How to Pass the Multistate Essay Exam: 5 Tips
The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) consists of six questions. You have 30 minutes to answer each question. In Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) jurisdictions, the MEE component comprises 30% of the overall score. Non-UBE jurisdictions that administer the MEE set their own policies to determine how much weight should be given to the MEE in relation to the overall score. Because the MEE compromises almost 1/3 of the overall score in UBE jurisdictions, it is worth spending some time developing an efficient strategy to answer these questions. Below are five times to help you pass the multistate essay exam and improve your MEE score.
Five Tips to Pass the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)
1. Use your time wisely!
You will have three hours to complete six 30-minute MEEs. It is important that you move on to the next question after each 30-minute increment. Many students make the mistake of spending a few extra minutes on a question (or several questions), often running out of time to answer the last MEE.
If you are typing the exam, note that ExamSoft has a timer. If you are handwriting the exam, you should quickly jot down the times that they should move on to the next essay question when the session begins. For example, if your exam starts at 9:00 am, then you should move on to the next question at 9:30 am, 10:00 am, 10:30 am, 11:00 am, and 11:30 am respectively. To get used to the time constraints, practice MEEs at home under timed conditions.
2. Be aware of the highly-tested areas of MEE Law.
While you may think everything has an equal chance of being tested on the MEE, that is actually not the case. While it is true that anything is technically “fair game” the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) tends to retest many areas of law over and over again.You can maximize your chances of passing the MEE by being familiar with these highly-tested areas of law!
Wondering what the highly tested areas of MEE law are? The free way to figure it out is to read through past MEE questions and answers.
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3. Answer the call of the question!
Make sure to answer exactly what the question is asking. You only have 30 minutes to complete each essay and you do not want to spend time discussing rules that are not directly related to the question (e.g., if you are asked to answer a question about hearsay, discuss the hearsay exceptions that are most applicable to the facts provided; do not give the examiners a run down of every hearsay exception you remember). Do not attempt to regurgitate the entirety of your outline.
Use headings to help you organize your answer around the questions asked.
Some students make sure they answer the call of the question by outlining their answers ahead of time. If you are a fan of outlining, after you read the fact pattern and the questions the bar examiners want you to address, quickly type or write down the issues you have identified for discussion. This will give you an idea of how to divide your time to address each issue and help you adhere to the 30-minute time limit. Sometimes students neglect to outline before writing and forget to discuss issues they identified when first reading the fact pattern causing them to miss out on valuable points. If you are not a fan of outlining, at the very least, double check to make sure that you have not overlooked any facts before you begin writing – every fact is there for a reason!
4. Be aware of possible crossover questions.
While many of the subjects are generally discussed in stand-alone questions, there are a few subjects that you may encounter in a crossover question. For example, Conflict of Laws is no longer tested by itself. It is generally tested with Civil Procedure, Family Law or Decedents’ Estates. Also, Agency and Partnership are often, but not always, tested together. It is also possible to see a Trusts/Decedents’ Estates question, particularly if you see a fact pattern involving a pour over will.
Even in July 2016, the NCBE tested Evidence with Criminal Procedure. That was certainly a new way to test these subjects!
Being aware of the questions that typically “crossover” can help you write a focused answer.
5. Discuss majority and minority approaches for major issues.
The MEE does not test the law of one particular jurisdiction. As you complete practice essays and review the bar examiners’ analyses, make a note of when the examiners want examinees to state what the outcome would be if a jurisdiction applied a certain law. For example, if you see an essay question on whether a mortgage severs a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, state what the effect of the mortgage would be in a lien theory and title theory jurisdiction. Similarly, if you see a trusts essay that asks about disclaimer, note the rules for disclaimer under the Uniform Probate Code and common law, and tell the examiners how the assets should be distributed in both scenarios.
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