Congratulations on being done with the essay portion of the Michigan bar exam! It is such a relief to get the essay portion out of the way — especially when the exam is as difficult (and lengthy, and detailed!) as it was today.
The consensus about the July 2016 Michigan bar exam seems to be the following:
- Number 3 is a big enigma – bar exam takers talked about torts/civ pro/no fault/etc or a combination of the three and there is still quite a big debate over what the right answer is. We will keep our opinion to ourselves for now. However, even if you are looking back on your answer and second-guessing what you wrote, keep in mind that if a lot of students mix up the subject, the BLE is pretty generous in awarding points if you say something that makes logical sense!
- Agency was surprising to see (many students had trouble with it), and the “equity”/civil procedure preliminary injunction factors threw some students off. (Some students who attended my seminar or bought my book with the agency issues and preliminary injunction factors highlighted still had trouble with these questions as they didn’t expect them!)
- In typical Michigan bar exam fashion, the Constitutional Law question remained the most widely-discussed of the evening, with students talking about all kinds of things and still generally wondering what the BLE was looking for. We just hope you wrote a long answer and wrote confidently in whatever you discussed!
Contracts and Evidence were tricky (what’s new . . . ). Real Property left several students unsure about what to write. Domestic Relations, Personal Property, Wills weren’t terrible and were semi-predictable. No fault was a surprising subject for some, but the issue (noneconomic damages) was standard. (This is not to say everyone knew it and it is not to say that everyone analyzed it as a no-fault question, because many students have admitted to analyzing it differently!)
On the whole, it was certainly a very difficult bar exam, and a lengthy, detailed exam. It was one of the more difficult exams I have seen in a while.
If you left feeling like you missed issues, or perhaps subjects, or ran out of time, or couldn’t think of a word or wrote the wrong word, or came to the wrong conclusion on an issue (or many issues), you are not alone! Not one student that we talked to felt like they answered each question perfectly. Many left feeling shaky about the law they wrote and the conclusions they arrived at.
The other good news is, in February when they tested “strange” subjects (like Agency and Conflicts) they gave a very generous curve to bar exam takers. Instead of the standard 32-26 point curve, they added 40-48 raw points to every bar exam takers raw score! This was super-generous and some students saw inflated, very high essay scores without expecting it! (We will be writing a blog post and the effect it had on scores in the coming weeks!)
The fact that they again tested some unusual subjects (Agency, No-Fault) coupled with the fact that the subjects they tested were quite difficult may, again, lead to a generous curve!
[Note: If you feel good about the essays good! We do not want this post to freak you out! It is supposed to be a source of comfort for those who feel like they are the only ones that missed issues — it is not to make you nervous if you are not nervous!]
We will have blog posts coming up in the next few weeks about when July 2016 results will likely be released, the BLE’s generous curve in February 2016, the statewide Michigan bar exam appeals passage rate (warning: the statewide passage rate was dismal!), the accuracy of our predictions, among others. So stay tuned!
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