Bar Exam Again Hit By Technical Problems

The worst nightmare of some bar exam takers became a reality last week, as technical glitches plagued the July remote bar exams, making this the third time in a row problems of this sort have occurred.

“Unfortunately, some applicants did experience technical difficulties and needed to restart their computer to resume testing,” said ExamSoft spokeswoman Nici Sandberg. “While we’re still investigating, these seem to be related to memory issues on some devices.”

Reports from last week’s exam sound similar to those from exams last February and October, also held remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous issues reported were rejected file attachments, the deletion of online essay notes and being booted off the test completely because of facial recognition technology failures. This time around, test takers reported being shut out of the exam, having their computers suddenly crash, and facing blank screens.

Exam taker Sevana Tavoosian tweeted Wednesday that 30 minutes into her third exam essay, her screen froze, and then her computer crashed. “I messed up my whole exam,” Tavoosian tweeted. “Anxiety level was devastating.”

Harvard Law School J.D. candidate Beth Feldstein, in the middle of her Washington, D.C. bar exam on Tuesday, tweeted to ExamSoft about its software program Examplify to ask for help.

The company replied to Feldstein five minutes later, saying, “Please go on to your next session, but please DM for more information.”

Feldstein later tweeted her thanks to the D.C. Bar for their help in re-downloading and completing that portion of the exam.

No representative of any group involved with the exams’ administration said they knew the actual number of affected test takers.

ExamSoft is working with jurisdictions to accommodate those who experienced “verified issues” to make sure all applicants are able to complete every session, Sandberg said.

An NCBE spokeswoman said that ExamSoft notified her group that some remote bar examinees experienced technical problems, causing them to have to restart their computers during the exam.

“Jurisdictions have been reaching out to arrange solutions,” the spokeswoman, Valerie Hickman, said. “NCBE shares examinees’ frustration with this situation and supports the jurisdictions in seeking to ensure a fair and equitable resolution.”

This might be the last time this is an issue, as exams likely will now be held in-person again going forward, unless individual states decide they need to hold them remotely again because of continuing pandemic fears.

You can read more about the issues with the most recent bar exam here.

And if you are considering sitting for the February 2022 bar exam, contact us at [email protected], as we have an Early Start Study Program that enables exam takers to begin studying for the next exam as soon as they would like. This is especially helpful for those exam takers who have to work part or full time, as it allows them to have a manageable schedule by getting an earlier start on their studying for the exam.