To say it right off the bat, we are not sure if there are any changes coming to the Michigan bar exam! However, we have heard a few things which cause us to wonder if we will see any upcoming changes. These are not “facts”, they are simply things we have heard which cause us to speculate if we will see any changes coming to the Michigan bar exam in the near future.
First, we have heard the Michigan Board is considering adding a performance test to the bar exam.
A performance test (or “PT”) is very common and the vast majority of states, including all Uniform Bar Exam states, administer a performance test as part of their bar exam. In Uniform Bar Exam states, the performance test is worth 20% of an examinee’s score. In non-Uniform Bar Exam states, it is usually worth about 10% of an examinee’s score. We assume if Michigan adds a performance test, it would be worth about 10% of the examinee’s score.
A performance test is usually 90 minutes. So if Michigan adds a performance test, the Board would likely do away with about some of the essay questions, assuming the Michigan Board does not want to significantly increase the length of the exam.
We do not know if the Michigan Board would modify the potential subjects that could be tested on the essay portion. (The only subject we can easily foresee the Board getting rid of is Commercial Paper! We could also see the Board getting rid of Professional Responsibility since it is redundant given the MPRE. Or Workers’ Compensation, as this is not a commonly tested bar exam subject in most states, though it has been regularly tested in Michigan.)
Second, we heard a board member will be resigning this year, before the July bar exam.
This means a new board member will be appointed. In 2015, when the board changed, the Michigan Board of Law Examiners started testing less predictable subjects. We wonder if the new shift will have any role in the subjects tested by the Michigan Board. Again, we are not certain that this is true, but we will wait and see!
Note: if Michigan decides to change the substance of the exam at all, it would almost certainly not affect July 2018 test takers.
Most of the time, when a state makes major changes to its exam, it gives examinees 6 months to 1.5 years notice!
If you have heard anything about these changes, or have any thoughts about them, please let us know in the comments below.
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