February 2021 Michigan Bar Exam Recap
Congratulations to all of those who sat for the February 2021 Michigan bar exam! You survived the rigors of bar prep and made it through to the other side, all while navigating novel bar exam conditions. You should all feel very proud of yourselves and your efforts! This was certainly a very interesting Michigan bar examination. While the subjects tested did not deviate much from historical trends, some of the issues tested were unexpected. Something on the exam likely surprised you, which is perfectly normal. Remember that it was always going to be impossible to know everything, and so some issues might have been personal trouble spots for you. That’s okay! You do not have to score perfectly, or even all that highly, to pass the Michigan Bar Exam. In fact, on recent exams, if you get the equivalent of (about) a 6.5 out of 10 you will pass! Here is our February 2021 Michigan Bar Exam Recap.
February 2021 Michigan Bar Exam Recap
The Subjects Tested
The subjects tested on the February 2021 Michigan bar exam were relatively standard and predictable. All of the usual suspects were covered, including the MBE subjects and the essay-only subjects that tend to turn up on every exam. Of the couple of less regularly tested subjects that turned up, these were not unexpected choices. Both Creditors’ Rights and Conflict of Laws were tested on this exam, but neither had been tested since July of 2019. As these subjects have made semi-frequent appearances since 2016, it wasn’t too surprising to see these two show up. The absence of the more rarely tested Secured Transactions, No-Fault, and Partnership continued. None of these subjects have appeared since July of 2017. Perhaps Workers’ Compensation is returning to its previous status as being a regular on the Michigan bar. This is now the third administration in a row that it has been tested.
However, just because the subject selection was unsurprising, that doesn’t mean the questions themselves were easy! But if you studied smart and divided your time efficiently across the subjects based on their testing frequency, you were in decent shape!
The Issues Tested
While we weren’t surprised by the subjects that were tested, it seems as if the difficulty in the February 2021 Michigan bar exam stemmed from the issues that were tested. Many of the essays tested issues that are not among those frequently tested issues we expect to see! Thus, if you felt like you struggled with some of the topics, you are not alone!
For example, the Civil Procedure question tested an issue that hadn’t shown up on the essay portion since 2002! The Evidence question, while covering a not uncommon general topic, was presented in a very strange way. The Torts and Criminal Procedure questions seemed to have rather novel components as well. If you felt unsure of yourself here, you are definitely not alone.
To us, this exam reinforced the need to study for the essay portion by practicing (or at least reviewing) as many past essays as you can. Although some of the questions tested rare issues, there were also a few that seemed to closely mirror an essay from the past. Many examinees were likely jarred by the Corporations or Creditors’ Rights questions. But a thorough review of previous essays on these subjects likely had you very well prepared.
As one last comment on the issues, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the Constitutional Law question tested a relatively common issue! These questions have been incredibly challenging as of late, so it was refreshing to see that those who studied the frequently tested Constitutional Law issues would have their hard work pay off here.
If you struggled with this exam – whether you struggled with timing, or didn’t write what your classmates wrote – you are not alone! Many examinees have these challenges. Also remember that if you struggled with a question, others probably did too. You will be graded in that light. Even if you got an answer “wrong” you will not get a 0 for the question as long as you wrote something.
Finally, know that it’s over. There’s nothing you can do about it now, and you can’t change anything that you wrote. Please don’t dwell on your responses! Do your best to put the bar exam out of your mind for a few months – you deserve a break!
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