I Failed the Michigan Bar Exam. What Should I do? If you failed the Michigan bar exam, you may not know what do next. We recommend you follow the following steps.
I Failed the Michigan Bar Exam. What Should I Do?
First, give yourself time to grieve.
It is not easy to fail a bar exam! It is emotionally and physically exhausting. Give yourself time to be sad, angry, or whatever. It is necessary or else you will not be ready to tackle the next bar exam.
In the meantime, we also recommend you read this note to those who failed the bar exam and this list of famous people who failed the bar exam so you know you are not alone! Lastly, you may want to read over some quotes we recommend for those who failed the bar exam. Sometimes this step takes a day. However, sometimes it takes a week or a little longer. If you find yourself in a deep depression or sadness after too long, it is worth it to seek professional help.
Second, analyze your score report when it arrives.
Your score report will arrive in a couple days. It will look like this.
Multiple Choice score: It will say “Your examination results reflect an MBE scaled score of ________” This is your MBE (multiple choice) score. A 135 is considered to be a passing score. Thus, if you were above a 135, your score was passing. If you scored below a 135, the farther away from a 135 you were, the more work you have to do to pass.
If you scored really low (below a 115) you likely need a lot of help. If you were between a 115 and 125, you still need help! Wondering how much help you need? Read this post on “What does my MBE score mean?” or watch this youtube video. We break it down for you here.
Essay score: Next, it will list the scores you received on the individual essays (below the corresponding number) as well as the total score.
Your essay scores are listed in the following order for the February 2017 Michigan Bar Exam
- Family Law
- Workers’ Compensation
- Conflicts of Law
- Personal Property
- Real Property
- Creditors’ Rights
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Procedure
- Constitutional Law
- Civil Procedure
A score of 7 is considered passing. A 10 is a perfect score. Below a score of 7 is not considered passing.
Next, the score report will say, “Your converted essay score was ______” A 135 is considered to be a passing score. If you scored below a 135, you did not technically pass the essay portion.
You can use your score report to see if you did better on your MBE or the essay portion of the exam. For example, if your MBE score was a 120, you have some work to do on the MBE. If it was a 135, you just passed the MBE. The same would go with the converted essay score. This will tell you if you need to focus on the MBE or essays more.
You are welcome to email us your score report at firstname.lastname@example.org and we are happy to decode it for you and tell you what you need to work on, free of charge.
Third, request your essays.
The Michigan Board of Law Examiners’ allows you to request your essays to see how you did on them. Directions on how to do this will come with your score report. We strongly recommend you take this step, even if you do not particularly feel like analyzing them. These essays can provide invaluable information moving forward.
Fourth, consider an appeal:
If you are close to passing (meaning a 132 or above) consider appealing. Out of the six appeals that passed in the state for the July 2016 Michigan bar exam, we wrote five of them. So we know what it takes to win a successful bar exam appeal!
We are happy to read over your essays, free of charge, and let you know if we recommend an appeal. If you scored much lower than that, it is not worth appealing absent a compelling error.
Fifth, consider how you studied and what you need to do moving forward!
Now that you have analyzed your Michigan bar exam score report and how you performed on the actual essays, it is time to look at how you spent the days leading up to the bar exam. Specifically, analyze exactly how you prepared. What did you do well? What did you need to work on? Are there areas of law you still do not understand? Did you spend enough time studying or did you also have other obligations? Were you able to take enough practice MBEs and practice questions? Were you using released questions or did you use questions a course made up? Was your study schedule helpful? How many timed exams did you take? Did you memorize the law to the extent you needed to?
Also, consider other factors that may have contributed to failing. Did you struggle with timing? Were you very anxious? How many times have you taken the bar exam? If you have taken the bar exam multiple times, it is worth it to get a new approach right away.
So, be very honest with yourself! A few hours of truly analyzing your preparation can make a huge difference in how you prepare for (and if you pass) the next Michigan bar exam.
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