The Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) are pleased to announce that applicants sitting for the bar examination will have the opportunity to word process the essay portion of the bar exam on their own laptop computers.  The BBE has contracted with ExamSoft Worldwide, Inc. (ExamSoft) to use its security software product, SofTest, for the essay portion of the bar examination.

In choosing this option you will be permitted to use your personal laptop computer, pre-loaded with SofTest, to type answers to the essay portion of the bar examination.  This software will block access to notes or any unauthorized programs or information during the course of the examination.  The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) portion of the exam is not available on computer.

Issues to Consider in Making Your Decision 

While every effort is made to minimize the risks of participation in the Laptop Computer Testing Program, before deciding to register it is important to note that the BBE does not own or maintain the software used for the laptop computer testing program and cannot guarantee the performance of the software furnished by ExamSoft, Inc.  In the event that technical difficulties occur during the bar examination, you will be required to handwrite your essay answers in the answer books provided and no additional testing time will be provided.  Technical difficulties may include hardware or software malfunctions, data saving or retrieval problems, operator errors or the loss of electrical power at the examination facility.  

Communications between Laptop Computer Testing Program Registrants and ExamSoft

  • All communications between applicants selecting to participate in the Laptop Computer Testing Program and ExamSoft will be by email.
  • You will be contacted at the email address you provide on your bar application. It is your responsibility to maintain the email address provided until the conclusion of the bar examination process. Should unforeseen circumstances require that you change your email address during this time, you are required to provide a new and valid email address to the Court immediately.
  • ExamSoft will use any identifying information regarding program registrants for the sole purpose of establishing an account for each applicant to register and download software.

Minimum System Specifications for Laptop Computer Users

Applicants must provide their own laptop computer which meets or exceeds system requirements as determined by ExamSoft.  Please review the Laptop Computer Testing Program Systems Requirements to confirm that your computer meets or exceeds these requirements before registering for this program.  It is imperative that you make sure you are using a dependable laptop computer, and that you test the software on the laptop computer several times prior to examination day.

Deadline for Upload of Exam Answers

After the conclusion of the bar exam, you will be required to upload your essay answers online to the ExamSoft secure web server prior to being dismissed from the examination on Thursday (except in extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Executive Director or her designee).You must be able to connect the laptop computer you used to take the bar exam to the Internet in order to successfully perform the upload of your essay answers.  If there is any possibility that you may not be able to comply with this upload deadline, do not participate in the laptop computer program. Failure to comply with the upload deadline will result in the disqualification of your answers.

Technical Problems

If all or any portion of your essay answers are missing due to technical difficulties, you are required to assist the BBE in any efforts to retrieve your essay answers including, but not limited to: securing your computer and maintaining the security software and files on your computer until after the results of the examination have been released; not modifying or reformatting the hard-drive on your computer; emailing, uploading or mailing any data or files from your computer that are requested by the software vendor or the BBE. If any portion of your essay answers are unrecoverable, only those portions that are recovered will be graded and included in your examination score.

Maintaining Laptop Computer Until Exam Results are Released

Applicants shall not re-format their laptop computers or otherwise make any effort to uninstall the SofTest software and the exam files from their laptop computers until after the release of the bar exam results.

Renting, Leasing or Borrowing Laptop Computers

If you rent, lease or borrow a laptop computer for the bar examination, you do so at your own risk, knowing that in the event of technical difficulties, you may not be able to retrieve backup files that may be necessary to recover your essay answers. If you no longer have access to the computer after the conclusion of the examination, you may not be able to retrieve files which could assist in the recovery of missing portions of your essay answers. Should you choose to rent or borrow a computer, you should arrange to keep the computer until after the results of the examination have been released.

You may only register for this program if you are able to comply with all of the conditions set forth above.

To register for the Laptop Computer Testing Program for the essay portion of the bar examination, the following forms must be submitted with the $75.00 technology fee together with your completed bar application to the Court on or before the filing deadline.

System Requirements 

Applicants must provide their own laptop computer which meets or exceeds system requirements as determined by ExamSoft.  Please review the Laptop Computer Testing Program Systems Requirements to confirm that your computer meets or exceeds these requirements before registering for this program. It is imperative that you make sure you are using a dependable laptop computer, and that you test the software on the laptop computer several times prior to examination day.

Deadline for Upload of Exam Answers

After the conclusion of the bar exam, you will be required to upload your essay answers to the ExamSoft secure web server prior to being dismissed from the examination on Thursday (except in extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Executive Director or her designee). You must be able to connect the laptop computer you used to take the bar exam to the Internet in order to successfully perform the upload of your essay answers.  If there is any possibility that you may not be able to comply with this upload deadline, do not participate in the laptop computer program. Failure to comply with the upload deadline will result in the disqualification of your answers.

Technical Problems

If all or any portion of your essay answers are missing due to technical difficulties, you are required to assist the Board in any efforts to retrieve your essay answers including, but not limited to: securing your computer and maintaining the security software and files on your computer until after the results of the examination have been released; not modifying or reformatting the hard-drive on your computer; emailing, uploading or mailing any data or files from your computer that are requested by the software vendor or the Board. If any portion of your essay answers are unrecoverable, only those portions that are recovered will be graded and included in your examination score.

Maintaining Laptop Computer Until Exam Results are Released

Applicants shall not re-format their laptop computers or otherwise make any effort to uninstall the SofTest software and the exam files from their laptop computers until after the release of the bar exam results.

Renting, Leasing or Borrowing Laptop Computers

If you rent, lease or borrow a laptop computer for the bar examination, you do so at your own risk, knowing that in the event of technical difficulties, you may not be able to retrieve backup files that may be necessary to recover your essay answers.  If you no longer have access to the computer after the conclusion of the examination, you may not be able to retrieve files which could assist in the recovery of missing portions of your essay answers. Should you choose to rent or borrow a computer, you should arrange to keep the computer until after the results of the examination have been released.

You may only register for this program if you are able to comply with all of the conditions set forth above.

To register for the Laptop Computer Testing Program for the essay portion of the bar examination, a form pdf format of Bar Exam Laptop Computer Testing Program Form
must be submitted with the $75.00 technology fee together with your completed bar application to the Court on or before the filing deadline.

Fees

If you elect to participate in this Program you will be required to pay two (2) fees: 1) a non-refundable technology fee of $75.00 payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as mandated by G.L. c. 221, §37; and 2) a non-refundable software license and service fee of $100.00 payable  directly to ExamSoft.  

Please note that these fees are in addition to the $815.00 court filing fee for your bar application case.

Registration and Startup

To be eligible, applicants must file a form pdf format of Bar Exam Laptop Computer Testing Program Form
with the Court, together with their bar application materials, and the following:
1) signed Statement of Compliance;
2) completed Registration Form; and
3) a bank check or money order for $75.00 payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (personal checks are not accepted).  

Applicants will be contacted directly by ExamSoft by email after the bar application filing deadline and will be provided with instructions for registering with ExamSoft.

Please note that you will be billed directly by ExamSoft for the $100.00 software license and service fee.  Do not send this fee to the Court.

You will work with ExamSoft to register for the laptop computer program; download and install the security software; and certify your laptop computer for the bar examination.  You will be solely responsible for completing these steps with ExamSoft. It is each applicant’s responsibility to register with ExamSoft, pay the appropriate fee and follow all ExamSoft instructions.

IMPORTANT: Registration with ExamSoft will be during a limited, fixed period of time, approximately one month after the bar application filing deadline. Please take particular note of this time period when ExamSoft contacts you by e-mail.

Should you have any questions regarding the download and use of the SofTest software, please consult ExamSoft’s website or call ExamSoft support at (866) 429-8889.