bar essay exams

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Bar essay exams

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If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. Law Library. Sign In. Study Aids for Law Students Including materials available at the library and websites you can use anywhere. About Many state bar associations post former bar exam essay questions and sample answers on their websites. Access Search online for state bar exam questions and answers, or use the list provided at the bottom of this page. Tips Try writing a response to a practice question, then comparing your response to the model answer.

Some bar exam questions require the application of state law e. Read the question carefully. Subject coverage will vary by exam and by state. This part of the test is 3 hours, so you have 30 minutes per question. Also, the subjects for this portion of the test cover:. While any of these topics are fair game, these particular topics make up the majority of the MEE:. Consequently, you may want to spend extra time preparing for these areas of the law while also studying for the other subjects.

The good news is that there are guides you can use to determine the most highly tested essay rules. These bar exam study resources will identify these rules and teach you additional rules of law. Keep reading for more important study tips to help you pass the MEE:. The first part of learning how to tackle the essay writing portion of the bar exam is to develop a solid study plan. Your plan should incorporate the following:.

However, the IRAC structure is the most commonly used one on the bar exam, and is what bar examiners will expect. Hence, you need to be familiar with this writing system:. This system ensures that you write concisely and only include the necessary information. As you practice, read through your answers and label each sentence with an I,R,A, or C. When you spend so much time studying for the bar exam , it may feel tempting to skip practicing the lengthy essay portion of the test.

However, this is one of the biggest mistakes made by most test takers. Furthermore, while reviewing the rules of law is important, writing about them can show you understand them and know how they apply. Instead, make practicing essays part of your weekly study plan! When you first begin practicing the essay portion of the bar exam, you may not want to time yourself so that you can be sure you are spotting all the issues and honing your writing style.

However, toward the middle of your study time, you will want to start practicing under timed conditions. It is not enough to know how to write a good essay. You need to know how to write a good essay quickly. You need to be able to quickly discuss the most important issues and know when not to elaborate on others. The best way to study for these questions is to find previous MEE questions and practice them under timed conditions. Then, review the analysis to determine how you did.

Focus on memorizing as many rules of law as possible during your last two weeks of studying. Before beginning this portion of the test, you should have a plan on how you will manage your time, such as:. Stick to this timeline for every question. Making an outline can help you organize your thoughts and create a plan on what you will be writing about.

Mark up the prompt as you go— you may want to highlight or underline certain information to help your recall later. Try to make this outline clear, such as making a bullet list of items related to the prompt. If you run low on time, you can always copy and paste this information to provide a semi-answer to the prompt. Write your rule statement and list the relevant facts that will support your analysis. Also, consider how much time you will need to discuss each subpart of the answer.

Use IRAC to fully answer the question. Briefly state the issue in a bolded heading. Issues are usually clearly stated on bar exam essay questions rather than hidden in a fact pattern, so this should be an easy way to pick up points. Restate the issue and move onto the next part of your answer. State the rules that apply to the case. This is where rote memorization comes into play, since you need to be able to state the proper rule that applies to the question.

Bold key terms to show that you know what rules and terms apply. This will get you the points you need on this section. The summary of rules should be clear and concise and should demonstrate that you understand what is involved. Only address those rules that actually apply to this case and address the specific question.

Show how the rule applies, given the particular fact pattern. This will be the longest portion of your answer. However, your analysis should still be shorter than your analysis in your legal writing class. You can pick up or lose a lot of points in this portion of the answer! You need to demonstrate that you know how to apply the law to the facts. Most of the facts in the fact pattern will be there for a reason— and you need to explain why these facts matter in your analysis.

Provide a step-by-step analysis of how the facts support your conclusion. You may be able to score extra points by identifying counter-arguments or a majority and minority view. End with a brief conclusion. One sentence is fine here. Some writing structures will use a conclusion first and then end with a conclusion, but this is not recommended on the bar exam. If you start with the wrong conclusion, the grader will look for ways to prove why you are wrong while grading your answer; therefore, save your conclusion for the end!

Make your essay simple to read by taking advantage of all the tools at your disposal.

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Many state bar associations post former bar exam essay questions and sample answers on their websites. These model answers are useful for studying for the bar and final exams. Search online for state bar exam questions and answers, or use the list provided at the bottom of this page. Access is free. It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. Law Library. Sign In. Study Aids for Law Students Including materials available at the library and websites you can use anywhere. This is where rote memorization comes into play, since you need to be able to state the proper rule that applies to the question.

Bold key terms to show that you know what rules and terms apply. This will get you the points you need on this section. The summary of rules should be clear and concise and should demonstrate that you understand what is involved. Only address those rules that actually apply to this case and address the specific question. Show how the rule applies, given the particular fact pattern.

This will be the longest portion of your answer. However, your analysis should still be shorter than your analysis in your legal writing class. You can pick up or lose a lot of points in this portion of the answer! You need to demonstrate that you know how to apply the law to the facts. Most of the facts in the fact pattern will be there for a reason— and you need to explain why these facts matter in your analysis. Provide a step-by-step analysis of how the facts support your conclusion.

You may be able to score extra points by identifying counter-arguments or a majority and minority view. End with a brief conclusion. One sentence is fine here. Some writing structures will use a conclusion first and then end with a conclusion, but this is not recommended on the bar exam.

If you start with the wrong conclusion, the grader will look for ways to prove why you are wrong while grading your answer; therefore, save your conclusion for the end! Make your essay simple to read by taking advantage of all the tools at your disposal. Use paragraph breaks to organize your content, creating a clear I, R, A , and C section. Additionally, bold and underline key words and principles of law. Many essay graders will be scanning your work, so make it easy to identify that you understood the legal issues involved by drawing their attention to these key terms.

Also, use transitional words to qualify certain statements and to explain where you are going with your answer. This makes it easier for the grader to follow your analysis, as well as helps you to stay on track. While it seems simple to just answer the question you are asked, many bar exam essay questions include numerous fact patterns, potential rules of law that apply, and even some red herrings.

Read over the instructions to the question and follow these instructions, even if that means ignoring something or assuming certain facts are true. Any time you devote to issues that are not relevant to the instructions takes away from time that can score you more points. It can be tempting to take just a few more minutes to feel you completed a question, but this can come back to haunt you by taking away necessary time from another question.

Set alarms if you need to — and are permitted to — so that you know when time is up for each section. Also, you may want to set a reminder a few minutes before your allotted time so that you can quickly wrap up the question before moving on to the next one.

With that being said, avoid writing a partial essay and then moving onto another one. It can take several minutes to regain your bearings and remember what the essay was about when you switch back and forth. Instead, finish each question in the allotted time and then move onto the next. Watch this video on YouTube. So, there you have it— a plan to help you tackle the essay portion of the bar exam.

Use these strategies to help boost your score and you will soon be a licensed attorney! It is made up of six different essay questions that you must write answers to over the course of three hours. The subjects can vary depending on what test you take, but all are related to the legal field and will require excellent logical reasoning and critical thinking to earn a high score. Although there may not be a set word limit for your bar exam essay, a good rule of thumb is to write at least 1, words for each answer.

However, there are significant benefits to typing your bar exam essay questions over using a pen and paper, such as easy erasing and the ability to copy and paste. However, power issues on rare occasions have forced essay writers to resort to pen and paper, and it makes it impossible to lose progress due to a software error. Valerie Keene is an experienced lawyer and legal writer. She has also assisted countless families with estate planning, guardianship issues, divorce and other family law matters.

She provides clients with solid legal advice and representation. Also, the subjects for this portion of the test cover: Agency Partnerships Corporations and limited liability companies Civil procedure Conflict of laws Constitutional law Contracts Criminal law and procedure Evidence Family law Real property Secured transactions Torts Trusts and future interests Wills and estates While any of these topics are fair game, these particular topics make up the majority of the MEE: Civil procedure Contracts Corporations and LLCs Family law and trusts Future interests Consequently, you may want to spend extra time preparing for these areas of the law while also studying for the other subjects.

Keep reading for more important study tips to help you pass the MEE: Bar Essays Studying Tips The first part of learning how to tackle the essay writing portion of the bar exam is to develop a solid study plan. Hence, you need to be familiar with this writing system: I — Issue R — Rule A — Analysis C — Conclusion This system ensures that you write concisely and only include the necessary information.

Practice Essay Writing Each Week When you spend so much time studying for the bar exam , it may feel tempting to skip practicing the lengthy essay portion of the test. Practice Under Timed Conditions When you first begin practicing the essay portion of the bar exam, you may not want to time yourself so that you can be sure you are spotting all the issues and honing your writing style. Review Rules the Last Two Weeks of Your Study Focus on memorizing as many rules of law as possible during your last two weeks of studying.

Maybe read it multiple times. Also, outline your answer as you read through the prompt. Next 15 — 17 minutes: Write your answer. Last 3 to 5 minutes: Review your answer to check for competition and to make necessary edits. Make an Outline Making an outline can help you organize your thoughts and create a plan on what you will be writing about.

Issue Briefly state the issue in a bolded heading. Rule State the rules that apply to the case.

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There are three law schools in Washington, producing a fairly high number of students each year who sit for the two-day exam. In addition, Seattle is becoming one of the most moved-to cities in the country, attracting many out-of-state bar exam takers. If you are thinking about practicing law in Washington, prepare yourself for a challenging exam. And the neighboring state, Oregon , also has a difficult bar exam, which pops into the top five most difficult depending on the data that is being used in the rankings.

Louisiana prepares its law students in an entirely different way than any other state in the country—the four law schools there teach both common law the tradition in England and the other 49 United States and civil law the tradition in France and continental Europe. If you are thinking of practicing law in Louisiana, you must go to law school in the state to learn the unique legal system in place there, and then take a bar exam that is completely different from any other state.

There is only one law school UNLV in the state of Nevada , but having Las Vegas within the state's borders makes it a popular destination for new and experienced lawyers. The Nevada bar exam is two-and-a-half days long and has one of the lowest passage rates in the country. This is because of a combination of unique laws in the state and a higher required score to pass. South Dakota ranks as the state with the easiest exam, followed by Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa.

There are fewer law schools in these states South Dakota only has one, and Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa each have two , meaning that there are generally fewer law graduates who take the bar. And Wisconsin has an even sweeter policy—only those who attended law school in other states need to take the bar exam. If you graduated from law school in Wisconsin, you are automatically admitted to the state bar by a policy known as diploma privilege.

If you are trying to decide which bar exam to take, consider taking a jurisdiction that uses the Multistate Bar Exam, discussed previously in the California section. That bar exam makes it easier to move between states that also use the test. Check out how your state ranks in pass rates with these numbers for , compiled by Law. The states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are ranked by the percentage pass rates of those taking the bar exam for the first time starting with Oklahoma, the state with the highest pass rate, and descending from there.

Share Flipboard Email. Lee Burgess. Legal Education Expert. Lee Burgess has been a lawyer since See our interactive map for jurisdictions administering the MBE. An examination developed by NCBE consisting of minute essay questions. See our interactive map for jurisdictions administering the MEE.

An examination developed by NCBE consisting of minute tasks requiring the application of fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. Skills tested are factual analysis, legal analysis and reasoning, problem solving, identification and resolution of ethical dilemmas, written communication, and organization and management of a legal task.

See our interactive map for jurisdictions administering the MPT. Information on bar admission requirements and directory of state bar admission agencies. NCBE Exams. Home Exams.