Topic 10: MEE Grading & Scoring: What You Need to Know - JD Advising
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MEE grading and scoring, multistate essay exam grading and scoring, passing mee scoreMEE Grading & Scoring: What You Need to Know

In this post, we cover how the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) is graded and scored. We tell you the grading standards and what you should aim for when you write a MEE answer.

MEE Grading & Scoring: What You Need to Know

A few notes about MEE graders

  • Keep in mind who your bar exam grader is. A typical bar exam grader oftentimes is a practicing attorney or judge (rather than, say, a law professor). Thus, an MEE grader will not be impressed by the same things that your law school professor was impressed by (i.e., detailed policy analysis, references to obscure cases, etc.).
  • Graders often are given a checklist which tells them how to award points.
  • Importantly, graders are often paid per essay, which means they have an incentive to read essays quickly. It is important to make it easy for graders to award points to your essay.
  • After a grader grades enough of the same essay, the grader naturally begins to “scan” essays rather than reading them word-for-word. Thus, it is important to bold or underline key words to quickly draw the grader’s attention to what you know.

Scaling of MEE scores

  • Each jurisdiction sets their own grading scale. Most MEE jurisdictions use a 1–6 scale, while some use a 1–10 scale, and some use different scales altogether (e.g., New York uses a 20–80 scale).
  • Each jurisdiction has their own grading policies, re-grading policies, and standards for essay graders.
  • The MEE is worth 30% of your score in a Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) jurisdiction. It is added to your Multistate Performance Test (MPT) score (which is worth 20% of your score in a UBE jurisdiction). Your overall raw score is scaled in comparison with how other examinees in your jurisdiction did. So if the exam is harder, the scale should be more generous. If the exam is easier, and students did better than average, the grading scale may be less generous.

MEE grading rubric

Below we have an MEE grading rubric which is released by the state of Washington. Many states do not release grading rubrics, but this is a good indication of approximately what each score means.

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What MEE score do I need to pass?

Naturally, you may be wondering what average score you need on each MEE answer to pass the MEE portion of the bar exam. In UBE jurisdictions,  you need an average score somewhere between 3.9 and 4.2 to pass. Specifically:

  • An average score of 3.9 is passing for jurisdictions that require a 260.
  • An average score of 4 out of 6 is passing for jurisdictions that require a 266.  
  • An average score of 4.1 out of 6 is passing for jurisdictions that require a 273.
  • An average score of 4.2 out of 6 is passing for jurisdictions that require a score of 280. 

This table tells you exactly what score you need to pass in your jurisdiction.

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(If you are curious about the math, check out this post.)

If you are not sure what a passing score is in your jurisdiction, check out this post on passing UBE scores by state.

Remember that you do not technically “need” to get these scores to pass the MEE in the vast majority of jurisdictions, including UBE jurisdictions. Rather, these scores will lead to an overall passing score on the MEE, so it is good to be aware of them. If you are in New York (where a 266 is a passing score) you could technically score higher on the MBE and as long as you got that overall score of 266, you could still “fail” the MEE and pass the bar exam.

How do I write a high-scoring MEE answer?

If you are studying the rubric above, it is clear there are a few things you want to focus on in order to write a high-scoring MEE answer: 

  • First, learn the rules of law. Focus on the highly tested MEE topics. If you do not know the rules, you will have nothing to apply!
  • Make sure to address the issues posed. You should closely focus on the call of the question and also reread the facts to make sure you’ve addressed issues in the fact pattern.
  • Make sure you are using enough facts to support your conclusions in your MEE answer.
  • Arrive at an accurate and well-reasoned conclusion using the law and facts provided.

Additional MEE posts you may find helpful:

Go to the next topic, Bonus: 15 MEE Tips from a 99th Percentile Scorer.

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