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Michigan Bar Exam Past Essays

Bar exam information

Wayne Law is committed to helping our students succeed in law school and pass the bar examination. We believe this journey starts in your first year of law school, as students begin to master the first-year law courses, and continues through the middle and final years at Wayne Law. Our programs are designed to provide additional bar support, using diagnostic exams to predict areas that students should focus on as well as free programs to enhance essay writing skills.

In addition to our programs, we provide expert individual advice and guidance. Wayne Law students graduate with the tools and support to start bar examination preparation and ultimately to be successful in the bar exam.

Student Affairs encourages students to begin preliminary bar preparation in their first year. Megan Canty, director of academic success and bar exam preparation, can help students create a bar exam plan for each of their years at Wayne Law.

Michigan Bar Exam

Overview of the bar exam

Video of February Michigan Bar Exam Overview presentation

The Michigan Bar Exam is a two-day exam on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. In February, the bar exam is administered at the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University. In July, the bar exam is administered at the Breslin Center at MSU.

The first day consists of 15 essays on Michigan law. The second day is the Multistate Bar Exam, consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions. The multiple-choice portion doesn't test Michigan law – rather it tests the general (or majority) law of all of the states.

Day 1: Michigan essay topics – 24 subjects could be tested on the essay portion. The subjects are Agency, Commercial Paper, Conflict of Laws, Corporations, Creditors' Rights, Equity, Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Domestic Relations, Insurance (no-fault), Partnerships, Personal Property, Practice and Procedure (State and Federal), Sales, Secured Transactions, Wills & Trusts, Workers' Compensation, plus all Multistate Bar Exam subjects.

Day 2: Multistate Bar Exam (multiple choice) topics – Seven subjects are tested: Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, Torts and (as of February 2015) Civil Procedure. They are weighted about equally.

Application, fees and deadline information are on the State Bar of Michigan (character and fitness and personal history information) and Michigan Board of Law Examiners (examination application and FAQs) websites.

More detailed information about the bar exam

How your overall score is calculated – Your overall score on the Michigan Bar Exam is determined by your performance on the essay portion, as well as the multiple-choice portion. Each section is worth 50 percent of your grade. Your combined score must be a 135 or higher to pass. There is no minimum passing score for either the multistate portion or the essay portion.

Essay portion of the exam – The essay portion is administered Tuesday, the first day of the exam. There are 15 essays to complete (nine in the morning, which you have three hours to complete, and six in the afternoon, which you have two hours to complete). Each essay should take about 20 minutes to complete. Most questions only test one subject per question, but occasionally two subjects will be combined in one question. Each essay is scored on a scale of 1 to 10. A score of 7 is understood to be a passing score for an essay. The essay portion is scored using an undisclosed formula. The essays test Michigan law, but a lot of the material overlaps with what you will learn when you study for the Multistate Bar Exam.

Multistate Bar Exam – The Multistate Bar Exam portion of the exam is administered Wednesday. You will have three hours to complete 100 questions in the morning and three hours to complete 100 questions in the afternoon. Out of the 200 total questions, 190 questions are scored and 10 are "test" questions that are not scored.  

Multistate Professional Responsiblity Exam

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam is a two-hour-and-five-minute test consisting of 50 multiple-choice questions administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The exam tests your knowledge and understanding of the ethical standards of the legal profession chronicled in the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct and Model Code of Judicial Conduct.

The exam is offered nationwide each March, August and November, and most students take the exam sometime after their second year of law school. Passing exam scores vary by jurisdiction but are transferable between states as long as the score requirement can be met. Michigan requires that a student pass the exam with a score of 85 to be admitted to the Michigan bar.

Application, fees and deadline information are the National Conference of Bar Examiners website.

Planning on taking the bar outside Michigan?

List of bar exam agencies by jurisdiction

The links in the list will lead you to information and instructions on the application and character and fitness process, fees, as well as applicable deadlines for each state.

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  • MEE Questions and Analyses
    Link: Online access (right column; most recent years not available)
    Library Location: KF303 .M435 Reserve
    Contains: MEE description, plus questions and sample answers from past exams.
  • MPT, Multistate Performance Test (and Point Sheets)
    Link: Online access (right column; most recent years not available)
    Library Location: KF303 .M68 Reserve (some years also in stacks)
    Contains: The three MPTs administered in a given bar exam and the point sheets, which “outline all possible issues and points that might be addressed by an examinee” are reproduced in these volumes.
  • Sample MBE III
    Library Location: KF303 .S25 2002
    Contains: July 1998 MBE and answers without explanation.
  • Sample MBE
    Library Location: KF303 .S25
    Contains: February 1991 MBE and answers without explanation.
  • Multistate Bar Examination Questions
    Library Location: KF303 .N37
    Contains: Actual MBE questions and answers (without explanation) for assorted years. Free materials (under older/retired questions) are dated; the NCBE recommends they NOT be used for substantive study.

State Specific

  • Compilation of Bar Examination Questions and Answers
    Library Location: KF388 .N5 Reserve (earlier editions in stacks)
    Contains: Previous bar exam essays questions with grader’s guides or sample answers from Alaska, Connecticut, and Michigan. (Pre-1992 editions may include other states, such as Nebraska.)
  • Alaska
    Past exam questions and grader's guides
  • Arkansas
    "The top examination paper in each subject."
  • California
    California bar examination questions, essay questions and selected answers and performance tests and selected answers.
  • Connecticut
    Sample bar questions. Sample answers also available for sale.
  • Delaware
    Bar examination questions.
  • Georgia
    Questions and sample answers for MPT and essay.
  • Iowa State Bar Examination
    Library Location: KF303 .I55
    Note: In February 2009, Iowa replaced the Iowa-specific essay portion of the bar exam (shown in these old exams) with the MEE. The library has copies of past Iowa bar examination questions from 1966-July 2008.
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
    Copies of past essay questions are available upon request for a fee.
  • Maryland
    Essay questions, representative answers and board analyses.
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
    Prior exams and model answers available for sale. Requests must be made in writing.
  • Minnesota
    “Essay questions and representative good answers."
  • Mississippi
    Essay questions and analyses.
  • Nevada
    Past bar exam questions and model answers
  • New Jersey
    Sample questions and answers.
  • New Mexico
    A few sample exams followed by instructions about how to access more.
  • New York
    Sample candidate answers.
  • Ohio
    Use drop-down under Bar Examination Essay Questions to get to sample essay questions, MPT summaries, and sample answers.
  • Oregon
    Sample essay questions and issue outlines.
  • Pennsylvania
    Essay questions and sample answers.
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
    Click on past exams tab for past examinations and examiners' comments on answers received.
  • Vermont
    Essay questions and model answers.

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