One of the best ways to tell whether you wrote what the graders are looking for is to check your work against high- and low-scoring actual student answers.
Here is a small collection of actual essays and performance tests, along with their scores, available for direct download.
California peeps: At the bottom is an essay locator by subject. Also, if you’re looking for a much larger bank of 3,000+ actual graded essays and performance tests stretching back to 1999, BarEssays is a must. Enter your email below and confirm to get a $25 coupon code, along with my slightly famous weekly prep emails.
Real essays graded by bar graders (California unless noted)
All essay and PT answers set 1 (scores: Q1 55, Q2 60, Q3 45, Q4 60, Q5 65, Q6 60, PT A 50, PT B 55)
Nevada: 2016 February essays Day 1 (scores in order: 63.32, 90.06, 71.40 / 75.00 passing), MPTs (score in order: 67.50, 51.91 / 75.00 passing), essays Day 3 (scores in order: 61.52, 93.47, 76.43, 78.82 / 75.00 passing)
2015 July (5 sets available)
All essay and PT answers set 1 (scores: Q1 55, Q2 60, Q3 65, Q4 50, Q5 60, Q6 50, PT A 60, PT B 70)
All essay and PT answers set 2 (ZIP file with images; scores: Q1 55, Q2 75, Q3 65, Q4 55, Q5 50, Q6 50, PT A 55, PT B 60)
Essay 1: 60, 65, 62.5
Essay 2: 50, 60, 60
Essay 3: 50, 55, 60
Essay 4: 60, 70, 55
Essay 5: 50, 55, 57.5
Essay 6: 50, 60, 57.5
PT A: 55, 55
PT B: 65, 70
My assessment of the first column of essays and PTs above (my estimated scores before actual scores were sent to me + my evaluation of the answers and suggestions—please email me with your budget if you’re interested in something similar)
2015 February (2 sets available)
All essay and PT answers set (scores in order: Q1-6 60/55, 75/85, 60/55, 65/65, 65/60, 60/60; PTs 55/55, 60/60)
2014 July (1 set available + 1 NY set)
New York: 2014 July New York Essays Answer Set 1 (scaled scores in order: 60.82, 44.77, 43.83, 40.62, 45.01, 31.66)
2014 February (1 set available)
All essay and PT answers (scores in order: Q1-6 55, 55, 55, 55, 55, 55; PTs 55, 60)
2013 July (2 full sets available)
Sample CA PT answers I wrote
PT 2008 FEB B (Dr. Snyder) — with grader commentary
PT 2006 FEB B (Estate of Small) — with grader commentary and self-analysis
PT 2012 FEB B (State v. Dolan) — self-graded
PT 2009 JULY A (Farley) — self-graded
PT 2010 JULY A (Vasquez CC&Rs) — self-graded with notes, comments and questions for you
Snow King Mountain Resort answer, notes
Anonymous donor’s how to use: Barbri has a different chart that has the subjects in the left column, the month and year of the test along the top row, and the question number where the subject and test date intersect, but creating the chart this way made me focus on my weakest subjects instead of trying to predict which topics would be tested.There were certain subjects where I missed a lot of issues, e.g., constitutional law and community property, because I didn’t take ConLaw II or CP in law school.
Instead of doing the same amount of essays for each subject, I’d only outline the subjects that I’d spotted most of the issues for and use my extra time reviewing how the essays were organized in my weakest subjects for as many essays as I could. Having a chart allowed me to find those essays faster, compare how they were written from year to year, and create a template for how to approach issues that I hadn’t learned in law school.