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 July 28. 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 pushing the exam back 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, Aug. 4 at 8:25 a.m. 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 not 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 and 12 and has changed to an open-book format.

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