Aspiring attorneys review their notes before beginning the bar exam at the Jacob J. Javits Center on Tuesday. (NYLJ/Tania Karas)
Hundreds of bar exam takers in New York and across the U.S. were unable to turn in their completed tests Tuesday due to a glitch with ExamSoft, a software program used by many state bar examiners.
Many bar applicants who tried to upload their finished tests to ExamSoft’s computer servers received an error message. Others were able to upload only after multiple attempts over several hours.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, ExamSoft’s vice president of marketing Kenneth Knotts attributed the delay to a “technical reason” that caused a six-hour lag in processing some submitted exam files.
Knotts apologized to those affected and said the backlog had been cleared by early Wednesday.
“The delay in processing did not relate to, or impact, the exam takers’ answer content, and we are very confident in the integrity of their exam submissions,” he added.
Anxious text-takers took to Twitter Tuesday evening to seek technical guidance from ExamSoft and commiserate with others. The fiasco spawned hashtags such as #ExamSoftGate and #barmageddon.
In response to the glitch, several states pushed back their exam submission deadlines. New York’s deadline was moved to midnight Wednesday, the second day of a 12-hour, two-day exam.
ExamSoft administers bar exams in 43 states. In New York, bar applicants can pay $100, on top of state registration fees, to use the secure software on their personal laptops for the exam’s essay questions. Multiple-choice questions require old-fashioned pencil and paper. The New York State Board of Law Examiners has used ExamSoft for the past eight years.
Of more than 10,000 New York test-takers who used ExamSoft, about 9,000 had successfully uploaded their exams by 8 a.m. Wednesday, said John McAlary, executive director of the state bar exam board.