If you’re working towards becoming a lawyer, you’ll need to know about the different components that make up the bar exam. In many states, one of those components is the MEE, the Multi-state Essay Examination. In this article, we take a closer look at what this test involves, and how to successfully pass it, so that you can move a step closer towards achieving your dream of becoming an attorney.
Although arguably the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) in the most difficult part of the majority of state bar exams, it’s fair to say that more candidates are worried about the bar exams essay portion, the MEE. This is because the amount of material that may be tested in the essay format is so great, and the format so open, that it’s no wonder than so many bar takers are anxious about this element of the examination than any other part of the test.
Many jurisdictions have included state-specific essays in their bar examinations, but in addition to these, the MEE or Multistate Essay Exam has been made a key component of the bar in no less than five different US territories and 33 different jurisdictions.
Since passing the MEE is such an important part of being admitted to the bar, it’s important to know as much as possible about this test. With this in mind, we cover all of the bases thoroughly in this guide.
What Does The MEE Cover?
The Multistate Essay Exam draws its questions from a number of MBE subjects. These include:
- Constitutional law
- Criminal procedure and law
- Real property
Also, it tests other subjects like:
- Conflict of law
- Business associations
- Federal civil procedures
- Family law
- Uniform commercial code
- Estates and trusts
The NCBE or National Conference of Bar Examiners who created this exam have said that the purpose of this exam is to test the ability of the candidate to both identify the legal issues that are raised in a factual, hypothetical situation, and to separate the material which is relevant to the case from the material which isn’t relevant.
The test also involves presenting a clear and reasoned analysis of all the relevant issues in a composition that is well-organized and concise. They should demonstrate a good understanding of all the fundamental legal principles that are relevant when it comes to solving the issues that have been raised in this factual situation.
What Format Does The MEE Take?
Every year, 9 30-minute essay questions are written by the NCBE, taking topics from a testable pool of subjects. These questions are then sent to the various jurisdictions, which include the Multistate Essay Examination as part of their state examination. Every jurisdiction then chooses 6 of the 9 essays which they then administer to candidates.
Typically, the essays will be administered on either the first or third day of the state’s Bar Exam. In the case of states which require the MEE test, generally the morning exam session will be reserved for the testing of subject areas that are specific to that state as well as the MPT (Multistate Performance Test). Usually, the MEE will be taken during the afternoon testing session, with bar takers being allotted a total of 3 hours in which to complete their 6 30-minute essays.
Is There A Strategy For Tackling The MEE?
A common misconception that exists about preparation for the bar examination’s essay portion is that you must be able to fully master all of the material that could potentially be covered in the test before you try attempting any of the practice essays. First-time takers of the bar often have this attitude, but it could prove detrimental when it comes to achieving some solid progress when preparing for the bar.
One of the best ways of succeeding in your MEE is just to start writing lots of practice essays as early as you can. You don’t need to know everything to attempt an essay. The knowledge comes later, and in the first instance, it’s important to practice the form and construction of the essay. If you wait until you are more knowledgeable, you have enough time to get sufficient practice in before the big day.
A more effective way to ramp up the essay preparation is to begin by setting out essay questions, then comparing them with model answers that are supplied by a bar review course. Once you’ve done this, start writing some practice essays using open books, consulting bar review outlines, and class notes whenever necessary.
You shouldn’t worry too much about completing your essays within the time limit until you reach the last few weeks of your preparation. In the first few weeks of your essay practice, simply focus on identifying the relevant issues, on articulating the applicable rules of law, then applying those laws to all the facts with a concise analysis section.
You don’t need to write practice essays for each subject area that may be tested on the final exam. However, it’s wise to read some sample essays on each topic so you can get a good idea of how every subject may be tested.
Registering For The MEE
The Multistate Essay Examination will always be administered by the participating jurisdictions in July and February on the Tuesday that falls before the final Wednesday of the month. If you’re in a jurisdiction that administers the MEE, you will be registered automatically for this test when you register for the bar exam.
You can register to take the bar examination by creating an NCBE user account. When you register, you’re given your own unique NCBE number. You’ll need this number to register with your state bar examination board.
Top Tips For Studying For The MEE
Now you know how the MEE is structured and the subjects that could be tested, the only thing that remains is to know how to ace the exam. With this in mind, here are some top tips to help you do well on this important test::
Focus on The Most Tested Subjects
One of the best ways of maximizing your chances of acing this test is by making sure you have a sound understanding of all of the most commonly tested legal areas. Some subjects are frequently tested on this exam. These include civil procedure, secured transactions, contracts, agency & partnerships, and corporations and LLCs. Other subjects, like conflicts of law, are rarely tested. Therefore, although you shouldn’t entirely overlook studying any subject that may be tested on the MEE, you should dedicate more time to studying the most highly-tested subjects.
Understand How an Essay Should Be Structured
It’s vital to ensure you can structure your answers correctly. Ensure that your answers can be easily read and are clear. If you’re asked three individual questions in the essay, make sure your answer is organized into three separate sections, with underlined and bold headings.
It needs to be simple for graders to read the answer you’ve provided and see at a glance that you’ve answered every question. Use short paragraphs to answer the question. Your first paragraph must contain the rule. The next must contain the analysis, and the third needs to contain a conclusion. This format makes it simple for graders to recognize you’ve joined the dots and make their life easier, and your grade better.
Self-Grade All Your Practice Essays
It’s important to do some MEE practice questions. However, just writing the practice essays then skimming through a model response isn’t enough. It’s important to self-grade your answers so you can see if you’ve got it wrong or right.
You can self-grade your MEE answers by comparing them to model answers. When you do this, make notes of anything you’re consistently doing well. If the rule has been misstated, write the correct one. If you’ve made an error in the analysis, note the mistake then rectify it.
When you self-grade, you aren’t just forced to spot your mistakes, you’re also forced to take time to fix them. If you actually think through the reasons why you’ve made a mistake before fixing it, the chances of making the same error again are lower.
Summarizing The MEE
Now you know what the MEE is and what it involves, you’ll be well-placed to succeed in this all-important test. If you’re in a jurisdiction where the MEE is a component of the bar exam, you need to understand which subjects the essay test may cover and how you can maximize your chances of acing the paper. Follow the advice that we’ve provided here and you should find that you have the opportunity to do well, and to take once step closer to achieving your dream of becoming a lawyer.