February Fla. Bar Exam Will Be Administered Remotely

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners said Wednesday the bar exam scheduled for February 2021 will be administered remotely due to rising COVID-19 infection rates.

The FBBE said that given the difficulty in predicting what Florida's infection rates will be in the coming months, it will administer the Feb. 23-24 exam remotely rather than risk having to cancel it.

The board intends to use the same ExamSoft Worldwide software used to administer the Oct. 13-14 test to 3,137 applicants. The two-day exam will include three essay questions and 100 multiple-choice questions, plus the Multistate Bar Examination, which has 200 multiple-choice questions.

The FBBE managed to pull off the October bar exam, but only after two delays and hiccups with the initial software. The in-person exam that had been scheduled for July 28 and 29 was scrubbed on July 1 as Florida grappled with a dramatic upswing in COVID-19 cases. Then the rescheduled Aug. 19 exam was canceled after the ILG Technologies Inc. testing software was plagued with problems.

In late August, the FBBE announced a narrowed scope for the October exam, which tested roughly half the subjects applicants would typically have to study. The Florida Supreme Court also set up a temporary program that allows some applicants to work under the supervision of a licensed attorney until one month after the February 2021 bar exam results are released.

Applicants reported that the ExamSoft software was an improvement over ILG Technologies Inc.'s software, but there were still some issues during mock examinations. Some users were able to access other files on their computers while taking mock exams, which would allow test-takers to cheat, while Black applicants said the facial recognition software could not register darker faces.

For the October exam, the FBBE also set up two backup plans in case the ExamSoft software failed, but in the end the board was able to administer the test successfully.

The results for the October exam are supposed to be released Friday.

--Editing by Marygrace Murphy.


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