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Test Takers Report Technical Issues With Remote Bar Exam

Law grads who took the remote bar exam last week reported a number of technical failures and overall frustration with the experience, Law.com reports.

“I am not an emotional person at all, but ExamSoft’s software going black and turning off the camera during the bar exam a short while ago had me in tears,” Brooklyn Law School graduate MacKenzie Olson said in Twitter post.

“Computer froze in the middle of bar exam essay question today,” Stanford Law JD Nicholas Wallace said on Twitter. “Thankfully the exam started working after I restarted my computer, but it was fun to look death in the eye for a few minutes.”

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), the organization that designed the bar exam, acknowledged the issues and said it was working with ExamSoft, the software vendor, to solve the problem.

“We are aware of the technical issues some examinees faced during today’s administration,” the NCBE announced. “While (the National Conference) does not administer the exam, we are communicating with ExamSoft to seek solutions for those affected.”

In an email to the ABA Journal, ExamSoft officials said the remote exam problems “seem to be related to memory issues on some devices.”


Last week’s bar exam may be the last remote bar exam for many states. In June, the NCBE announced that bar exam materials for the February 2022 exam would be paper-based and designed for in-person test taking.

“(W)e anticipate that the July 2021 exam will be the last one with a remote administration option,” Beth Hill, the group’s director of test development, operations, and security, tells Bloomberg. “Of course, we all know how quickly things can change in the era of COVID-19; but regardless of what the future may hold, we remain committed to supporting the jurisdictions and working with them to ensure that their candidates have the opportunity to take a bar exam.”

Sources: Law.com, ABA Journal, Bloomberg

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