All About the Ohio Bar Exam

For the good of the blogosphere and all you wonderful readers, I am going to fully relive and recount my Ohio Bar Exam experience in a blog post for posterity. It's been quite a while since I completed the bar exam and not going to lie, it seems like a distant memory already- THANK GOD.

I am sorry it took so long to get this up. I honestly just didn't want to think about it so I didn't. I have finally went back through the whole experience and got this done though. So enjoy reliving my bar exam experience.

Applying to Take the OH Bar Exam 
Applying for the Ohio bar was a nightmare. It started during the Fall of my 2L year. I had to turn in my full application which took forever (i.e. every address you have ever lived at, character references that have known you for 5+ years and aren't family by marriage or blood...). Once all that was turned in, you wait forever to hear if everything checked out. Then you do a character interview with members of your local bar association. Then you turn in another heap of paperwork in the middle of 3L year. Then you wait some more. I did not get verification that I was approved to sit for the OH bar exam until about 2 weeks before the exam. It was nerve wracking to say the least. The whole process was just a gigantic pain in the butt if I am being 100% honest but thankfully it went as smoothly as it could and eventually ended.

What I Packed
For the bar exam, I was packed almost a month in advance... yes I am a little psycho. However, I had a reason: I did not want to be worrying about laundry in the week leading up to the exam and then I could spend time relaxing before the exam instead of packing. I packed comfy clothes I could layer. Leggings, t-shirts, sweaters, sneakers... you get the idea. I also packed full makeup and hair tools- I wanted to at least look like a human while taking the test so that I didn't feel like it was getting the best of me before it even began.

I packed all of my study materials and took them with me... I probably didn't need them but I felt better knowing they were there.

I also packed and took all of my own food. I was not taking any chances of food poisoning or waiting in long lines. I also took melatonin to help me sleep and blue light blocking glasses for testing along with lots of Advil to ward off headaches.

Where I Stayed 
I stayed in an adorable Airbnb with a friend. We each had our own room and bathroom as well as a shared kitchen, living room and balcony. It was perfect because we could lean on each other when we needed to and also have plenty of our own space. Having a kitchen was amazing because we could cook our dinners and pack our lunches super easily. We also watched a movie in the living room each night to relax and unwind. Our Airbnb was gorgeous and so perfect. I would highly suggest looking at Airbnb options in addition to hotels. I know our Airbnb was almost 1/4 of the cost of the hotels some of my friends booked and we had so much room and extra amenities. It was also only a 5-minute drive to the center where the exam was held.

Check out Airbnb here and get $40 off your first stay:

What I Ate
Because I am OCD and a little crazy, I packed all my own food for the bar exam. I did some grocery shopping before I left and ate in the rented apartment. I had bagels for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and mac & cheese for dinner. I did not want the stress of trying to go out to dinner and wait in lines, I did not want to risk food poisoning and it just seemed easier to do it this way. I have no complaints about it and it worked great for me.

The Night Before
I drove down to Columbus with a friend. We blasted T-Swift all the way there and sang our hearts out. After arriving and checking in, we had a simple dinner (Mac & Cheese), watched Legally Blonde and then did a light review of the essay subjects. I packed my lunch, laid out my clothes for the morning, packed my bag and hoped for the best. I went to bed early and prayed for a good nights sleep.

Day One

The first day of the bar exam in Ohio is two MPT's and 6 essays. I woke up super early because of my nerves and had a breakfast of coffee and a bagel while jamming out to Queen. Thankfully, our drive to the testing center was only 5 minutes. We parked in a parking garage close to the center and made our way inside with computers, clear water bottles, and some pens. I was nervous but also I was just ready to get to it. My adrenaline was already pumping and I just wanted to start reciting law to anyone who would listen. We were pretty early to arrive because I was so terrified of being late.

The exam was held in a big conference center. The testing room was slightly intimidating... It was just a room with nothing but rows and rows of tables and giant clocks. We dropped our computer bags and then waited in what felt like the worlds longest line to be checked in. After check-in, I found my table. In Ohio, they sat us at tables of two examinees. I was praying the whole time that my table partner would not have any weird habits. He ended up being the nicest guy- he had already taken and passed the bar in Indiana and was taking Ohio as a secondary license. So he was super calm and did not seem anxious since he had done this before. We hit it off and had nice chats in between testing which I think helped take my mind of what was happening and helped me stay calmer.

I got my computer all set up- thankfully without issue- and then hurried up and waited. I used the restroom as close to the start of the test as possible (I have the worlds smallest bladder). We began with MPT's which was nice because it required no law memorization and was simply using my skills as an (almost) lawyer. Once testing began, I surprised myself by how I settled down to work. I put in my earplugs and just got to it. I typed almost non-stop for 3 hours and felt pretty darn proud of my MPT's. By lunchtime, I was feeling a bit more confident and happy to be 1/5 of the way done.

For lunch, my friend and I decided to eat in the car. As weird as that sounds, we had good reasons. One, we got to check our phones which were stored in the glove box. Two, we avoided any exam talk and the possibility of others stressing us out. Three, it got us out into fresh air. Four, we could get a mid-day Taylor Swift pick-me-up. We had simple lunches of sandwiches and chips and took an Advil to ward off any possible headaches.

After lunch, we were back in the exam room for 6 of our 12 total essays over Ohio state-specific law. I got my computer back ready to go and waited for the start. My adrenaline was pumping again. Once my earplugs were in, I went to town. I chose to look over each of the 6 essays and identify the tested subject before answering anything. Thankfully, they were mostly subjects I felt good about. I started with my stronger subjects. The 3 hours flew by and I was happy with my performance. I answered every question completely and knew what they were testing and they the law I gave them was correct. Overall, I walked away from day one feeling decently confident and knowing, if nothing else, I had given it my all.

We drove back to the Airbnb after avoiding conversation with everyone; I didn't want to let others stress me out. We had another simple dinner (frozen pizza) and watched Love Actually. We did not review at all because the MBE was the next day and reviewing wasn't feasible for that much info. It was another early bedtime and prayed for good sleep.

Day Two

Day two was the dreaded MBE. I woke up early again, dressed in my comfy clothes and had coffee and a bagel while jamming to the Stones (and I wore my Stones shirt for good luck). We drove to the testing center. Everything was much faster on day two. We had wristbands that got us into the testing center and all I had to take with me was car keys and a water bottle.

The morning portion of the MBE was not fun but I got through it. We repeated our car lunch from day one. The second half of the MBE was absolutely brutal. I was so beyond exhausted by the end and felt utterly defeated. We made it back to the Airbnb and I just laid down and didn't move for like 30 minutes. I finally worked myself out of the funk and had a simple dinner of a peanut butter sandwich. We watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (it was his birthday after all) before doing a light review of the essay subjects still being tested on day 3. Then it was early to bed before the last day of testing.

Day Three
Another early morning and feeling so ready to be DONE. I had my coffee and bagel and then headed off for my last 6 essays. Check in was again a breeze and I chatted with my table partner until the testing began. I felt really good about the last 6 essays and when it was finally over, I didn't even know what to do with all my feelings. I was SO happy to be done and also had so much adrenaline pumping. I was also pissed that I didn't get tested over one of the subjects I struggled so hard to learn.

We jumped back in the car, got Panera and headed for home. I survived the Ohio Bar Exam.

My Final Thoughts
Overall, I thought prepping for the exam was much worse than taking it. By the time I got to the exam room, I was ready to get it done and move on. I had a pretty relaxed and easy exam experience. I didn't have a weird table partner, my friend and I co-existed really well and I stayed healthy the whole time. Overall, it could have been SO much worse.

Now I am just waiting. Results come out October 25th and I am just keeping my fingers crossed until I hear the news, good or bad.

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