For the October 2020 bar exam, eligible applicants who are testing remotely, either at home or in another location, must use a laptop. You must complete the certification process outlined below. If you require special equipment due to a disability, you must request permission to use such equipment through the testing accommodations petition process. Review the bar exam FAQs.
Key Dates and Deadlines for Laptop Users
To prepare your laptop for exam day, you must:
Exam Day Information
In-Person Laptop Users
On September 1, look for an email from ExamSoft that will have your assigned ID and password. Visit www.examsoft.com/calbaronline from the laptop you will be using on exam day and review the minimum system requirements for your laptop. Follow the instructions to download the Examplify software and take two mock exams by the September 23 deadline.
For system requirements, refer to the bar exam FAQs or ExamSoft’s Home Page for the California Bar Examination.
You must re-download Examplify, even if it was previously installed for a law school or for a previous First-Year Law Students’ Exam or California Bar Exam. Completely uninstall any prior version of SofTest or Examplify before downloading and installing the newest version.
Note: ExamSoft recommends Firefox or Google Chrome, as Internet Explorer is not a supported browser.
Check ExamSoft confirmation emails to ensure that the institution displayed is “State Bar of California–California Bar Exam.” Please make sure to also check your spam/junk folder for emails.
If you have an email spam blocker, please add firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to your contact or safe list so that you can receive the emails that will be sent to you during the certification process and as confirmation during the examination answer file upload process.
To ensure the security of the exam process, you are required to use Examplify software to take the October 2020 California Bar Exam. The application provides a simple word processing program and is designed to be familiar to users of WordPerfect or Microsoft Word. It blocks access to non-Examplify files on your laptop computer during administration of the exam and can be used on virtually any modern laptop, i.e., purchased within the last three to four years.
It is not possible to take secure exams through virtual operating systems such as Microsoft’s Virtual Machine, Parallels, VMware, VMware Fusion or any other virtual environment.
External standard or ergonomic keyboards and equipment such as a mouse are allowed. These items may be wireless.
Certain antivirus applications may block Examplify from starting properly or can affect Examplify’s performance during an exam. Visit ExamSoft’s Knowledge Base to determine if your computer is running any of the programs listed and for instructions on how to disable your antivirus/antispyware applications before installing Examplify and how to re-enable them after installation is complete.
The mock exams confirm that your laptop is compatible with Examplify and enable you to familiarize yourself with procedures for opening, using, and uploading answer files prior to the day of the exam. By typing a paragraph in each window, you will ensure that there are no typing/keyboard issues with your laptop. You will receive detailed instructions on taking the mock exams by email.
Get instructional videos and guides on taking the mock examination.
The mock exam must be completed and the related exam answer file uploaded to complete the certification process. You must ensure that your laptop computer has been configured properly for use on the day of the examination and for the upload of your exam answer files. After you have uploaded the answer file for your mock exams, you will receive an email confirmation.
Additional copies of the mock exam are available if needed to help familiarize yourself 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. You can get instructions for downloading additional copies of the mock examination at ExamSoft's website.
Visit the ExamSoft Knowledge Base if you have questions on the use of the software or if you encounter technical problems, as most problems can be easily resolved through ExamSoft’s published support guides and troubleshooter. Should you continue to have technical problems, please contact ExamSoft Client Support at 866-429-8889 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Technical support is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Neither the Office of Admissions nor the Committee of Bar Examiners is available to answer technical, installation, or certification questions.
The State Bar’s Office of Admissions will determine your eligibility for the exam and email admittance tickets starting on September 14, 2020. Assignment to remote online or in-person does not establish your eligibility to take the exam. Only after all eligibility requirements are met will an admittance ticket be available for printing.
Confirm Your Laptop is Ready
This process has changed with the October 2020 bar exam. There is no formal certifying email, but after you complete the mock exams, you must complete the process of confirming that your laptop is ready for the exam by downloading the exam answer files between Monday, September 28 and Friday, October 2, 2020. If your laptop computer or the software is not working properly or if there is some other problem when the exam begins or at any time thereafter, no extra time will be provided in the event of a computer or software problem.
You should complete the process as soon as possible so that if you encounter problems, ExamSoft will have the opportunity to assist you prior to the exam. If your laptop computer or Examplify is not operational or not functioning properly when the exam begins or at any time thereafter, you will not be able to take the exam.
Confirmation: After successfully downloading all eight exam answer files, you will be advised via email by ExamSoft that you have done so. If you do not receive the confirmation emails, your laptop is not confirmed as ready for the bar exam. You may check your status and view your download/upload history by launching Examplify on your laptop and looking for the downloaded files. 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 a total of eight answer files for the October 2020 California Bar Exam.
DO NOT copy Examplify from one computer to another computer. For example, do not download the software to a desktop computer and try to manually move it to your laptop computer. If you move the software and exam files to another computer, an error message will be displayed when you attempt to begin the exam. If such an error message is displayed, you will be unable to use your computer to take the exam and you will be required to handwrite your answers. You may NOT download and install Examplify to more than one computer.
Once you have completed the laptop certification process, Do NOT make changes to the configuration of your laptop computer. Do NOT delete or uninstall Examplify or any Examplify program directory files or folders until results for the exam have been released. Do NOT have someone else download the software for you.
Laptop computer problems after completing all the ExamSoft steps. If, after completing all the required steps with ExamSoft, you experience problems with your laptop computer that prohibit you from using it for the exam, i.e., it becomes inoperable, you may submit a request to have another computer certified and to download additional exam files through the “Re-download Examplify” link after you log in with your Applicant ID and password. Authorization will not be granted for the purpose of having a backup computer available in the event a computer malfunctions during the exam.
Exam Day Information
It is your responsibility to be familiar with the Examplify software, your laptop computer, and the instructions provided by ExamSoft and the Committee of Bar Examiners prior to the start of the exam. It is your responsibility to timely upload your answer files after the exam.
On each day of the exam, you must be ready to begin no later than 8:20 a.m. The exam will begin immediately after the instructions, using this schedule and the policies listed in the admittance bulletin. Applicants should plan to log in at least 20 minutes early.
If your laptop computer is not ready to begin at the designated time, for whatever reason, you will not be able to able to take the exam. No extra time will be provided to ensure that a laptop computer is ready for use before the exam session begins.
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, and you are not able to resume the exam session, you forfeit the exam session(s). You are not permitted to have additional laptop computers or other devices to use as backups.
You are not required to have Internet connectivity during the exam. You will only need Internet for the log-on period, (i.e., when you access the external website for the exam session password, and when you log back into the system to verify your identification and start the next session). Your internet will be blocked off once you are logged into an exam session.
You must have access to Internet connectivity immediately following the exam in order to meet the upload deadline.
Instructions: Pay careful attention to and follow the instructions provided at the beginning of the exam. Use great care when highlighting and deleting text during the exam, as well as using other functions that may significantly change a document. No extra time or other administrative relief will be granted in the event that an exam file is deleted or otherwise altered, or if you experience any other word processing problems.
Following the exam, you have until 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Time), Wednesday, October 7, 2020, to upload your exam answer files and video files. If you fail to upload your answer files and video files by the published deadline, a deduction of ten scaled points will be taken from your total written scaled score. If you fail to upload your answer files and video files within two weeks of the published deadline, you will be given a grade of zero for each answer not uploaded timely.
To ensure there is sufficient time to resolve any issues that may arise, you are encouraged to upload the exam answer files, containing your answers to Monday’s sessions (Essay questions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5), and Tuesday’s sessions MBE and Performance Test) as soon as possible following the conclusion of the exam session on Tuesday. You should not wait until Wednesday to attempt the upload process, in the event that a malfunction of your computer or the software occurs that could prevent the timely and successful upload of your files.
If there is a problem with the uploading of your answers, you will be notified. You may be required to contact ExamSoft for assistance in retrieving the file remotely or be asked to physically provide your laptop computer 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 computer’s hard drive.
Rented laptop computers: If you have rented a laptop computer to use during the exam, you should not return it to the rental company until results for the October 2020 California Bar Exam have been released.
Any attempt to disable or tamper with Examplify’s security features is prohibited. Any violations will be reported to the Committee for whatever action it may deem appropriate, which could include nullification of an exam or consideration during the moral character determination process and possible disqualification for admission to practice law in California.
In-Person Laptop Users
For in-person laptop users, you will not be allowed to remove your laptop computer from the test center until the session has concluded. The MBE portion of the exam also is available electronically. Bring your laptop computer to the MBE sessions of the exam, which for the standard exam schedule will be on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.