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Ohio Bar Exam Logistics

A guide to Ohio Bar Exam logistics (updated 7/1/2021)

Bar Exam Logistics

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.


Ohio Bar Exam Checklist

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.

During the Year:

  • Attend Ohio Office of Bar Admissions information session. (Watch your email for announcement of the date and time.)
  • Register as a Candidate for the Bar Exam
  • Take the MPRE
  • Watch for an email from Jay Ruffner in late September or early October. This will contain important information about deadlines.


  • September: Register for November MPRE
  • September Late registration deadline for November MPRE (extra fee applies)
  • November 15: Application to register as a candidate for admission to the Practice of Law
  • February (date TBA): Registration for March MPRE
  • June (date TBA): Registration for August MPRE

During the Year

  • Take CLE session on Substance Abuse
  • Start preparing "Application to Take the Bar Exam" paperwork in February.
  • Make hotel reservations as soon as possible. Hotels are often sold out by April.
  • If you have not taken the MPRE, take the MPRE. See the 2L tab for deadlines.
  • Watch for an email from Jay Ruffner in late February or early March. This will contain important information about deadlines.

Deadlines for July 26-27, 2022 Bar Exam:

  • Mid-March: Final deadline for submitting Law School Character form to Academic Services Office
  • Jan 15, 2022: Late Application to Register as a Candidate for the July bar examination.
  • April 1, 2022 : The Ohio Supreme Court must receive the "Application to Take the Bar Exam."
  • May 10, 2022: Deadline for late application to take the bar exam (extra fees apply)

Deadlines for February 21-22, 2023 Bar Exam:

  • Mid-October: Final deadline for submitting Law School Character form to Academic Services Office
  • November 1, 2022: The Ohio Supreme Court must receive the "Application to Take the Bar Exam."
  • December 10, 2022: Deadline for late application to take the bar exam (extra fees apply)
  • Follow your bar exam prep course's recommended schedule. The target completion rate is 75%, but pass rates increase dramatically when test-takers finish 95% of the course.
  • Watch your inbox for instructions for purchasing and downloading the exam software.
  • Finish the "mock exam" for the exam software. Before doing this, print one of your practice exam answers from your bar review course so you can retype it on the mock exam. The difference in formatting between the exam software and the bar prep software can be unnerving because the exam answers may appear too short.

Final Instructions and Admission Ticket

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.

Exam Schedule

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:

  • Tuesday Morning: Two MPT problems
  • Tuesday Afternoon: Six essays
  • Wednesday Morning: 100 MBE questions
  • Wednesday Afternoon: 100 MBE questions
  • Thursday Morning: Six essays

Exam Results

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).

If you Succeed...

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.

If you were having a bad day...

The Board of Bar Examiners will send you copies of your essay questions upon request.

Swearing-in Ceremony

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.

Non-Ohio Bar Exams

Please see the National Conference of Bar Examiners Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions for information about other states' exams.