Some people are naturally good writers, others are not. This is especially true when it comes to legal writing, like the type that is required of you on both the MEE and MPT portions of the Bar Exam.
There just seems to be those who are naturally gifted when it comes to organizing their thoughts and writing them out in a clear and understandable manner. If this is you – congratulations! You are a step ahead of the crowd, and while you still must practice the skills needed for the MEE, you will have an easier time of it than some others.
Conversely, if you happen to fall into the group of people who have a bit harder time getting your point across smoothly in writing, then you may want to consider some of the following advice.
Get Feedback on Your Essays
The Bar Prep courses of today often include essay feedback. If yours does, then do NOT let this valuable resource go to waste.
Essays are graded by people who have 100’s or possibly even 1000’s of essays to grade. They go by a rubric, and they are not going to spend an hour grading each essay, searching for ways to grant points. The correct issues will either be there, clearly in front of them, or not. If your key points are buried within disorganized statements or lines of reasoning, then they may be missed altogether by a busy grader – and you’ve just lost valuable points.
So you can see how important the art of writing CLEARLY on the Bar Exam is. You must be able to cover many issues, yes. But you must also be able to organize and express those legal points in a crystal clear manner to be sure to scoop up all the points you can. If you make the grader “work for it,” then you are the one who loses.
Studying alone, and grading your own essays is fine. But at some point, you need some feedback. Get it from your Bar Prep course if it is available. If not, you may want to look into a tutor. Either way, feedback is important.
Don’t Take It Personally; But Use It!
It seems to go without saying, but it’s important not to take feedback personally. Resist the temptation to defend your work after you’ve been given feedback. You’ll only be hurting yourself! Instead, sit back, breathe, and absorb what your tutor shared. There may be diamonds in their wisdom, and you don’t want to throw diamonds away.
So consider all comments very carefully. Then: learn from it.
Learn By Rewriting
The best way to ensure that you are getting the most out of your feedback is to rewrite your essays and resubmit! I know, that may sound like a waste of time when you are prepping for the Bar Exam. But it is not. Here’s why.
Everyone has a certain writing style. If your style of writing is causing confusion, or simply not making your points clearly on your essays – then your score will suffer.
Writing is a skill. We all usually have that skill, or we would not have made it into law school. However, to write in a way that will grab the most points on this exam is a particular skill. And this skill should be practiced.
If you take your tutor’s advice, and then take the time to restructure your essay according to their advice – you will be gaining tremendous practice that can only help you to sail more smoothly through your essays on exam day.
So absorb the comments. Really consider what was said and why. Look objectively at your work. Then rewrite, incorporating as much of the input as you can. Resubmit your rewrite, and enjoy the results.
Chances are good that your second draft will be a vast improvement! Now you can move on to more questions using the same techniques, and watch your essay score skyrocket!
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