A Step-by-Step Approach on How to Read, Organize, & Draft Your Answer to an MEE Essay Question
What You’ll Learn:
- How to Allocate Your Time Per MEE Question
- Our 5-Step Approach on How to Read an Essay Question & Draft Your Answer
- How to Structure and Draft Your Essay Answer using the IRAC Method
We strongly recommend that you have a pre-determined approach on how you will tackle an MEE question on exam day – meaning how you will review the essay question and draft your answer all within 30 minutes.
Having an approach will make the exam much less stressful, and you can practice it prior to the exam so it will be second nature when taking the actual test.
MEE Timing – How to Effectively Allocate Your Time
10-15 minutes: Reading the essay question and Organizing your answer (ideally no more than 10 minutes).
15-20 minutes: Drafting your answer.
You must keep yourself on track, and NOT spend more than 30-minutes per essay question. Otherwise, you’ll never finish all six essays.
MEE Step-by-Step Approach – How to Read, Organize, and Draft Your Answer
If you have time, you may want to read the fact pattern a second time to make sure you fully understand the facts.
Use the call – the question prompts – at the end of the essay question to organize your outline (and eventually your essay answer).
Often the call will tell you to discuss certain issues/points, which are numbered or lettered. It’s best to organize your answer in the same order. Below is an example.
Example of Question Call with “Specific Prompts”
(from July 2017 MEE, Essay 2 – Constitutional Law)
- Can the bank maintain a suit in federal court against State A for damages? Explain.
- Can the bank maintain a suit in federal court against the state Superintendent of Banking to enjoin her from enforcing the State A statute? Explain.
- Is the State A statute unconstitutional? Explain.
Sample Short Outline of the Issues/Topics
(for July 2017 MEE, Essay 2)
1) 11th Amend. – State Sovereign Immunity
- State cannot be sued for money damages
2) 11th Amend. – State Sovereign Immunity
- Exception for allowing suit for injunctive relief against a state official
3) Negative Commerce Clause
- Discriminatory Regulations
- Unduly Burdensome Regulations
Example of “General Call” Question
(from July 2017 MEE, Essay 4)
To whom should Testator’s estate be distributed? Explain.
Remember your outline should only be a short list, and MUST be done quickly.
Your time is precious, so you don’t want to waste much time on this step. Thus, we recommend hand writing this outline on scrap paper or somewhere on the essay question page (at the end of the page or in the margin). DON’T write this outline on the computer because most people have a tendency to write more than they would on paper, which is a waste of time. Writing your outline on paper forces you to keep it short and write it quickly.
IRAC is a method for organizing your legal analysis so the essay grader can easily review your answer.
- Use Headings! You MUST make sure to include a heading for each IRAC analysis.
- Each item in IRAC should be in a separate paragraph.
- When there are multiple issues to address (there almost always are), then you must write a separate IRAC analysis for each issue.
- For bar exam essays DO NOT discuss both sides (unlike a law school exam).
The IRAC structure should be used for two reasons. First, the MEE Instructions state that IRAC should be used:
Below is a sample IRAC analysis of what your essay answer should look like.