Faulty bar exam software tossed in favor of emails, open books

The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday again revamping the July 2020 bar exam, opting to send test questions by email and allowing applicants to refer to notes and course materials during the test. The test is still scheduled to be administered remotely Tuesday under the new format.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court had changed the bar exam to a one-day test that would be given remotely Tuesday. However, technical complications with the testing software from ILG Technologies forced the exam to be delayed to Aug. 4.

The court stated in its latest order issued Wednesday the software problems are continuing and will not be fixed by the Tuesday test date. Rather than doing a “disservice to the applicants” by delaying the test once more, the court is changing how the exam will be administered and completed.

Under the new format, the bar exam will be open-book with no live monitoring or proctoring. Also, applicants will receive the exam questions and submit their responses by email. The short-answer questions will be emailed Tuesday by 8:25 a.m. Aug. 4, and responses must be submitted by 11:30 a.m. Essay questions will be sent at 12:40 p.m. and answers must be returned by 4:45 p.m. The order says the Indiana Board of Law Examiners will provide applicants with instructions on receiving questions and submitting responses no later than Friday.

Applicants have been contending with malfunctions in the software and last week unsuccessfully petitioned the court to implement an open-book format. The court order stated that while applicants may refer to outside materials while taking the exam, they are prohibited from seeking or accepting assistance from any other individual. Applicants violating that prohibition will not be permitted to sit for the Indiana Bar Exam for five years and could be subject to other sanctions.

Applicants are still being required to satisfy the character and fitness requirements and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, which is administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Indiana is not the only state experiencing problems with the testing software. Nevada, for instance, also postponed its remote bar exam until August 11-12 and has changed to an open-book format.

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3 thoughts on “Faulty bar exam software tossed in favor of emails, open books

  1. I tend to agree with the open book/notes concept. While I agree, on the surface, it would appear to be too easy. However, how many times in your career, were you expected to have memorized volumes of information, whether it be legal, accounting etc.. that changes frequently. Rather, one would have to a very good idea of the concept and KNOW where to look for concrete proof, references etc.

    1. Also to add….one would have to successfully PASS law school with some level of competency(I presume no easy feat) in order to sit for the exam. Could I afford to pay to take the Bar Exam WITHOUT having gone to law school…most certainly….would I pass without having gone or even a general knowledge of where to look for answers….absolutely not. This is why they say Lawyers and Doctors practice law or medicine.

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