One of the most common misconceptions about preparing for the essay portion of the bar exam is that it is necessary to “master” all the material before attempting to do any practice essays. This kind of attitude is common among first-time bar takers and can be detrimental to achieving solid progress in one’s bar preparation.
The best way to succeed on the MEE is simply to write as many practice essays as possible from the outset of bar prep. Many bar takers put off doing practice essays because they only want to attempt them when they “know everything” about any given subject and can do the essays cold. This is a mistake, because most examinees will not be ready to attempt essays completely from memory until the final weeks of the bar preparation period.
A better approach for ramping up your essay prep is to start by outlining essay questions and comparing them to the model answers provided by your bar review course. Next, do practice essays open book, consulting your bar review class notes and outlines when necessary. Don’t worry about doing essays under timed pressure until the last weeks of preparation. For the first weeks of essay practice, just focus on spotting relevant issues, articulating applicable rules of law, and applying the law to the facts in a concise analysis section.
It is not necessary to write a practice essay in every testable subject area, but it is a good idea to read through the sample essays provided by your bar review course to get a feel for how each subject is likely to be tested. In addition, you can review all nine MEE questions created for the July 2011 administration of the bar exam here. You can also practice with sample questions from 1997-2006 here. And you can purchase additional question sets directly from the NCBE here.
Next up: All about the Multistate Performance Test
Have a question about preparing for the bar exam? Email Kimber Russell at Kimber.Russell@kaplan.com.
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