The February 2023 Bar Exam will be administered in person and can be taken on a laptop. Desktop computers are not allowed. It’s important to read and follow the State Bar’s instructions.
Laptops must meet the specifications outlined below. Applicants requiring special equipment due to medical reasons must request a testing accommodation.
Here are the steps to prepare your laptop before the exam:
The maximum size allowed for a laptop computer screen is 17.3 inches. The specific system requirements can be found on ExamSoft’s website.
Note: Desktop computers are not allowed for security reasons. Exam software provider ExamSoft currently does not support tablets with detachable keyboards, such as iPads. For optimal computer performance, the State Bar recommends using a laptop that exceeds the minimum requirements for memory and hard drive space.
Immediately following the exam, you will need Internet access to upload your answer files.
To ensure the security of the exam process, applicants are required to use Examplify software to take the February 2023 Bar Exam. The application provides a simple word processing program and is designed to be familiar to users of Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. It blocks access to non-Examplify files on an applicant’s laptop computer during the exam.
Starting on January 24, after you have received your admittance ticket and registration information from ExamSoft, you can register with ExamSoft and download and install Examplify onto the laptop computer you will be using for the exam.
Do not copy the ExamSoft program from one computer to another. For example, do not download the software to a desktop computer and try to manually move it to your laptop. If you move the software and exam files to another computer, an error message displays when you attempt to begin the exam. If this error message appears, you will be unable to use your laptop to take the exam, and you will be required to handwrite your answers. You may NOT download and install Examplify to more than one laptop computer.
TIP: If you have an email spam blocker, please add email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com to your contacts or safe list so that you can receive critical emails from ExamSoft before, during, and after the exam. For further help to ensure you receive critical emails, please see this webpage.
The mock exam process is required. Taking the one mandatory/required mock exam confirms that your laptop computer is compatible with Examplify and provides you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with procedures for opening, using, and uploading answer files prior to exam day. Typing a paragraph in each window also enables you to ensure that there are no typing/keyboard issues with your laptop.
See the instructional videos and guides on taking the mock exam.
After you have downloaded and completed the mandatory mock exam and uploaded the related exam answer files, the files for the actual exam will download automatically. Exam files will not contain exam questions; those are handed out in paper booklets on exam day.
Five additional copies of the mock exam are available if needed to help you become familiar with the Examplify application. Internet connectivity is required for downloading additional copies of the exam file and uploading exam answer files. NO internet connectivity is required while taking the mock exam. Download additional copies of the mock exam at Examplify's website.
If you do not receive the confirmation emails, you have not successfully completed the registration process for the February 2023 Bar Exam. You may check your registration status and view your download/upload history online. Log in using the Exam Takers box, click the Exam History button to review your record, and confirm that you have downloaded the exam and mock exam files and have uploaded the mock exam answer files. You should have two exam files for the essay questions and Performance Test sessions of the February 2023 Bar Exam.
No extra time will be provided to ensure that your laptop is ready for use before the exam session begins. A second laptop to serve as backup is not permitted.
You must complete the registration process no later than February 17, 2023. It is recommended, however, that you complete the process as soon as possible after you receive your admittance ticket so that ExamSoft will have the opportunity to assist you in resolving any problems you may encounter prior to the exam. If your laptop or Examplify is not operational when the exam begins or at any time thereafter, you will have to handwrite your exam answers.
Laptop computer problems after registration
If after completing the registration process with ExamSoft you experience problems with your laptop that would prohibit you from using it for the exam, (i.e., it becomes inoperable), you may ask to have another laptop registered and to download additional exam files through the “Re-Download Examplify” link after you log in with your NCBE Number and password. Read more about the re-download process from ExamSoft. Authorization will not be granted for the purpose of having a backup laptop.
Review ExamSoft's Bar Applicant FAQ or visit the ExamSoft Support Page if you have questions on the use of the software or if you encounter technical problems during the laptop registration process, as most problems can be easily resolved through ExamSoft’s published support guides and troubleshooting tips. Should you continue to have technical problems, however, please call ExamSoft Client Support at 1-888-816-3065. Technical support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Neither the Office of Admissions nor the Committee of Bar Examiners is available to answer technical, installation, or registration questions.
You must read the instructions that will accompany your Admittance Ticket advising you of the items allowed in the room in which you are taking the exam. All items not listed are prohibited unless you have received written authorization in advance.
It is expected that you will demonstrate integrity, honor, and ethical behavior during this exam, and all exams administered by the State Bar of California. If you do not take the time to familiarize yourself with your laptop or with the exam software’s word processing functions, you should consider handwriting your exam answers.
You must pay careful attention to and follow all instructions provided prior to the exam. Use great care when highlighting and deleting during the exam and when using other functions that may significantly change a document. No extra time or other administrative relief will be granted if an exam file is deleted or otherwise altered, or if you experience any other word processing problems.
You must bring your own power cord to the test center each day of the exam. Your power cord can be plugged into the electrical outlets provided at the test centers. Although an electrical outlet will be available to you, be sure to have a fully charged battery in case there is an electrical problem. You will not be allowed to tape power cords into the electrical outlet, nor will you be allowed to plug any item aside from your computer into the electrical outlet. CDs, DVDs, USBs and other information storage media are prohibited in the examination room. If such items are found in the exam room or in an applicant’s laptop computer, they will be confiscated and will not be returned. Possession of unauthorized items may also subject the applicant to a sanction for violation of exam rules.
On the day of the exam, you must be seated at the test center no later than 8:20 a.m., at which time instructions for getting your laptop computer ready to use will begin. You should plan to arrive at the test center at least 15 minutes prior to that time so that you can find your seat and get comfortable. General instructions regarding the administration of the exam will commence promptly at 8:30 a.m. Exam questions will be distributed in hard copy just before the beginning of each session.
If your laptop computer is not ready to begin at the designated time, for whatever reason, you must begin the exam by handwriting. NO extra time will be provided to ensure that a laptop computer is ready for use before the exam session begins. Technical assistance will not be available.
In the event of a software or hardware malfunction or other problem, or if a power failure or interruption occurs, before or during administration of the exam, you will be required to handwrite your answers to the exam.
You are not permitted to bring additional laptop computers, typewriters, word processors, or other devices into the standard laptop test centers to use as backups.
Uploading answer files
The exam file contains your answers to the five essay questions and the performance test question. Upload the exam files as soon as possible after the exam and no later than the deadline: February 23, 2023, at 12:00 p.m.
Verify the successful upload of your answer files by launching Examplify to see that you have uploaded all your answer files. Read more from ExamSoft.
Do NOT delete or uninstall Examplify or any Examplify Program Directory Files or Folders until results for the exam have been released.
As a courtesy, emails will be sent indicating if your answer files have not uploaded, however, it is your responsibility to ensure that your files are uploaded by the deadline. If there is a problem with the uploading of your answers, you may be required to contact ExamSoft for assistance in retrieving the file remotely or to physically provide your laptop to ExamSoft or to the Office of Admissions so that efforts can be made to retrieve the encrypted backup copy of the exam answer(s) from your laptop’s hard drive.
Rented laptop computers
If you rented a laptop to use during the exam, you should not return it to the rental company until results for the February 2023 Bar Exam have been released.
Any attempt to disable or tamper with Examplify’s security features is prohibited. If it is discovered that tampering has been attempted, this information will be reported to the Committee of Bar Examiners for whatever action it may deem appropriate, which could include disqualification for admission to practice law in California.