ExamSoft Responds To Claims It Ruined The Last Bar Exam

Senior executives for ExamSoft, whose software resulted in widespread technical problems on the July 2021 Bar Exam, have now told California Bar leaders that they have fixed the glitches that affected thousands of test-takers during the last bar exam.

Company officials also said they “significantly increased their staff” to address complaints that some applicants waited hours to reach ExamSoft representatives for technical help.

“What we do is really very difficult, and I’m not making excuses,” ExamSoft CEO Sebastian Vos told the Committee of Bar Examiners. “We understand the anger. We understand the pressure that the exam-takers are under.”

“It’s very hard for us to say that it’s going to be perfect every time,” Vos said. “We don’t control the environment in the student’s machine. So the only thing we can do to make it perfectly perfect is to force them into a test center or something like that, which is not going to be a good experience for the exam-taker. It’s actually going to be worse.”

“People were angry,” said Committee of Bar Examiners member Alex Chan. “I can really understand that. That anger continues from the last three administrations. And someone has to do something about these problems.”

ExamSoft officials have now determined that the problems were started by the software’s “high memory utilization,” which caused some users’ computers to stall. The company has fixed that problem, Vos said, and is now working on an updated version. ExamSoft has also changed its quality-assurance process “to catch these things sooner and not after the event.”

Some members asked whether the State Bar should require applicants to use computers with higher memory capability to prevent this from happening again, but Vos said that would raise issues for applicants who could not afford the more expensive machines.

The State Bar has not announced yet whether it will adjust the scoring on the July 2021 Bar Exam because of the glitches. This is a decision that is now affecting many states that are currently still considering what to do with exam takers who reported being affected by these problems.

Of course, in terms of the remote bar exam being “fixed” now, this only matters if there is another remote exam this coming February. The California Supreme Court, and most states, have not yet officially announced whether the February 2022 Bar Exam will be held in person or online, although preparations are apparently being made in the event that the exam can be held in-person once again.

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