July 2021 Michigan Bar Exam Recap
Congratulations to all of those who sat for the July 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!
In terms of just the content of the essays, this exam did not appear to be too unusual (with one exception!). However, that does not mean that the issues weren’t tested in a confusing way! Something (or many things…) 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 high, to pass the Michigan Bar Exam. In fact, on recent exams, if you get the equivalent of (about) a 6.5 out of 10 on each essay you will pass!
July 2021 Michigan Bar Exam Recap
Here is our recap of the July 2021 Michigan bar exam Essay Portion!
The Subjects Tested
The subjects tested on the July 2021 Michigan bar exam were relatively standard and predictable, with one exception. All of the usual suspects were covered, including the MBE subjects and the essay-only subjects that tend to turn up on every exam. Only two of the rarer subjects showed up, with one of those being the increasingly more popular–Equity (which has always tested the same issue). The biggest surprise was the appearance of Professional Responsibility for the first time since July 2016! Although it seemed like the Examiners had dropped this subject, it was never removed from the list of testable subjects, and we had conveyed to our students a few rumors we had heard regarding the possibility of it appearing again. But if it shocked you, you are not alone!
The absence of the more rarely tested Secured Transactions, No-Fault, and Partnership continued again. None of these subjects have appeared since July of 2017. We mentioned in our February recap that we wondered if Workers’ Compensation is returning to its previous status as being a regular on the Michigan bar. It was tested again in July, making this its fourth consecutive appearance.
As always, just because the subject selection was unsurprising as a whole, 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
There were, as usual, a few surprising issues that appeared on the exam, as well as quite a few relatively predictable ones. The Corporations question tested issues that hadn’t appeared on the exam since July 1999! The Examiners unfortunately returned to their habit of testing an unusual constitutional issue after a more straightforward question in February. And we’ve heard multiple reports of confusion over what appeared to be a Contracts question. So if you felt unsure of yourself there, know that others shared your feelings!
Many of the other topics were more predictable, and practicing past essays would have certainly helped you! It appears that quite a few standard issues showed up, with many of the MBE subjects testing topics that your materials likely prepared you well for. But we’ve heard that identifying the issue tested might have been one of the trickiest parts of this exam! While you might know the rules well, identifying the issues is the first (and often most challenging!) step. The Examiners seemed to have been moving toward more direct calls of the question in recent years, and so questions that didn’t follow this pattern understandably might have made you nervous!
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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