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State of Ohio

A law student planning to take the Ohio bar exam must both register for, and apply to take, the exam. You must register by November 15 of your second year of law school, even if you are a part-time student. The registration process is involved and time consuming; start early. The application deadline for the February bar examination is November 1st; for the July bar examination, the application deadline is April 1.

The Ohio bar exam consists of three parts, administered over two and one-half days in the last week of February and July every year. On Tuesday and Thursday, applicants answer a total of twelve Ohio essay questions, six each day. Each answer, which may be handwritten or typed, must be completed in thirty minutes. The essay portion of the exam will include at least one question, and no more than two questions, on each of the following subjects:

  • Business Associations – Agency, Partnerships, and Corporations
  • Civil Procedure
  • Commercial Transactions
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Legal Ethics
  • Property – Real and Personal
  • Torts
  • Wills

On Wednesday, applicants take the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering the subjects in boldface type. Many who practice in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area want to be licensed in both states. By taking the Ohio bar first, transferring your Ohio MBE score to Kentucky, and subsequently taking only the essay portion of the Kentucky bar, you can be licensed in both jurisdictions, having taken a total of 3 ½ days of bar examinations. Ohio does not accept MBE scores obtained on other state bar exams, so an applicant who took Kentucky first would take 4 ½ days of bar examinations to obtain both licenses.

Ohio administers the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) on Tuesday morning, as the very first component of the exam. An applicant must complete two ninety-minute performance tests, which require reading a set of sources, following instructions, and drafting a document such as a brief, letter, contract, memorandum, will, or discovery document.

Applicants must also take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), which is administered three times each year in March, August, and November. The MPRE can be taken in any state and the results transferred to any other state. It tests knowledge and understanding of the ethical standards that govern the legal profession. In Ohio, an applicant must pass the MPRE before being sworn in, but need not take or pass the MPRE before taking the Ohio bar examination.


Lee Ann Ward
Manager, Bar Admissions
Supreme Court of Ohio

65 South Front Street, Fifth Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431
Tel: 614.387.9340