The Michigan bar examination consists of two sections: the MBE, and an essay examination on Michigan law. More details on the Michigan bar exam format can be found on the Michigan Board of Law Examiners' website.
Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
The MBE is a six-hour, 200-question multiple-choice examination developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and administered by participating jurisdictions, including Michigan, on the last Wednesday in February and July of each year.
According to the NCBE, the purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns.
The MBE is divided into morning and afternoon testing sessions of three hours each, with 100 questions in each session. There are no scheduled breaks during either the morning or afternoon session, though test taskers typically may be excused from the exam room during the test. Be sure to check with your jurisdiction, however, as the rules regarding leaving the exam room may vary.
Of the 200 questions on the MBE, 175 questions are scored. The remaining unscored 25 questions are used by the NCBE to test potential future questions. The scored questions are distributed evenly, with 25 questions from each tested subject area. The Michigan bar exam subjects include civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, real property, and torts. The MBE counts for 50 percent of the total Michigan bar exam score.
The Michigan bar exam includes 15 essay questions. The topics tested include:
real and personal property
wills and trusts
criminal law and procedure
corporations, partnerships, and agency
creditor’s rights, including mortgages, garnishments, and attachments
torts (including no-fault)
the sales, negotiable instruments, and secured transactions articles of the
Uniform Commercial Code
Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
conflicts of laws
The Michigan essay section counts for 50 percent of the total Michigan bar exam score. The Michigan Board of Law Examiners provides previous essay questions and analyses on its website. More information regarding this essay component can be found on the State Bar of Michigan's website.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
A passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is also required to become a licensed Michigan attorney. The MPRE tests an examinee’s knowledge of the ethics rules related to the practice of law. According to the NCBE, the purpose of the MPRE is to “measure examinees' knowledge and understanding of established standards related to the professional conduct of lawyers.”
The MPRE’s questions are largely based on the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, but the MPRE also covers relevant court decisions as well as procedural and evidentiary rules.
The MPRE consists of 60 multiple-choice questions—50 scored questions and 10 unscored questions. As with the MBE, each question on the MPRE is followed by four possible answer options. You’ll have two hours to complete the exam.
The MPRE is offered three times per year, typically in March, August, and November. Be sure to register early—the regular registration fee is $135, but the late registration fee is $220.
The MPRE is scored on a scale that ranges from 50 to 100. Michigan requires a minimum-passing MPRE score of 85.