MEE Practice: How to Use Model Essay Answers & Sample Examinee Answers Effectively
What You’ll Learn:
- The Difference Between Model Essay Answers vs. Released Examinee Answers
- The Best Way to Use Sample Examinee Answers (released by MEE jurisdictions)
- How to Use the Model MEE Analyses Released by the NCBE
Model Answers vs. Sample Examinee Answers
There are two types of MEE answers you should use in your bar preparation:
- Model Answers/Analyses, and
- Sample Examinee Answers.
Model Essay Answers are perfect essay answers, normally written by the drafters of the bar exam (the NCBE) or bar review companies/tutors. The NCBE releases past MEE Questions and Analyses – these Analyses are model answers provided to jurisdictions to assist with grading essays.
Sample Examinee Answers are actual essay answers written by examinees that received a high or above average score. These answers are released by a few MEE jurisdictions.
We suggest that you use each in very specific ways to prepare for the exam.
How to Use the Sample Examinee Essay Answers
In our opinion, Sample Examinee Answers should only be used in one way… to see what a good (passing) essay looks like.
Specifically, you should review a few past examinee essays to see:
- The level of detail needed in your answer – it is much less than shown in the Model MEE Analyses;
- The structure and organization of a good essay; and
- What a well-written IRAC analysis looks like.
Remember, you do not need to be perfect to pass the bar exam – almost all of the examinee answers do not include every possible issue, and some even have incorrect statements of law. You only need to be better than average to do well on the MEE essay section.
Reviewing model essays are good for many reasons (as discussed below), but can add a certain level of stress for examinees because they think writing a perfect essay is the goal. That’s why examinee answers are a great tool to dispel the unrealistic idea of a “perfect essay,” and will remind you of what’s really required to pass.
Other than that, you should NOT use examinee answers for any other purpose. This includes learning the law because the answers often contain incorrect or outdated rule statements.
How to Use the Model MEE Analyses (Answers)
Many bar review companies provide model essay answers, but hands down the best to use when studying are the official “MEE Questions & Analyses” released by the NCBE – the drafters of the MEE essays.
Why are these the best to use? There are three primary reasons:
- They are illustrative of the discussions that might appear in excellent answers to the questions.
- They are provided to the user jurisdictions to assist graders in grading the examination. The grading percentages are also next to each essay topic “point” – i.e. “Point Two (35%)”.
- They address all the legal and factual issues the drafters intended to raise in the questions.
Essentially, you can see what the graders used to score past essays, and can see every issue raised in the essay question.
The model MEE Analyses are ideal to grade yourself when writing practice essays because they contain every issue, rule statement, analysis, and conclusion required for an IRAC analysis. They can also be used for issue spotting practice, as discussed in Chapter 5 (Step #4) of this guide.
Just keep in mind that the MEE Analyses are answers drafted by the examiners who have unlimited time and access to law books, statutes, and cases when drafting. What you see in the model answers/analyses is not realistic of what most examinees write to pass the exam, so don’t be overly critical that you need to answer everything perfectly on test day.
Important Things to Know when Using Past MEE Questions & Analyses
When reviewing the essay analyses released by the NCBE, it is important to keep a few things in mind:
- Negotiable Instruments/Commercial Paper (UCC Articles 3 & 4) was removed from the MEE as of the February 2015 exam. Thus, ignore these questions in older MEE Questions & Analyses.
- Six of the current MEE subjects (Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law & Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts) have only been tested on the essays since July 2007. Note, the subject of Sales (UCC Article 2) was tested on a few exams prior to July 2007.
- Now, all MEE and UBE jurisdictions use a common set of six (6) essay questions. However, previous exam years had a different number of MEE essays:
- for 1995 to Feb. 2007, MEE booklets each contain seven (7) essay questions; and
- for July 2007 to July 2013, MEE booklets each contain nine (9) essay questions.
- The MEE Analyses contain separate “Summary” and “Legal Problems” sections. DO NOT include such separate sections in your essay answers – these were provided for grader purposes. Please see Chapter 3 of this guide for how to properly structure your essay answer.
- On the actual test, the essay questions are simply numbered rather than being identified by area of law. Thus, the bar examiners will not tell you the subject(s) the question is testing on the exam – unlike what is shown in the past MEE Questions & Analyses released.