bar exam) written by bar exam experts!
- Free bar exam webinars taught by top bar exam experts
- Our new Free Bar Exam Resource Center, which includes our most popular free guides, posts, webinars, and more!
Our most POPULAR and highly rated bar exam resources are:
- A five-star MEE course that provides you with the best instruction, outlines, and questions. Preview our course for free here!
- MEE One-Sheets—rated five stars! Our customers love these!
- NEW MEE Mastery Class, an effective and engaging way to review the highly tested areas of law on the MEE!
- MEE Feedback for those seeking substantive and organizational review of practice questions
- MEE Private Tutoring for those seeking one-on-one help to pass the MEE
You can read more about our MEE services here.