Many students wonder how the February Michigan Bar exam differs from the July Michigan bar exam. There are rumors that one bar exam is easier than the other – when in reality one is not! But they are different. In this article, we list the five primary differences between the February Michigan Bar Exam and the July Michigan Bar Exam.
How is the February Michigan Bar Exam different from the
July Michigan Bar Exam?
1. They are held at different locations.
The February Michigan bar exam is held at the Lansing Center. It is held in a very large meeting hall. (Note: It used to be held at the Kellogg Center.) The July Michigan bar exam is held at the Breslin Center. Examinees take the bar exam in a large auditorium.
The seating structure is the same for both exams (examinees sit kitty-corner from one another). Students have complained about the room being cold for both exams, but particularly for the July Michigan bar exam. Some students are more intimidated by the July bar exam because there are so many people in one very large room!
2. The July Michigan Bar Exam has more takers.
In February 2017, there were a total of 415 takers. In July 2017, there were 680. This is semi consistent with past trends, although in past years there were more bar exam takers total in Michigan (and the gap was wider between the number of July and February bar exam takers). Generally speaking, now you can expect about 1.33 times as many takers in July.
3. The July Michigan Bar Exam has more traditional students.
The July Michigan bar exam has more traditional 1st-time takers who completed law school in three years. Many July Michigan bar exam takers graduate the May before they take the bar exam. February has more nontraditional students (those who did not graduate in three years and those who have to retake the bar exam).
Some students think the February bar exam is “easier” to pass because there are more repeat takers and students are not competing with those that have graduated at the top of their class in a standard three-year law school program. But…see the next point.
4. The February Michigan bar exam has more curveballs.
The February 2017 exam, for example, was awful. It tested several issues that are not covered in bar exam course material and issues that have never been tested before on the bar exam. The Board of Law Examiners’ seem to take more risks in February than they do in July. They seem to write wackier questions and test more nuances. They also seem to compare notes less, which can result in a less fair exam. We believe the reason for this is that they are not “in the spotlight” as much. The July Michigan bar exam is an event that many attorneys and parents of graduating students keep an eye on. July Michigan bar exam results are posted in newspapers and discussed more. February results tend to not be in the spotlight as much.
5. The February Michigan bar exam is easier to study for.
The July Michigan bar exam can be quite difficult to study for. It is the summer in Michigan. There are weddings, showers, barbecues, and gatherings. There is Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. A pool and a margarita are much more appealing than a bunch of bar exam books. February’s bar exam tends to be easier to study for. There are less holidays and events. It is cold and no one wants to be outside anyway. There is also less stress. Most students who take the February Michigan bar exam are not taking the bar exam with all of their friends. So there is less pressure and less stress in general.
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