Bar exam preparation

Wayne Law is committed to helping our students pass the bar examination and succeed in their legal careers. We believe this journey starts as you begin to master the first-year courses, and continues throughout your time in law school. Information about support programs will be posted as the academic year progresses.

Questions should be directed to Meghan Short, director of academic success and bar preparation, meghanshort@wayne.edu or (313) 577-9293.

Michigan Bar application

Application, fees and deadline information are on the State Bar of Michigan (character and fitness and personal history information) and Michigan Board of Law Examiners (examination application and FAQs) websites.

Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam is a two-hour-and-five-minute test consisting of 50 multiple-choice questions administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The exam tests your knowledge and understanding of the ethical standards of the legal profession chronicled in the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct and Model Code of Judicial Conduct.

The exam is offered nationwide each March, August and November, and many students take the exam sometime after their first year of law school. Passing exam scores vary by jurisdiction but are often transferable between states when the score requirement can be met. A passing score of 85 is required for admission to the State Bar of Michigan.

Application, fees and deadline information are on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website.

Michigan Bar Exam

Overview

The Michigan Bar Exam is a two-day exam, administered in East Lansing on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July.

The first day consists of 15 essays on Michigan law. The second day is the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions. Note: the MBE doesn't test Michigan law – it tests the general/majority law of all states.

Your overall score on the Michigan Bar Exam is determined by your performance on the essay portion, as well as the multiple-choice portion. Each section is worth 50 percent of your grade. Your combined score must be a 135 or higher to pass. There is no minimum passing score for either the multistate portion or the essay portion.

Day 1: Michigan Exam

The essay portion tests Michigan law, and is administered Tuesday, the first day of the exam. There are 15 total essays: nine in the morning, which you have three hours to complete, and six in the afternoon, which you have two hours to complete. Each essay should take about 20 minutes to complete.

There are 24 possible subjects that essay questions could test: Evidence, Constitutional Law, Real Property, Personal Property, Wills, Trusts, Torts (including no-fault), Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Sales, Commercial Paper/Negotiable Instruments, Worker's Compensation, Creditor's Rights, Contracts, Equity, Secured Transactions, Professional Responsibility, Corporations, Partnerships, Agency, Civil Procedure (state and federal), Domestic Relations, and Conflicts of Laws. 

Most essays only test one subject per question, but occasionally two subjects will be combined in one question. 

Each essay is scored on a scale of 1 to 10, according to an undisclosed formula. A score of 7 is understood to be a passing score for an essay.

Day 2: Multistate Bar Exam (multiple choice) topics

The MBE is administered Wednesday and consists of 200 total questions (175 scored and 25 "test questions"). You will have three hours to complete 100 questions in the morning, and three hours to complete the second half in the afternoon. 

Seven subjects are tested: Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, Torts and (as of February 2015) Civil Procedure. They are weighted about equally.

Other jurisdictions

Planning on taking the bar exam outside of Michigan? Visit this List of bar exam agencies by jurisdiction for information and applicable deadlines for each state.