MEE scores are highly dependent on issue spotting. For example, Essay #3 from the July 2016 MEE (a good issue-spotter Torts essay) dealt with the issues of ‘standard of care’, ‘strict liability’, ‘products liability’ and ‘market share liability.’ For this Torts essay, if you look in the MEE Comparison Bank, you will find that examinees who addressed the issues simply by applying the negligence standard of duty, breach, causation & liability generally did not receive above-passing scores. This means you are less likely to “fake” an answer and get credit for it. Because the MEE questions are shorter (30 minutes per answer) but still contain 4+ issues per question, examinees have less time to discuss topics in depth. On the pre-UBE essays, the graders graded the essays more holistically while the MEE graders refer to a point-sheet. As I believe that issue-spotting is paramount on the MEE, I created an MEE Issue Spotting Practice outline. Since each MEE question must be answered in 30 minutes (pre-UBE essays were allocated 40 minutes or more), there is less time for an examinee to write a thoughtful analysis that might sway the grader. Instead, the MEE is seemingly designed as a hit-and-run exam where examinees must hit each issue and then simply run to the next one. In such circumstances, if what you say is not on the grader’s checklist, you are not likely to earn points for it. For example, there are passing examinee answers in the MEE Comparison Banks that merely spot all the issues and then have some rules, short analysis and correct conclusions.
The MEE Issue Spotting Practice Outline (based on the last 200+ released MEE questions from 2002 to 2017) serves as an excellent way to familiarize yourself with how the MEE questions for each subject are posed, what issues are at play, and what the outcomes are, along with a brief discussion of the answer. The 800+ issue answers are color coded so examinees can quickly determine how the issue was resolved (Red for No, Green for Yes and Blue means Not Applicable). In addition, each issue reports its assigned score value which generally tells you how much you should write for each issue.
This MEE Issue Spotting Outline contains 224 MEE questions on the 14 testable MEE subjects (please note that MEE testing of the MBE subjects with the exception of Civil Procedure only began in July 2007, so there are fewer MEE questions for these subjects). For examinees that have practiced essays and are confident their writing and analysis will be satisfactory, this Issue Spotting Outline enables an examinee to efficiently review a wide range of past MEE essays (most likely the most important ones) and their corresponding issues/answers to improve their issue spotting and knowledge. For auditory learners, there are also MP3s of this outline.
The best way to understand the benefits of this outline is to see it for yourself. Click here to view a sample.
The MEE questions in this Issue Spotting Outline are grouped by subject, with the questions sorted from newest to oldest. Examinees should focus on one subject at a time, reading each question from that subject and then attempting to issue spot (either on paper or in your head). The questions and short answers in this compendium are separated by a page break so an examinee can read each question without any hint of the answer, and the examinee can then go to the answer explanation on the next page to self-assess. The questions for each subject are sorted from most recent to least recent because I regard the more recent exam questions as more important (much like the recently released MBE questions in the OPE 1-4 exams better reflect the current MBE, the recently released MEE questions from 2011-2017 better reflect the current MEE).
The Answer Analysis section contains a list of the relevant legal problems tested in the question (which are referred to as “Issues”) along with an answer to each legal problem, and then an Answer Discussion which consists of a brief overview of the answer. The Issue answers are color coded so examinees can quickly determine how the issue was resolved (Red for No, Green for Yes and Blue means Not Applicable). Each Issue reports its assigned score value which provides some insight into how much knowledge and analysis is required for each Issue. For example “POINT 1 (25%)” means that this issue was worth 25% of an examinee’s total score for that essay (and generally should represent about 25% of your writing).
If you go to View from the WORD menu, if you check “Navigation pane” in the Show menu, you will see a hyperlinked navigation pane on the left side of the document. This enables you to quickly jump around between questions. As a word document, the document is editable – you can make this document your own by adding or removing text, increasing the font size, changing the margins, or adding comments, special formatting/highlighting. The default font is Times New Roman because this is the font NCBE uses for the MEE questions, but feel free to change it if you prefer something more readable. In addition, examinees can search the document for keywords in the past essay questions and answers. On the Menu/Ribbon, if you go to View, there is a macro button called “Count Words.” If you click on the button, a dialog box will ask “What word do you want to count?” Enter a word or a phrase and then press OK.
This MEE Issue Spotting Outline serves as a well-organized way to familiarize yourself with how the questions for each subject are posed, what issues are at play, and what the outcomes are, along with a brief discussion of the answer. For examinees that have practiced essays and are confident in their writing and analysis, this MEE Issue Spotting Outline enables an examinee to efficiently review a wide range of past MEE essays (likely the most important ones) and their corresponding issues/answers to improve their issue spotting and knowledge. In addition, there are MP3s of this compendium for each subject on the subscription site. I recommend that examinees alternate between reading this outline and listen to the MP3s of this outline since it is a great way to create different memory impressions in your studies.