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Throughout law school, you probably have learned either IRAC or CREAC.  Both are perfect for law school essays where you spot the issue, state the rule, analyze the legal issue based on the rule, and finally state a conclusion.


Essays that appear on the Virginia bar exam, however, do not require for you to spot the issue (read more about issue spotting on the Virginia Bar Exam here).   Therefore, it’s best for you to use the CRAC method, where you:

  1. C = Briefly state the Conclusion;
  2. R = State the applicable Virginia Rule;
  3. A = Analyze and explain the rule based on the facts provided; and
  4. C = State the Conclusion.

Here’s an example of how you can apply CRAC:

Lets use the following question stem:

Question: Is Bob likely to prevail on his argument?

C: Briefly State the Conclusion

When you start off your essay, briefly answer the question being asked with a yes or a no (if possible).

Example: Yes, Bob is likely to prevail with his argument.

R: State the Virginia Rule

State the applicable Virginia Rule.  If there are any exceptions to the rule, you would want to mention them as well.  This way the Examiners know that you know the general rule and any applicable exceptions that may (or may not) be applicable to the facts they provided.

Example: In Virginia, the statute of limitations for a bodily injury claim is two years.

A: Analyze the Rule based on the Facts

The Examiners have provided you with a set of facts.  Each set of facts should be used when applying the facts to the rule.

Example: Donna was injured in March of 2015 and then decided to bring his action in June of 2017.  Given that a claim for bodily injury must be filed within two years from the date of injury, Donna has filed her suit beyond the statute of limitations period.

C: Provide the Conclusion

Example: Therefore, Bob is likely to prevail with his motion to dismiss because Donna filed her suit well beyond the statute of limitations.


Remember: You have approximately 36 minutes to answer each essay question.  You want to methodically answer each one using the essay format above.  This way you already know how to write the essay.

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