Learning From Sample Answers: Strengthening Your MEE Skills

The MEE can be frustrating, especially in the first half of bar preparation, because you are learning a lot of law and are moving at a fast pace, all while trying to memorize to feel comfortable writing essays. However, as I’ve said before, even if you feel like you don’t have anything memorized and like you don’t “know enough” in order to write them – you should still write them. This blog post focuses on one of the benefits from writing essays – how much information you learn from the practice and from model answers.

Let’s use a hypothetical situation. Say, for example, you are working on a constitutional law essay. The call of the question is: “Is the statute unconstitutional as applied to the woman?

You write out your MEE answer. After completing it, you feel like it went the best it could, and you’re feeling pretty good about it. Hypothetically, let’s say you discussed the following issues:

  • The Equal Protection Clause (intermediate scrutiny)
  • The Due Process Clause

Then, you compare your answer with your sample constitutional law answer. You are looking for the following: (1) issues you missed, (2) law you missed, and (3) facts you missed. Say the sample answer covered the following issues:

  • State Action
  • Standing
  • The Equal Protection Clause
  • The Due Process Clause

You realize, quickly, that you’ve missed some issues. The first step is not to panic. It’s okay to miss issues on some essays – you are still learning. The second step is to ask yourself WHY you missed the issues.

When you miss issues, it’s important to go back to the fact pattern and determine which facts triggered the legal issues you missed. For example, say the fact pattern said that “The woman worked for a private corporation funded by the government” and later said “The corporation acted pursuant to police pressure.” Maybe you missed the issue of state action because you missed the word “private” and immediately went into an Equal Protection and Due Process analysis. So, you didn’t identify the issue of state action from the facts. Write this down so you do not miss these issues again.

What else could you look for? Look to see if you had all the rule statements you needed. Were you missing relevant law? In turn, did that impact your analysis? Write the rules you’re missing down so you do not miss them again.

It’s easy to underestimate how much we can learn from sample answers. Your answer does not have to look identical to a sample answer, but you can take a lot from it.

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