About the Ohio Bar Exam

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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 and the written portions; the essays and the MPT count for 2/3 of the score.

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

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

 

Essay Portion of the Ohio Bar Examination

Applicants for the Ohio Bar Examination must answer twelve (12) essay questions. The questions are prepared by the Ohio Board of Bar Examiners.  Applicants are given two questions at a time and have one hour to complete them both. There will be one question on each of these eleven general subject areas, plus one question on any topic:

  • 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 limited to thirty (30) minutes per question.  Applicants must answer each essay question in 3900 characters or less if they use a laptop computer or one sheet of lined paper, front and back, if they are hand writing.  Sample Ohio Bar Exam essay questions are available on line.  The C|M|Law Library also has copies of 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 six hour, two hundred question multiple choice examination covering Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Real Property.  While Civil Procedure is not specifically tested on the MBE, understanding of general principles of motion practice is important.

Sample MBE questions with detailed answers and explanations can be found on the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) website.  The MBE Online Practice Exams (OPE) 1 and 2 reflect the present structure of the MBE and cost $26 each.  Older archived questions are available through the NCBE website and the C|M|Law Library, KF303 .N25.  The NCBE does not provide explanations for the answers, and has advised applicants not to rely on these older published questions.

 

Performance Test Portion of the Bar Examination

The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is a closed universe writing test.  The applicant is given a problem that replicates an assignment that might be given to a first year associate in a law firm or government agency.  The assignment must be finished in 90 minutes and can range from drafting a contract, to writing a brief, memorandum, or client letter.  The MPT provides the applicant with the 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.  The applicant is required to use only the law provided in the problem.

Ohio bar applicants must complete two MPTs when they take the bar exam.  MPT problems from past bar exams, along with point sheets created by the authors of the MPT, are available from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.  Published Ohio answers to the MPT are available via the Ohio Supreme Court's website.  They are included in the Sample Ohio Bar Exam essay questions.  They are also available through the C|M|Law Library.  See KFO76 .Z9 O553. 

 

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

The MPRE is a multiple choice examination that tests your knowledge of the rules of professional conduct for lawyers and judges.  It is a sixty question, two hour and five minute, multiple choice examination.  The MPRE is based on the ABA Model Code 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.  Most people take the MPRE after taking the law school course Legal Profession - Law 643.

A sample MPRE 60 question test with detailed answers and explanations can be found at the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) website.  There are numerous commercial  MPRE courses that range in price from free to $250.00.

 

SA  10/13

 

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