I was not planning on writing a blog post about this July 2014 Michigan bar exam because I almost never do. But let’s face it, today’s essay exam was an especially difficult bar exam! So here are a few thoughts on it:
First of all, it was a long exam. Too many long fact patterns and too many essays that required three-part answers. If you even made it through the exam and were able to address all of the issues, you should feel good about that. (If not, no worries, you are in good company!).
Second of all, it’s okay if you missed major issues. Let me repeat that: It’s okay if you missed major issues. It’s okay if you weren’t 100% prepared for No Fault or Secured Transactions. It’s okay if you got back in the room then beat yourself up when you remembered what you were SUPPOSED to say for that Personal Property question (Let’s admit it, we only prepared for Bailments). It’s okay if you had no idea what the hell to say for Corporations (I mean, really, Board of law examiners?) or some of the weird hearsay issues they threw your way (What, you mean you didn’t read the rule on when it’s possible to allow an “attractive staffer” to read deposition testimony in court in lieu of the declarant testifying…?). Why is it okay? Because you do not need to get an “A” to pass. You do not need to get a “B” to pass. You do not even need a “C” to pass. You need a whopping 135 out of 200, which comes to a 67.5% or D+.
Third of all, maybe the new scaling will help balance out this more difficult bar exam with some of the less difficult bar exams that have been given in the past. The Board of law examiners released a quirky, evasive statement a few weeks before the bar exam (best timing ever) saying that they were going to try to balance out the points on upcoming bar exams to make the bar exam more fair. Which usually means they add a few points to everyone’s score. Will this drastically change the passage rate? I don’t think so. But will it make it more fair for takers like you who have a particularly difficult exam? Probably.
Fourth, maybe you made it a point to not talk to anyone and to shut yourself in your hotel room as soon as the exam was over (I don’t blame you) but just so you know, everyone feels surprised by this exam. Many students ran out of time. Many students did not know what to say for multiple issues. Many students were annoyed by the strange calls of the question and the fact that they were expected to analyze so much in such little time. And this should give you some level of comfort. Just remember: You are not graded against the perfect student. You are not graded against the perfect model answer. You are also not graded by your Kaplan or Barbri grader who seemed to love giving scores of 4 or lower. You are graded according to everyone else who feels equally confused and taken aback by this exam.
So what should you do now? Put it behind you. Know that you did your best and that even if you missed some issues, whatever you wrote will probably be enough to pull in that 67.5%. And you can make up for it with the MBE which is generally generously scaled in Michigan. Drink a glass of wine. Get some sleep. Be happy it’s over. Don’t think about it anymore. Just get ready to rock the MBE portion tomorrow.
If you have any last minute questions or concerns or breakdowns relating to the July 2014 Michigan Bar Exam, feel free to post below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck tomorrow!!
Addendum: There are a handful of students that I’ve talked to who feel okay about the bar exam. They were prepared for all of the subjects and didn’t miss any major issues. And if you fall into that category, there is no reason for this post to freak you out. There is no reason to be nervous that you’re not nervous. That is not the point of this post. So if you feel alright about the exam, then good, keep on feeling alright. This post is geared toward bar exam takers who were not expecting this kind of exam and are not super-confident in their answers.
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