JD Advising’s Recap of the July 2017 Michigan Bar Exam
In all, the July 2017 Michigan bar exam was difficult and it was lengthy! Here are our general thoughts about what was tested on the July 2017 Michigan bar exam.
The subjects they chose to test (and not test) were surprising.
For example, there was no Constitutional Law question(!) and no Professional Responsibility question (again)! Workers’ Compensation was also not tested. We were surprised to not see these subjects (but we weren’t necessarily mourning their absence…).
There were (debatably) two Real Property questions (though some classify one as Creditors’ Rights, which is perfectly fine). And No-Fault and Torts were tested (usually they test one or the other). So the subjects were certainly odd. And hopefully you were not depending on “clusters” for this exam (which is something we do not teach as they are not typically followed) — the question pattern was way too bizarre to depend on clusters.
The “odd” questions were No-Fault (noneconomic damages being the main issue) and Equity (preliminary injunction being the main issue), Secured Transactions (which we predicted) and Creditors’ Rights (if you count the foreclosure by advertisement question as a Creditors’ Rights question, though this has been typically tested as Real Property).
Corporations was tested this exam (in lieu of Agency or Partnership) which was not super surprising. We were surprised to see Wills tested again. We thought they would take a break from Wills and test Trusts this time (but the Wills issues they tested were quite standard).
The exam was more “standard” and more fair than February’s exam. However, the questions were still difficult and the exam was lengthy!
On the whole, the exam was difficult but much more fair than February’s exam. Many of the topics tested were standard – Personal Property (lost and mislaid property, abandoned property), No-Fault (with noneconomic damages issues), Civil Procedure (personal jurisdiction, as we predicted), Equity (preliminary injunctions, as we predicted they would test if they tested Equity), Criminal Procedure (search incident to arrest with a cell phone issue, as predicted), Secured Transactions (a difficult but not too crazy question), and Corporations (derivative lawsuit, as predicted), Family Law (marital versus separate assets, as predicted), among others.
Though the topics were “standard”, the the exam was still difficult! Students seem to struggle quite a bit with Contracts and Evidence. We have heard a lot of creative answers written in response to these questions so don’t worry if you struggled with these – the curve will even it out! And there are many questions that students don’t feel wholly confident about (as is normal for the bar exam!) Like: Is an overt act required for conspiracy? Can we get attorneys fees for a derivative suit? Is fault taken into account in property division? Many students who felt somewhat confident about a subject still did not feel totally sure about how to answer some of these questions. That is normal.
Timing was an issue for a lot of students.
The exam was lengthy, with most questions containing multiple parts. The No-Fault question alone could have been answered in an hour. These were lengthy questions and many students struggled with timing! The BLE really needs to shorten the questions or the expectations of students if they expect students to spend an average of 20 minutes per question.
If you are freaking out because you know you answered a question or two or three (or more) wrong…don’t worry!
You are not alone! You do not need perfect scores (or even scores of “7”) on the questions to pass. You just need average scores of 7. So if you scored a 4 on Evidence you can make up for it with a 10 in Crim Pro. But even if you think you scored low, you may not have. Your answer is not compared to the “perfect” answer. It is naturally compared to those who sat around you, who struggled, who BS’ed their way through, and who ran out of time.
If timing was an issue for you on this exam, you are not alone.
Again, this was a lengthy exam. Many students — even those that typically do not have timing issues — struggled with timing. So if your answers were short or not super-complete for all questions, you are not alone. This will be very obvious to the graders when they are grading exams.
If you are worried that you are not that worried, then calm down.
Some students feel as though they recognized most of the issues and they feel pretty good about the exam overall. Then they start to worry about the fact they are not worried. That is the effect of the bar exam – it drives everyone a little crazy and makes people worry even about not being worried. If you feel okay about what was tested today, great. Be happy it is over and get ready for the MBE day!
If you find you cannot calm down, focus on what you did know and get ready for the MBE day.
It is human nature to focus on what you did not know. So rather than thinking “I didn’t do too bad on Personal Property, Family Law, or Civil Procedure…” you may instead spend half the night beating yourself up over the Corporations question. This is human nature to focus on what you didn’t know rather than what you did. So refocus your mind to take a fairer look at what you actually knew. Also, remember that feelings do not necessarily reflect how you scored. We have students each round that are convinced they failed and end up passing with flying colors. (Further a lot of the questions that the students worry about the most they end up doing okay on!)
On the whole, we predicted that the July 2017 Michigan bar exam would be more fair than the crazy February exam and we are happy to see that it was. We also think JD Advising course students (as well as Michigan bar exam seminar attendees and How to Pass the Michigan Bar Exam book buyers–particularly those who paid attention to one-sheets) were SUPER prepared for the exam that was given.
Wondering when July 2017 Michigan bar exam results will be released?
Here are past release dates as well as our thoughts – you can even sign up for a text notification or email notification if you want to know the minute that July 2017 Michigan bar exam results are out!
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