How to Study & Prepare for the MEE
(with Tips & Best Practices)
What You’ll Learn:
- Our 5-Step Approach to Effectively Prepare for the MEE
- Study Tips & Best Practices to Master the MEE
Now that you know how the MEE works, what’s the best way to prepare for it without getting overwhelmed? Below you will find our step-by-step strategy to effectively study and prepare for the MEE section of the bar exam.
Step 1: Set the Foundation – Obtain a Good Working Knowledge of the Law for Each Subject.
You can do this by bar review courses, lectures, books, outlines, or anything else that will help you learn the law. You don’t need to have everything memorized perfectly at this stage – you just need a good working knowledge of the subject (a.k.a. a good grasp of the law). This is the foundation you will build on in later steps.
Step 2: Make or buy a condensed outline or document for each subject.
After learning the law for a subject, you should condense that subject into something you can use for future review (outline, mini-outline, attack sheets, flashcards, etc.). This is essential for breaking down and committing the legal rules tested to memory, and will be your go-to document while studying. You can then add to this document later on as you continue your studying and reviewing MEE practice questions.
If you don’t have time to create your own outline, you can buy one or use a friend’s and then add your notes to it.
Step 3: Prioritize … then Memorize.
Studying efficiently and effectively is the key to doing well on the MEE. You will need to memorize a lot of material, but prioritizing what you study is essential to passing.
Very often the bar examiners test the same fundamental rules of law. This is because there are fundamental legal principles that every licensed attorney should know (i.e. contract formation, negligence elements), and is why certain legal concepts are tested more often than other obscure topics. Even when the obscure concepts are tested, they are usually not worth a large percentage of the essay question.
As such, you should optimize your essay performance by focusing more time memorizing the HIGHLY tested MEE topics and rules. Once you have the rules prioritized, focus on memorizing the High priority (most frequently tested) rules first and foremost, and then work your down through the rules tested less often.
Use our Frequency Chart to Know How Often Each MEE Topic & Rule has been Tested! We have already done the hard work for you, and analyzed all of the released MEE essays (from 1995 to the present).
You can use our Free MEE Frequency Analysis to prioritize your studying – it shows how often and the percentage each subject and topic was tested.
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Use our MEE Essay Priority Outline, which also contains High, Medium, Low priority designations for each rule, model rule statements, and a listing of the specific exams each rule was tested.
Step 4: Practice & Application – Issue Spotting and Writing Essays.
Practice makes perfect, and to really hone your essay skills you need to do two things:
- Practice your issue spotting ability, and
- Write practice essays under timed conditions.
Both are essential to create connections between the law tested, spotting issues in an essay fact pattern, and drafting a passing essay answer.
Issue Spotting Practice:
Going through past MEE essay questions and answers is the best way to practice your issue spotting skills. With practice, you will become better and quicker at identifying what the bar examiners are testing and looking for in an answer.
Here’s our 3-step process to do that:
- Read the essay question.
- Make a quick outline of the issues and rules of law tested. This is essentially an outline of what you would discuss if you wrote out your full essay answer.
- Compare your outline of the issues/law tested to a model MEE answer to see what issues you spotted and what you missed.
You can use MEE Questions and Model Analyses (Answers) released by the NCBE to practice.
We have also created a quick way to practice issue spotting with our MEE Smart Summary Review guide:
- It contains past MEE essay questions and summary answers (from Feb. 2004 through July 2017).
- Essays are organized by subject area in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest), and each essay shows a list of the issues tested by point value.
This way you can review essays per subject area starting with the most recent essays, and see what the bar examiners are looking for in an essay answer.
Essay Writing Practice:
You MUST practice writing essays to do well on the MEE. We know it’s painful and you don’t want to do it, but set aside time to write at least 1-2 essays per subject area (ideally you should write even more than that).
Writing out practice essays under timed conditions is in addition to other essay review such as passively reading past exams or performing issue spotting exercises. This may seem like overkill, but we commonly hear examinees fail because they didn’t practice writing essays in exam-type conditions.
Practice like it’s the ACTUAL exam. You want to simulate actual test day conditions as much as possible to minimize any surprise on exam day. As such, you should take MEE questions under timed conditions. You should even try simulating the exam environment as much as possible (i.e. taking practice exams at a desk with the same laptop you will be using on exam day).
For timing, remember you must keep a pace of 30-minutes per MEE question. Practicing while timed may be uncomfortable at first, but it will condition you for the actual exam setting.
Grade Yourself. Grading your practice essays taken against the MEE Model Analyses keeps you accountable, and can help you spot your problem areas or if you have an issue finishing questions in the allotted time.
You may even want to have others grade your practice essays, either through a bar prep program, tutor, or an attorney friend. The goal here is get real honest feedback on what improvements can be made.
Step 5: Continue to Practice & Memorize the Law.
During the entire bar review period, you should be memorizing the law, practice writing essays, and honing your issue spotting ability. This way you are constantly building on your: (1) knowledge of the law – by memorizing rules of law; and (2) ability to read and write essays – by constant practice.