Do they actually want to to write the word "issue" before discussing the issue, and rule before discussing the rule?
YES, that is a GREAT idea. You know who grades these in real life come exam time? Under employed lawyers, and they read a shit-load of these. Lay it out with simple headings, and you've done more than 75% of your peers. Their subconcious may like your essay more. I'm serious.
Bar exam essays are almost pure issue spotters. Frankly, I'm not sure how important knowing the exact "rule" really is. I think what is more imporant is being able to say "The issue is felony murder," or "the issue is transfered intent battery." Its great if you remember the rule, but first things first - identify what the problem is, the issue. I couldn't tell you a succinct rule for transfered intent battery right now, but I could recognize a fact pattern on it.
Consider what a Bar Exam essay is really testing. You want to be a lawyer. A client walks into your office, has no legal knowledge. Client tells you a story, wants your help. Your job is to be able to SPOT the issue - then you go, do your research, nail down the controlling law, and run your analysis. You can do the rest using your legal knowledge and tools, but all those tools are useless if you don't even recognize what issues need to be addressed. Step one is recognizing the nature of the problem. And you don't need to know the rule for that.
BarBri told us in all seriousness, if you blank on an exam question, just makeup a rule and analyze according to your rule. You might be closer than you think, and at least it'll demonstrate you can write logically.
I'll just add that I did probably 10% of the amount of essay prep as BarBri recommended - I don't think I ever sent in an essay for grading, and my essays were fine.I think your better essay prep option is to simply OUTLINE sample answers and compare to the model. Don't write out the whole thing - what a waste of time!
You can cover a lot more ground that way and it will make it more clear what issues you are missing. Miss a lot over and over, and you eventually won't miss them anymore.Oh, and this works too because when you write an essay, you should ALWAYS have outlined your answer in full before you began writing anyways
. Study smarter, not harder.
The exam is a points grab. Good luck.