This guide discusses the logistical aspects of taking the Ohio Bar Exam. For information on the exam itself, please contact Assistant Dean Michael McCarthy or Professor Liam Dunn.
Sign up with commercial bar prep courses to lock in the rate for your bar prep course. Before signing up, confirm that you are not obligated to pay them anything if you change your mind.
About a week before the exam, the Ohio Supreme Court sends a packet containing the schedule, an admissions ticket, and final instructions. The packet includes a very short list of items one is allowed to bring to the exam room. In February 2018, examinees were allowed to bring ID, money, keys, bottled water, prescription medication, and pens/pencils (Tuesday and Thursday only). Items not on the list included, but were not limited to: watches, wallets, and cell phones.
The doors of the exam site open early. In February 2018, they opened at 7:45 a.m., and laptop users needed to be in their seats by 8:45 a.m. for instructions. There were three hours of tests in the morning, a lunch break, and three hours of tests in the afternoon.
A typical testing schedule is:
After examinees finish the last portion of the exam, those administering the exam tell examinees the date and time on which they will announce results. For the July exam, it is typically 12 weeks after the exam; for February it is typically 8 weeks. Examinees may go to the Supreme Court Website, call the court, or wait for results in the mail (within a day or two after results announced).
Your letter from the Ohio Supreme Court will contain instructions and a ticket for the swearing-in ceremony. It will also include a printout with your scores on each essay and MPT question, your MBE score, your percentile on the written portions, your percentile on the MBE, and your total percentile.
The Board of Bar Examiners will send you copies of your essay questions upon request.
The Swearing-in Ceremony is usually at the Palace Theater in Columbus. Prior to COVID-19, Dean Scharf and Dean Berg would host a lunch reception before the ceremony for our alumni who are being sworn in and our alumni's family members. The Ohio Supreme Court hosts a reception for new attorneys after the ceremony. The Ohio Channel has archived video of the swearing-in ceremonies.
The Ohio Supreme Court has held that "Esquire" means a person is licensed to practice law (see 2018-Ohio-231, pargr.9, 2009-Ohio-1152, paragr.45, 2004-Ohio-5581 paragr.3). Using it prematurely is a violation of the rule against holding one's self out as admitted to practice law in Ohio (Rule 5.5(b)(2)). According to Ohio Supreme Court Bar Admissions, a person is officially licensed to practice law after he or she finalizes his or her registration with Attorney Services. This typically happens at the Ohio Supreme Court following the swearing-in ceremony.
Please see the National Conference of Bar Examiners Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions for information about other states' exams.