Michigan Bar Exam

Michigan Bar Exam Format

The Michigan bar exam takes two days and consists of the Michigan Essays and the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”). Michigan law is tested on the Michigan bar exam.

Michigan Essays
Michigan tests 15 essays. Subjects include:

  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts (Common Law and Sales/UCC Art. 2)
  • Corporations, Partnership, and Agency
  • Creditor’s Rights (including Mortgages, Garnishments, and Attachments)
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Equity
  • Evidence
  • Family Law (Domestic Relations)
  • Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Negotiable Instruments/Commercial Paper (UCC Art. 3)
  • Practice and Procedure (Trial and Appellate) (Michigan and Federal)
  • Real and Personal Property
  • Secured Transactions (UCC Art. 9)
  • Torts (including no-fault)
  • Wills and Trusts
  • Workers’ Compensation

MBE (Multiple Choice)
Michigan uses the standard MBE. Subjects include:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts (Common Law, Sales/UCC Art. 2)
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Real Property
  • Torts

MBE Score Transfer
Michigan accepts MBE scores from other jurisdictions based on reciprocity (transferring state must accept MBE score from MI). Michigan accepts MBE scores for concurrent exams only if the transferring jurisdiction is a “concurrent exam only” state. For all other MBE transfer states, the score must be achieved within 3 years (6 exams) and the applicant must have passed the entire bar exam in the transferring state. Applicants must notify the Michigan Board of Law Examiners of the intent to transfer an MBE score by December 15 for the February exam and by May 15 for the July exam.

Michigan Bar Exam Testing Schedule

Day 1 (Tuesday)
Morning – 9 Michigan Essays
Afternoon – 6 Michigan Essays

Day 2 (Wednesday)
Morning – MBE Part I (100 questions; 3 hours)
Afternoon – MBE Part II (100 questions; 3 hours)

Michigan Bar Exam Dates and Application

The Michigan bar exam is held on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July. Applications can be found on the State Bar of Michigan’s Website.

Exam Date Application Deadline Late Deadline
February 21-24, 2017 Nov. 1 Dec. 15
July 25-26, 2017 March 1 May 15


Michigan Bar Exam Weight

MI Essays 50%
MBE 50%

Grading Procedure
Each essay question has a 10 possible points for a total of 150 points possible. The MBE is worth 200 points.

4/3 (Total Essay Score) + MBE Scale Score/2 = Combined Scaled Score

Passing Score
The minimum passing score is a combined scaled score of 135. Bar exam results are released in mid-May for the February exam and mid-November for the July exam.

Pass Rates
Not currently available.

Review and Appeal for Applicants Failing the Michigan Bar Exam
Only unsuccessful applicants may obtain their essay answers.

Within 30 days of when the bar exam results are released, applicants may ask the Board to reconsider the applicant’s essay grades. Applicants must file with the Assistant Secretary two copies of the request, the answer given in the applicant’s blue books, and an explanation why the applicant deserves a higher grade.

Retaking the Michigan Bar Exam

Applicants reapplying to take the Michigan bar exam are required to file an application at least 60 days before the bar exam. If the applicant’s clearance is more than three years old, the Character and Fitness Committee must reapprove the applicant. Unsuccessful applicants will receive an application to reapply with the bar exam results. Applicants may take the Michigan bar exam an unlimited number of times.