It is always challenging to predict what will be on the essay portion of the Michigan bar exam. One thing that has been very helpful, however, is to see what has been tested in the past. Many times, issues that have been tested in the past are re-tested on current bar exams.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have all of the frequently-tested issues for a particular essay subject in just one sheet? That is exactly what we offer to students who buy our How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book.
One of things that we pride ourselves on from our How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book is the one-sheets that are in the back of it. Each essay subject is summarized in just one page. It took us a LONG time to make these one-sheets because we methodically researched exams from 1990 to the present date and listed all of the highly-tested and recently-tested issues.
But it has paid off, because so much of what is on the one-sheets are tested on the Michigan bar exam essays.
If you compare what is on the one-sheets in the How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book to what was tested on the July 2015 Michigan bar exam (which is exactly what we do, below), it is amazing to see how much overlap there is.
Michigan Bar Exam Essay Predictions – An Overview of
What Was Predicted by the One-Sheets
Below we tell you what was tested on the July 2015 Michigan bar exam and compare it with what was on the one-sheet for that subject.
- Question 1: Personal Property – The entire Personal Property question on the July 2015 was on inter vivos gifts. The one-sheet for personal property in our How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book states that what is required to make an inter vivos It also states that the “general focus [in an essay question] is on whether there was a delivery.” Indeed, both issues in the Personal Property question regarded an inter vivos gift, and the first one turned completely on the fact that there was not a valid delivery. Another very important point made by the How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book was this: “The call of the question will generally ask which person has right to specific personal property. Thus, essay answers are organized by item of property. Headings usually just list the property (“the ring,” “the car”) and discuss which person has the superior claim to it.” Students who kept this in mind organized their answers appropriately and did not mix up this Personal Property question with a Contracts question (like so many examinees did!) Students who accurately recited and applied the law on inter vivos gifts that was listed in the one-sheet could have achieved 9 points on the essay question.
- Question 2: Trusts – The Trusts question had two parts. The first question asked whether a trust was valid (and expected you to list the elements of a valid trust), and it asked the standard of proof needed to establish an oral trust. The second part of the question asked whether the trust could be modified to be consistent with the settlor’s intent. The One-Sheet for the Trusts Question discussed LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE ISSUES. The first Key Principle on the Trusts one-sheet states that the trust is usually found to be valid on the Michigan bar exam (which it was in the question asked). It lists the five statutory elements of a trust (capacity, intent, delivery, etc. . . . all five were in the Examiner’s Analysis for the Trusts question). It states that oral trusts are valid if proved by clear and convincing evidence (which is exactly what the question asked). The Trusts one-sheet also states that a trust may be modified if it is inconsistent with a material trust purpose. Students who read and remembered this law on Trusts could have (and should have!) achieved 10 points on the essay question!
- Question 3: Real Property – The July 2015 Michigan bar exam question tested Michigan’s race-notice statute. The very first sentence on the one-sheet for Real Property is, “Michigan’s race-notice act is frequently tested. The Michigan bar exam generally tests whether a subsequent purchaser for value had notice of a prior interest.” The one-sheet then describes the statute. The first issue in the Real Property question was whether a purchaser had priority under Michigan’s race-notice statute. There was then a subsequent issue about the Seller Disclosure Act and rescission. Students who remembered the law on race-notice and accurately applied it to the facts could have achieved 4 points on the essay question.
- (Question 4 was not covered by the one-sheet)
- Question 5: Evidence – The July 2015 Evidence question focused on hearsay (particularly party admission), and offer to settle. The one-sheet for Evidence defines hearsay (“a statement….offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.”), and lists the three common hearsay exceptions/exclusions tested – including party admission. Students who remembered the law on hearsay and party admissions and accurately applied these laws could have achieved up to 5 points on the essay question.
- Question 6: Professional Responsibility – A few of the issues tested in Professional Responsibility revolved around a conflict of interest for a former client (Rule 1.7) and how to get around that conflict (by obtaining consent). The How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book discusses this exact rule in the one-sheet for Professional Responsibility. Students who remembered the particulars about Rule 1.7 from the Professional Responsibility One-Sheet could have achieved 5 points on this essay question.
- Question 7: Criminal Law – The Criminal Law question tested self-defense, which was in the one-sheet. The one-sheet states “a person may use deadly force if he honestly and reasonably believes he is in danger of serious bodily harm or death…In Michigan, a person may stand his ground and it not required to retreat.” Students who knew this law and accurately applied it could have achieved 10 points on the essay question.
- Question 8: Constitutional Law: This one-sheet discusses how to begin an essay answer on free speech (including citing the First Amendment and stating it is applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment). Free speech was tested on the July 2015 bar exam. This was a hard question but students who stated the correct introduction to the Constitutional Law question could have achieved 1 point, as an introduction to free speech was likely worth a point in the essay question. (Note: Many students who wrote long enough answers received four or five points even without saying much besides general free speech rules!)
- Question 9: Criminal Procedure – The July 2015 Criminal Procedure question tested search and seizure. The first key principle on the Criminal Procedure one-sheet is that search and seizure is heavily tested. The one-sheet states the general rule regarding when the 4th Amendment applies. It lists the exigent circumstances exception (which was tested), plain view (which was tested). The one-sheet also states that the evidence is arguably admissible in 2/3 of the cases. This was consistent with the Criminal Procedure essay question on the July 2015 Michigan bar exam as there were four questions asked and three out of four constituted constitutional searches so the evidence was admissible. (One of four was unconstitutional.) Students who knew this law could have achieved 10 points on the essay question.
- Question 10: Torts – The entire Torts question for the July 2015 Michigan bar exam was on assault and battery. The one-sheet in the How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book, states, “If intentional torts are tested, usually the exam tests assault or battery.” It then states the law (“To recover for either battery or assault, plaintiff must show that defendant acted with intent to cause a harmful or offensive touching of another person or knew with substantial certainty that such contact would result…”) Students who accurately recited and applied the law on assault and battery could have achieved 10 points on the essay question.
- (Question 11, 12, and 13 were not covered by the one-sheets for these topics.)
- Question 14: Sales — The Sales essay started with a typical introduction (stating that the transaction “falls under Article 2 of the UCC, which governs contracts, whether oral or written, that involve the sale of goods. Goods are defined as all things which are movable at the time of the contract. This contract involved the purchase of ____, an item movable at the time identified in the contract for sale.”) Students who knew this law could have achieved 1 point, as this was likely worth a point in the essay question. Further, 2-207 was tested. And 2-207 was what was on the July 2015 Michigan bar exam. In the one-sheet, we give an overview of UCC 2-207. Indeed, Key Principle #2 in the book states, “Under the UCC battle of the forms provision (UCC 2-207), even if an acceptance contains different or additional terms, that does not prevent contract formation! The UCC does not follow the strict common law “mirror image rule.” Students who knew this law could have achieved 5 points, as this was worth approximately half of the essay question.
- Question 15: Domestic Relations – The entire Domestic Relations essay on the July 2015 Michigan bar exam tested marital versus separate assets. The one-sheet lists this topic as a key topic to know. It tells you how to define marital versus separate essays, and states separate assets include an inheritance, a gift to one party, or property acquired before marriage. Students who accurately recited and applied the law on marital versus separate essays could have achieved 10 points on the essay question.
If you knew (and were able to apply the law) you could have gotten 80 points from what was on the one-sheets. The one-sheets covered points made in 11 of the 15 essays.
There is no guarantee that the information appearing in the one-sheets will continue to appear on future exams, but the chances are, it will!
Looking to purchase the one-sheets? Our book, How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam, which contains the one-sheets in the appendix, can be purchased for $150 by clicking here. We accept Paypal, cash, or check.
Can I Read an Excerpt from the “How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam” Book?
Yes! To download a PDF that contains all of the above excerpts, simply click here: Excerpts from How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam Book. The excerpts include:
- An excerpt from our essay guide, revealing which subjects are most heavily-tested on the essay portion of the Michigan bar exam.
- An excerpt from our multiple choice guide: “Ten key strategies to score high on the MBE.”
- An example of our “One-Sheets” from Exhibit 4 of our book — more specifically the Criminal Procedure one-sheet. The One-sheets are essentially mini-outlines of the highly-tested areas of law on the essay portion of the Michigan bar exam.
- An example of actual student answers found in Exhibit 5. This excerpt includes the July 2014 Evidence question, model answer, two actual graded student answers, as well as our commentary on each answer.
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