The Michigan Bar Exam
Structure, Topics, Dates, Cost, Scores, and Eligibility
On April 7, 2022, The Michigan Bar Exam adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE®), joining 40 participating jurisdictions. The uniform nature of the exam increases reciprocity and streamlines the licensure transfer process. The UBE is broken into three sections—the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®), and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®). This article will provide you everything you need to know about exam dates, deadlines, costs, pass rates, subjects, requirements, and more.
Michigan Bar Exam Structure
The UBE format of the Michigan Bar Exam consists of three exams proctored over two days. Each day represents 50% of your total exam score, which is reported on a 400-point scale. Michigan requires a UBE minimum passing score of 268.
|Exam Sessions||Exam Component||Format & Hours||% of Exam|
|Tuesday Morning||MEE||6 Essays, 3 Hours||30%|
|Tuesday Afternoon||MPT||2 Task Items, 3 Hours||20%|
|Wednesday Morning||MBE||100 Questions, 3 Hours||50%|
|Wednesday Afternoon||MBE||100 Questions, 3 Hours|
Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
The MPT is weighted at 20%. It assesses an examiner's ability to apply legal knowledge to simulated but realistic situations. You are given 90 minutes and provided a folder containing various legal materials to complete each of your two assignments. These assignments often include topics that don't appear on other portions of the bar exam, like Professional Responsibility.
Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)
The MEE is weighted at 30%. In the afternoon of your first exam day, you have 3 hours to complete six 30-minute MEE essay questions. Essays are graded from 0 to 6 before they are converted into scaled scores. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE®), the [urpose of the MEE is,
- Identify legal issues raised by a hypothetical factual situation.
- Separate material which is relevant from that which is not
- Present a reasoned analysis of the relevant issues in a clear, concise, and well-organized composition
- Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental legal principles irrelevant to the probable solution of the issues raised by the factual situation
Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)
The MBE is weighted at 50%. The entire second day of the exam is devoted to answering 200 multiple-choice questions split between two three-hour sessions. Only 175 questions are actually graded. The remaining 25 are unscored pilot questions for future exams.
Michigan Bar Exam Requirements, Dates, and Scheduling
To sit for the Michigan Bar Exam, you must complete your application and your affidavit of personal history before the late submission deadline. The ultimate deadline for the February 2023 exam is December 15, 2022, and May 15, 2023, for the July 2023 exam. If you miss these deadlines, you will not be admitted to take the bar exam. It's recommended that you file within the timely filing deadline to avoid late fees (see Exam Dates below).
Requirements for Admission
To qualify as an applicant for the Michigan Bar Exam you must meet the following qualifications stipulated by The Michigan Supreme Court:
- Graduate with a JD from an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school.
- Graduate with a JD from a state accredited law school.
Failure to meet the Michigan Bar Exam's timely filing deadlines will result in additional fees. Deadlines for the 2023 February and July exams are as follows:
|Exam Date||February 21-22, 2023||July 25-26, 2023|
|Registration Opens||August 15, 2022||January 15, 2023|
|Timely Deadline||November 1, 2022||March 1, 2023|
|$100 Late Filing Fee Deadline||December 15, 2022||May 15, 2023|
The Michigan Bar Exam is administered on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July at the following locations:
|February 2023 Michigan Bar Exam Location|
|East Lansing||Kellogg Center at
Michigan State University
|July 2023 Michigan Bar Exam Location|
|East Lansing||Jack Breslin Student Events Center at
Michigan State University
To schedule your Michigan Bar Exam you must create an account on the State Bar of Michigan website. Once you’ve registered you can login and begin your application. You will receive a receipt upon submitting your application and paying required fees. You must submit your Waiver and Release to the Character & Fitness office within two weeks following your submission at which point work can begin on your Character & Fitness application.
Costs and Fees
The Michigan Bar Exam timely filing fee is $400. A $100 late fee is levied for late filing the filing deadline. Fees are non-refundable.
Payments must be received before 12 midnight EST. All fees must be paid electronically via Visa or Mastercard credit, debit, or prepaid card. No refunds will be accepted and all fees must be paid together.
The pursuit of a legal license can become quite expensive. The good news is that scholarships and grants are available to help with the associated costs of pursuing a legal education and professional practice.
Many Michigan area organizations, including universities and foundations, offer law students in the region various scholarships and grants to help with legal education and bar exam costs. For example, the University of Michigan School of Law offers grants and scholarships annually, including academic and financial considerations.
Michigan State University College of Law also offers various scholarships for area students, which you can check out here: Scholarships & Costs: Michigan State University College of Law. If you are considering pursuing a legal license in Michigan, we strongly encourage you to apply to as many of these scholarships for which you are eligible to help you with your bar.
Michigan Bar Exam Subjects and Topics
The Michigan Bar Exam contains two written sections (MEE/MPT) that assess an examiner's ability to analyze legal scenarios using their legal knowledge and reasoning. On day two, the 200 multiple choice questions exam (MBE) tests fundamental legal principles within the context of Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.
The MEE portion of the Uniform Bar Exam has always been the same six questions for all UBE jurisdictions to allow for score portability. Likewise, the MEE Subject Matter Outline applies to all UBE jurisdictions. The following represent Michigan Bar Exam subjects for the essay portion:
- Business Associations
- Civil Procedure
- Conflict of Laws
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Family Law
- Real Property
- Secured Transactions
- Trusts and Estates
MEE subjects vary by exam version. For example, subjects may appear alongside others or be entirely omitted. In the past, some subjects (e.g., Civil Procedure) have appeared frequently, while others (e.g., Criminal Law) are rarely tested. Additional information on the list of subjects and subtopics can be found at MEE Subject Matter Outline.
The MBE tests the following subjects across 200 questions:
You may find a complete list of subjects and subtopics here: MBE Subject Matter Outline.
Michigan Bar Exam Scoring/Grading
The UBE is split into two sections. The writing section on day one contains the MEE and the MPT, and the MBE on day two. Performance on each section is graded on a scaled score out of 200. They are weighted as follows:
Michigan Bar Exam FAQs
To sit for the Bar Exam in Michigan, applicants must have a JD from a “reputable and qualified law school” that requires three years of full-time study for graduation or an ABA-approved law school.
The Michigan Bar Exam is offered twice a year, in February and July.
Judging by the Michigan Bar Exam pass rate from the most recent administration, the Michigan Bar Exam may be as challenging as those administered in other UBE jurisdictions.
Applications for February 2023 Michigan Bar Exam must be submitted before midnight EST on December 15, 2022. July 2023 exam applications will be accepted after January 15, 2023, until midnight EST May 15, 2023.
Schedule 400 hours to study for the DC Bar Exam. Students typically begin studying 8-10 weeks before the exam, but starting 4-6 months ahead will decrease burnout. Of course, the time you need is intimately related to your educational background and how you optimize your time.
The Michigan Bar Exam lasts two days, with the Michigan Subject Essays lasting 6 hours across two 3-hour sessions and the MBE lasting 6 hours in two 3-hour sessions.
Michigan does not have a set limit on the number of times you can take the Michigan Bar Exam, so if you fail the exam the first time, you can revise your strategy to perform better on your next attempt.
Per the most recently published Michigan bar results—July 2021—the Michigan bar exam pass rate for all test-takers was 64%, 75% for first-time, and 23% for repeat test-takers.
Michigan has reciprocity with all 49 other states.
The Michigan Essay Subjects and MBE scores are each weighted at 50% (placed on a common scale), combined, and averaged to determine if an applicant achieved a passing score of 135.
Results are typically released in April or May for the February exam and in September or October for the July exam. The Michigan Bar Exam February 2022 results were released on May 12, 2022. The Michigan Bar Exam July 2021 results were released on October 27, 2021.
You must pass the UBE and the MPRE in Michigan, have completed law school at an ABA-accredited law school, and have successfully undergone a character and fitness process.
You must have a law degree to practice law in Michigan.
To request special accommodations for the Michigan Bar Exam, you must submit a Special Accommodations Questionnaire and Affidavit by December 15 or May 15 for the February or July exams, respectively. Here are detailed instructions.