Michigan bar exam to be conducted remotely

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The Michigan Supreme Court announced the Board of Law Examiners will administer an online examination from Feb. 23-24.

However, the opportunity for in-person testing will be available for students who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The examination will follow the traditional two-day format containing 15 Michigan law-based essays and 200 multiple choice questions known as the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) offered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE).

Students who need a quiet space or reliable internet should contact their law schools.

The Board of Law Examiners (BLE) recommended the court take this action based on the following considerations:

  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services restrictions on indoor groups of more than 50 people and the increasing COVID-19 cases in Michigan and nationwide.
  • The NCBE is providing the full 200 question MBE for remote testing.
  • The MBE is only available for one set of dates in February, which would not allow the BLE to hold the exam on an alternative date if current restrictions were still in place at that time.
  • The software provider of the BLE’s in-person laptop exams (the same provider used by the NCBE for the MBE portion of the exam) and the July 2020 remote exam has confirmed its ability to conduct an online exam in February 2021.
  • Technical problems resulting from a denial of service attack during July 2020 exam period were quickly resolved, affected applicants were given extra time and all test takers were able to complete the test.
  • Expert evaluation of July 2020 test scores revealed that the technical problem did not have an impact on test scores.

The Board of Law Examiners expects the first administration of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which allows an applicant’s score to be transferred between UBE jurisdictions, to be in July of 2022. The UBE will be used by nearly 40 jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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