Essay Answer Bank

One way to tell whether you wrote what the graders are looking for is to check your work against high- and low-scoring actual student answers.

To that end, you’ll find two things here:

  1. A small collection of actual essays and performance tests, along with their scores, available for direct download. Mostly California but other states like NY and NV also available. For more actual essays from California takers, check out BarEssays.com (scroll down to grab a $25 coupon).
  2. Below the essays is a California bar essay and issue locator by subject and year.
Seeking donations from any state and any year! If you want future generations to stand on the shoulders of giants, please consider donating your returned essays and PT answers along with their scores, to brian [ ] makethisyourlasttime.com. Scans or photos are acceptable.

Real graded bar essays (California unless noted)

2019 February2018 July2018 February2017 July2017 February2016 July2016 February2015 July2015 February2014 July2014 February2013 July

Essay 1 (Wills, Trusts, Community Property): 70, 60, 55, 65
Essay 2 (Torts): 57.5, 65, 65
Essay 3 (Real Property): 52.5, 62.5, 60, 65/70
Essay 4 (Civil Procedure, Evidence): 65, 55, 60
Essay 5 (Prof Resp): 55, 52.5, 60
California PT: 57.5, 60, 60, 65/60

Essay 1 (Contracts): 60, 55
Essay 2 (Evidence): 65, 65
Essay 3 (Prof Resp): 75 (sample from BarEssays), 55
Essay 4 (CA Comm Prop): 60, 55
Essay 5 (Con Law): 55, 50
California PT: 55, 55

Essay and PT answers set 2 (scores: Q1 60, Q2 50, Q3 50, Q4 55, Q5 50, PT 55)

Essay and PT answers set 3 (scores: Q1 65, Q2 57.5, Q3 55, Q4 65, Q5 55, PT 60)

New York: 2018 July New York (UBE) MEE and MPT set (MEE 1-6 scores in order 57.06, 44.55, 55.46, 41.42, 53.79, 40.09; MPT scores in order 49.42, 52.44; total 137.7)

Essay 1: 55 (Brian’s Annotations)
Essay 2: 60
Essay 3: 60
Essay 4: 65 (Brian’s Annotations)
Essay 5: 65
California PT: 65

Essay and PT answers set 2 (scores: Q1 55, Q2 55, Q3 65, Q4 50, Q5 60, PT 60)

Essay 1: 60, 72.5, 60, 65, 60, 65, 60
Essay 2: 60, 62.5, 60, 60, 55, 55, 65
Essay 3: 65, 62.5, 65, 55, 55, 50, 50
Essay 4: 60, 65, 65, 70, 60, 60, 65
Essay 5: 65, 62.5, 60, 60, 55, 55, 60
California PT: 65, 57.5, 75, –, –, 55, 45

Essay 1: –, 62.5, 60, 55, 50
Essay 2: –, 57.5, 55, 60, 50
Essay 3: –, 65, 55, 70, 65
Essay 4: –, 60, 60, 60, 50
Essay 5: –, 65, 60, 55, 65
Essay 6: –, 65, 60, 60, 60
PT A: 57.5, 70, 55, 70, 65
PT B: 60, 60, 70, 65, 60

Essay 1: 55, 65, 65, 55, 55
Essay 2: 55, 55, 60, 55, 45
Essay 3: 60, 50, 60, 55, 55
Essay 4: 55, 65, 55, 55, 50
Essay 5: 55, 60, 75, 60, 55
Essay 6: 50, 60, 50, 55, 55
PT A: –, –, 50, 50, 55
PT B: 50, –, 60, 60, 55

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)

Essay and PT answers set 2 (scores: Q1 55, Q2 50, Q3 50, Q4 50, Q5 55, Q6 50, PT A 55, PT B 60)

Essay and PT answers set 3 (scores: Q1 60, Q2 57.5, Q3 65, Q4 52.5, Q5 65, Q6 60, PT A 60, PT B 57.5)

NevadaEssays 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)

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)

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 and PT answers set 3 (scores: Q1 50, Q2 50, Q3 50, Q4 60, Q5 55, Q6 55, PT A 55, PT B 55)

Essay 1: 60, 65, 62.5
Essay 2: 5060, 60
Essay 3: 5055, 60
Essay 4: 6070, 55
Essay 5: 50, 55, 57.5
Essay 6: 5060, 57.5
PT A: 5555
PT B: 6570
My analysis 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)

Essay and PT answers set 1 (scores in order: Q1 60, Q2 55, Q3 55, Q4 60, Q5 55, Q6 55; PT A 50, PT B 50)

Essay and PT answers set 2 (scores in order: Q1 60/55, Q2 75/85, Q3 60/55, Q4 65/65, Q5 65/60, Q6 60/60; PT A 55/55, PT B 60/60)

Essay 1: 60
Essay 2: 65
Essay 3: 60
Essay 4: 55
Essay 5: 55
Essay 6: 60
PT A: 60
PT B: 55

Essay 1: 65
Essay 2: 60
Essay 3: 55
Essay 4: 55
Essay 5: 55
Essay 6: 55
PT A: 60
PT B: 70

New York: 2014 July New York essay answers set (scaled scores in order: 60.82, 44.77, 43.83, 40.62, 45.01, 31.66)

Essay and PT answers set 1 (scores in order: Q1-6 55, 55, 55, 55, 55, 55; PTs 55, 60)

Essay 1: 6560
Essay 2: 5550
Essay 3: 5550
Essay 4: 5055
Essay 5: 5055
Essay 6: 6060
PT A: 556570
PT B: 6055
Issue Outlines

Notes for California bar takers:

  • An average written score of approximately 62.5 generally puts you on track to pass (1,440 scaled points) assuming you score enough to put you on track to pass the MBE (1,440 scaled points). So you want your essays to be at least as good as the answers scoring 65. Looking at answers scoring lower than 65 can be valuable as well, so that you can get a sense of what’s missing there.
  • If you’re looking to compare your answer to a much larger bank of high-scoring and low-scoring 3,000+ actual graded essays and performance tests stretching back to 1999, BarEssays is a must. Check my review if you’re on the fence. Enter your email below and confirm to get a $25 coupon code, along with my weekly prep emails.

Sample CA Legacy (3-hour) PT answers by Brian

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
Pearson

California essay and issue locator by subject

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.