The Bar Exam vs. Law School Finals: The Changes You Must Make

Although law school essay finals seem like they should set you up for the bar exam (specifically the MEE), there are some key differences. As a prepared bar exam taker, you need to know what these differences are and what changes you’ll need to make when transitioning from a law school mindset to a bar exam one.

1. Bar exam essays are generally shorter

Generally, there are fewer issues and sub-issues so you should have plenty of time. Each essay takes about 30-60 minutes depending on which state’s exam you’re taking. Given this, there’s an elevated need to be concise and organized in planning and executing your response to any question.

2. On the bar exam, the issues you need to address are often specified for you

That means there’s less issue-spotting than on law school exams. Law school exams often ask you to discuss general concepts, whereas on the bar exam they expect you to focus and elaborate on the issues in the question. As such, make sure you steer clear of lengthy discussions on the broader subject in your answers.

3. Law school professors spend a lot more time grading your answers than bar examiners

Bar examiners only take about two to three minutes for each question. What does that mean? Organization is key! You can make your answer more competent by utilizing these strategies:

  • Strong organization: Make sure your essay flows naturally. Don’t have long, winding paragraphs. Stick with short, concise paragraphs and sentences.
  • Prominent headings: Along the same lines of readability and organization, you want bold or underlined headings to guide the grader through the essay.
  • Complete rule statements: This is what graders are looking for, i.e., that you know the issue you’re supposed to be discussing. Make sure your rule statements are at the beginning of paragraphs and that you incorporate the relevant rule components.


MBE and MEE Essay Flashcards that help you learn and memorize key bar exam concepts, effectively and affordably.

* All purchases include free shipping and access to the Critical Pass App.

Older Post
Newer Post
Close (esc)

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Main Menu

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now