Will there be an investigation into the technical glitches in the last bar exam?

You may have heard about the reports of technical issues that many bar exam takers faced this past July. Now California State Bar Officials have announced they will open an investigation into complaints about the problems that occurred during the remote bar exam, with other state bars likely to follow.

Applicants around the country reported trouble, with the testing software freezing, screens going blank, with conflicting information provided by the testing software vendor, ExamSoft.

Audrey Ching, the assistant director of admissions for the California State Bar, last week told the Committee of Bar Examiners that the agency is urging California applicants to detail any technical issues they had with the test through a special portal on the bar’s website.

Ms. Ching said the bar has not compiled the incoming figures yet but hopes to have a more “robust” report when the committee meets next in October.

ExamSoft officials have stated they believe the problems affected about 1% of test-takers nationwide.

Many bar exam-takers are skeptical of the 1% figure, as everyone seems to know people who had technical issues, even if they personally were not affected.

ExamSoft has apologized to applicants who experienced problems, blaming “memory management issues” between ExamMonitor, which records test-takers, and “the main software renderer.”

“We again apologize to those exam-takers who were impacted in any way by technical issues,” the statement said. “We know you expect better performance from us, and we demand better performance from ourselves.”

Of course, the big question is what will be done about these issues. Despite the outcry from exam takers, bar officials have shown no inclination yet that they plan to stop contracting with ExamSoft, and they do not have much choice, given the limited number of vendors who are capable of administering a remote exam on such a large scale.

However, plaintiffs firm Sauder Schelkopf has said it is now considering filing a possible class action on behalf of applicants who used ExamSoft to take the July 2021 Bar Exam.

You can read more about this issue here.

While the plan is for the next bar exam to be given in-person, we do not know for certain if that will be the case. If you are planning on taking the bar exam in February 2022, contact us at [email protected] to find out about our Early Start Study Program that lets our students begin studying for the next exam as soon as they are ready.