The First-Year Law Students’ Exam will be remotely proctored, and you must take the exam on a laptop computer with a functional internal webcam and microphone. Desktop computers are not allowed for security reasons. It’s important to read and follow the State Bar’s instructions.
Laptop computers must meet the specifications outlined below. Applicants requiring special equipment due to medical reasons must request permission to use such equipment through the testing accommodations petition process. There will also be very limited space available for applicants who certify that they have extenuating circumstances.
Here are the steps to prepare your laptop before the exam:
Exam day information
Note: Desktop computers are not allowed for security reasons. Exam software provider ExamSoft currently does not support iPads. Microsoft Surface devices, including Surface Laptops, Surface Pro, and Surface Books, are permitted, but only ones with nondetachable keyboards.
You are not required to have Internet connectivity during the exam but must have access to Internet connectivity at the start of each exam session to access the passwords and for ID verification. As soon as you enter an exam session, the Internet is then blocked.
Immediately following the exam, you will need Internet access to upload your answer files and remote proctoring files.
To ensure the security of the exam process, applicants are required to use Examplify software to take the October 2021 First-Year Law Students’ 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 an applicant’s laptop computer during the exam.
Starting on September 28, after you have received your admittance ticket, you will receive instructions to register with ExamSoft and download and install Examplify onto the laptop computer you will be using for the exam.
If you have previously used SofTest or Examplify for law school or another exam, you must completely uninstall any prior version before downloading and installing the version of Examplify used for the First-Year Law Students’ Exam.
Do not copy the ExamSoft software from one laptop 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 laptop 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 laptop computer.
TIP: 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 critical emails from ExamSoft before, during, and after the exam.
The mock exam process is required. Taking the 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 the day of the exam. By typing a paragraph in each window, also allows you to ensure that there are no typing/keyboard issues with your laptop computer.
See the instructional videos and guides on taking the mock exam.
Check your audio: A new feature in ExamSoft enables you to verify that your audio is being captured. Please check this during your mock exam and again on exam day:
The mock exam must be completed and the related exam answer file uploaded to ensure that your laptop computer has been configured properly for use on the day of the exam and for the upload of your exam answer file.
You will receive an email confirmation after you have uploaded the answer file for your mock exam. Until you receive this email confirmation, you are NOT registered.
Additional copies of the mock exam are available if needed to help familiarize you 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.
After successfully completing the registration process, you will be advised on-screen and via email by ExamSoft that you have done so and that the six exam files have been downloaded. Once you have completed the laptop registration process, do not make changes to the configuration of your laptop.
If you do not receive the confirmation emails, you have not successfully completed the registration process for the October 2021 First-Year Law Students’ Exam. You may launch Examplify to ensure that you have all six exam files downloaded. 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 file. You should have six exam files for the essay questions and multiple-choice sessions of the October 2021 First-Year Law Students’ Exam.
NO extra time will be provided to ensure that a laptop computer is ready for use before the exam session begins. Laptop computers to serve as backup are not permitted.
You must finish downloading the exam files no later than October 25. It is recommended, however, that you complete the process as soon as possible after receiving 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 computer 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 computer that would prohibit you from using it for the exam, i.e., it becomes inoperable, you may ask to have another laptop 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 laptop computer available in the event a laptop computer malfunctions during the exam.
Visit the ExamSoft Knowledge Base if you have questions on the use of the software or if you encounter technical problems during installation, the mock exam, or while completing your laptop registration process. Most problems can easily be resolved through ExamSoft’s published support guides and troubleshooter. Should you continue to have technical problems, please call ExamSoft Client Support at 1-866-429-8889. 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 questions related to the software, your system, or installation. Please refer to ExamSoft technical support.
You must read the instructions that accompany your admittance ticket advising you of the items allowed in the room in which you are taking the exam. All other items not listed on the permitted items list are prohibited unless you have received written authorization in advance.
It is expected that all applicants will demonstrate integrity, honor, and ethical behavior during this exam, and all exams administered by the State Bar of California. This remote-proctored exam will be continuously monitored by artificial intelligence and human proctors and any and all anomalies or suspicious behavior will be flagged accordingly. Flagged video files will be reviewed by the State Bar and conduct violations will result in strict sanctions. Sanctions may include but are not necessarily limited to: a zero for the flagged exam session, a zero for the entire exam, and a negative impact on the applicant’s moral character determination.
Applicants who do not take the time to become familiar with their laptop computers or with the word processing functions should consider handwriting their exam answers. Pay careful attention to and follow all instructions provided prior to the exam. Use great care when highlighting and deleting 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.
On the day of the exam, applicants must log into the exam between the time the password for the first exam session is released at 7:40 a.m. and the latest start time of 8:00 a.m. to verify their identification. In the morning, the exam will be administered in four, one-hour sessions (one hour per essay question.)
You will have a 25-minute break between sessions. The password for each session will be available to applicants 20 minutes prior to the login period for the exam session.
Other than scheduled breaks, applicants are not permitted to leave the view of their web camera unless they finish the session early and upload their answers.
In the afternoon, multiple-choice questions will be split into two 90-minute sessions, each containing 50 questions. There will be a 25-minute break in between the sessions. Other than the scheduled breaks, applicants are not permitted to leave the view of their web camera unless they finish early and upload their answers.
If you are unable to verify your identification and begin the session after the latest start time, you will not be allowed to enter the session. Once you begin the exam session, you may not leave the session for any reason.
Latest start time
Essay 1 (60 mins)
Essay 2 (60 mins)
Essay 3 (60 mins)
Essay 4 (60 mins)
MCQ Part 1 (90 mins)
MCQ Part 2 (90 mins)
As soon as the password is released, you may begin a session. You will be asked to verify your ID with a photo before you enter the exam session.
You will not be allowed any physical scratch paper during the exam. You can use the "notes" in the Tool Kit as your virtual scratch paper.
Information on uploading your responses, taking your Mock Exam, ExamSoft, and the Examplify application can be found here.
Uploading answer and proctoring files
The exam answer file contains your answers to the four essay questions and the two multiple-choice sessions. Upload the answer files and remote proctoring files as soon as possible after the exam and no later than the deadline: October 27 at 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Time).
Verify the successful upload of your answer files by launching Examplify and seeing that you have uploaded all your answer files.
Do NOT delete or uninstall Examplify or any Examplify Program Directory Files or Folders until results for the exam have been released.
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 2021 First-Year Law Students’ 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.