Ohio Bar Exam Essay Character Limit

Ohio’s bar exam is similar to most state bar examinations. It has three basic components: (1) an essay portion; (2) the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which consists of multiple choice questions; and (3) the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), which is a closed universe writing problem. A passing score is 405 out of a maximum score of approximately 600. The MBE counts for 1/3 of the score; the essays and the MPT count for 2/3 of the score.

For the July 2016 Ohio bar exam, applicants may use a laptop computer to answer the essay and MPT portions of the exam. You must use your own laptop with ExamSoft's SofTest software. A nonrefundable $121 fee is required to register with ExamSoft to use your laptop. Laptop registration for the July 2016 bar exam opens at 10am EST 6/1/16, and closes at 4pm EST 7/6/16. For more information on using a laptop at the bar exam, connect to www.examsoft.com/ohbar.

There is information below on each portion of the bar exam, as well as in the Bar Exam Logistics page.

In addition to passing the bar exam, the Ohio Supreme Court requires that all bar applicants pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) before they can practice law.

Substance Abuse Education Seminar (Required for Applicants Taking the Ohio Bar Examination)

All applicants for the Ohio Bar Exam are required to take at least one hour of instruction on substance abuse, including causes, prevention, detection ,and treatment alternatives.

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law sponsers free Seminars for our Ohio bar exam takers. SubstanceAbuse Seminars are offered in the Fall and Spring - look for emails. The next C|M|Law Substantce Abuse Education Seminar will be September 21, 2016, 3pm-4pm, in the Moot Court Room. Attendees are asked to arrive early, with identification for check-in. Prior registration is required - Substance Abuse Education Seminar Registration Form

Essay Portion of the Ohio Bar Examination

Applicants for the Ohio Bar Examination must answer 12 essay questions. The essay questions are prepared by the Ohio Board of Bar Examiners. There will be one question on any topic, plus one question on each of these 11 general subject areas:

  • Contracts (Common Law and Sales of Goods)
  • Torts
  • Property (Real and Personal)
  • Criminal Law (including Criminal Procedure)
  • Constitutional Law (including First Amendment)
  • Evidence
  • Civil Procedure
  • Business Associations (Corporations, Agency or Partnership)
  • Commercial Law (Commercial Paper or Secured Transactions)
  • Wills
  • Ethics

Applicants are given 2 essay questions at a time. You have one hour to complete both questions, and are limited to 30 minutes per question. You must answer each essay question in 3,900 characters or less, if using a laptop computer, or one sheet of lined paper, front and back, if hand writing.

The Supreme Court of Ohio website includes sample Ohio Bar Exam essay questions. The Law Library also has copies of Ohio Bar Exam essay questions with published answers from 1992 to present - see KFO76 .Z9 O553.

Multiple Choice Portion of the Bar Examination

The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is the multiple choice part of the Ohio Bar exam. The MBE is a 6 hour, multiple choice, 200 question examination covering Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Evidence, and Real Property.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners website includes MBE Sample Test Questions and MBE Sample Civil Procedure Questions, both with an answer key. Note: These MBE Sample Test Questions "do not represent all the material covered."

Performance Test Portion of the Bar Examination

The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is a closed universe writing test. Applicants are given a problem that replicates an assignment that might be given to a first-year associate in a law firm or government agency. The MPT problem provides necessary law and facts in the forms that a lawyer might find them (e.g., cases, statutes, witness statements, newspaper articles, letters, and client interviews). You are required to use only the law provided in the problem. You must finish the problem in 90 minutes, and it can range from drafting a contract, to writing a brief, memorandum, or client letter.

Ohio bar applicants must complete 2 MPTs when they take the bar exam. The National Conference of Bar Examiners "Study Aids" web page includes MPTs and Point Sheets from past bar exams. The Supreme Court of Ohio website includes MPT Summaries and Selected Answers - they are included in the sample Ohio Bar Exam essay questions. Again, the C|M|Law Library also has copies of Ohio Bar Exam essay questions with published answers from 1992 to present - see KFO76 .Z9 O553.

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is a multiple choice examination that tests one's knowledge of the rules of professional conduct for lawyers and judges. It is a 125 minute, multiple choice, 60 question examination. The MPRE is based on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, and controlling constitutional decisions. It can be taken any time during law school, and even after you’ve taken the bar examination. Many people take the MPRE during the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law course Legal Profession - Law 643. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the MPRE requirement during law school.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners website includes MPRE Sample Test Questions, with answer key. Note: These MPRE Sample Test Questions "do not represent all the material covered."


BC 8/16; edit LER 6/16

Bar Exam

A bar applicant is denied a law license for completing her sentences

By Debra Cassens Weiss


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An Ohio bar applicant won’t be able to practice law just yet because of a complaint that she continued writing for up to 60 seconds after time was called on some bar exam essay questions.

In a Jan. 29 opinion (PDF), the Ohio Supreme Court denied a license to Jasmine Shawn Parker of Covington, Ky., but said she could reapply this year. The National Law Journal, the Legal Profession Blog and the Careerist have stories on the decision (PDF).

The Ohio Board of Bar Examiners had given Parker a zero on the exam question with the highest point value to penalize her for the alleged conduct. She passed the bar exam anyway, spurring the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness to recommend her license be denied, with the opportunity to reapply.

Parker’s problems began when a test taker complained that Parker had continued writing for up to 30 seconds on a set of two exam questions, and then for 45 to 60 seconds on two sets of two exam questions. The Board of Bar Examiners asked Parker’s tablemate about the allegations. He said he had observed Parker writing for maybe a second or two past deadline on the first exam day, and a little longer on an occasion on the second day, “long enough to get at least two lines of writing on paper.”

At first, Parker “adamantly denied” she had taken extra time on the questions and claimed her accusers were lying, the Ohio Supreme Court said. At the bar examiners hearing, she maintained on direct examination that she did not exceed time limits, but acknowledged on cross that it was a possibility. Before the Board of Commissioners on Character and Fitness, Parker said she had no memory of writing after time was called. Her initial response to the accusations, she said, was written in the heat of the moment and without mature reflection.

The supreme court said it would allow Parker to reapply in light of her “sincere remorse and her maturation as a result of this experience.” She is a 2011 graduate of Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law.

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