All applicants must carefully review and adhere to these written procedures and security measures and check their emails regularly for updates.
- What will be the components of the examination? The July 2021 Tennessee bar examination (examination) will be the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), which consists of two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) items, six Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) questions, and 200 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) questions.
2. How will the examination be administered?
- Tennessee will administer the examination remotely using ExamSoft Examplify secure testing software.
- Examplify software includes ExamID and ExamMonitor tools to provide identity authentication and audio and video recording with artificial intelligence and human proctor review.
- You will take the examination on your own computer or laptop with a webcam and microphone enabled.
- You will take the examination at the location of your choice but the environment must be quiet and distraction-free with no other person in the testing space and with no personally identifying information within the view of the webcam.
- You will be required to remain seated within the view of the webcam for the entirety of each test session. There will be breaks between each test session for you to use the restroom, stretch, eat, etc.
- The examination is being administered remotely, using remote proctoring software. There is no option to handwrite the examination absent accommodation under ADA, and you must use the required software for all sessions of the examination.
3. What is the format of the examination?
- For standard-time applicants, the examination will consist of eight (8) 90-minute test sessions administered over two days (July 27-28, 2021). Once any given session is completed, you will not have further access to those item(s) or question(s).
- For applicants granted test accommodations (breaks in testing and/or extra testing time) for a disability or applicants granted testing over four days as an administrative accommodation for a health-related condition, the examination will consist of sixteen (16) test sessions of varying times administered over four days (July 27-30, 2021). Once any given session is completed, you will not have further access to those item(s) or question(s).
4. What is the schedule for the examination?
For standard-time applicants, the examination schedule is below. All applicants MUST adhere to this schedule, and all times are Central Time.
|DAILY SCHEDULE||1st Session||Break||2nd Session||Break||3rd Session||Break||4th Session|
|TUESDAY JUL 27||9:00 – 10:30 am MPT 1||10:30 – 11:00 am (30 min)||11:00 am – 12:30 pm MPT 2||12:30- 2:00 pm (90 min)||2:00 – 3:30 pm MEE 1 – 3||3:30 – 4:00 pm (30 min)||4:00 – 5:30 pm MEE 4 – 6|
|WEDNESDAY JUL 28||9:00 – 10:30 am MBE 1-50||10:30 – 11:00 am (30 min)||11:00 am – 12:30 pm MBE 51-100||12:30- 2:00 pm (90 min)||2:00 – 3:30 pm MBE 101-150||3:30 – 4:00 pm. (30 min)||4:00 – 5:30 pm MBE 151-200|
- For applicants granted test accommodations for a disability or applicants granted testing over four days as an administrative accommodation for a health-related condition, the schedule will consist of sixteen (16) testing sessions of varying times over four days with scheduled breaks of at least 30 minutes between each test session. These schedules will be provided as part of the General Information Manual provided prior to the end of June.
- Each test session will require a password, and each password will be released 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.
- You must endeavor to start each test session as soon as the password is released so you have time to contact ExamSoft in the event you experience any technical difficulties requiring assistance. It is therefore permissible to start testing as soon as the password is released – you do not have to wait until the posted start time to begin testing. No matter what time you start a session, the software will automatically log you out of that session after the maximum time permitted for that session. For example, if you start a session when the password is released at 8:45 am the session will conclude 90 minutes later at 10:15 am. You may then begin the next session as soon as the password for that session is released.
5. Is the examination open book?
- No. You are not permitted to access or use notes, bar review and study materials, writing utensils, books, phones and other electronic equipment during the examination except, as noted below in section 16, you may have blank scrap paper and a writing utensil during the MPT sessions only.
6. What software vendor will Tennessee use to deliver the examination?
- The examination will be delivered by ExamSoft using its Examplify testing software. Examplify is the same software that was used for the October 2020 remote bar exam and the February 2021 bar exam. The examination will include the use of ExamID to verify your identity before the start of each exam session and ExamMonitor for remote proctoring. Both of these features are considered to be necessary exam security measures and are discussed in greater detail below.
7. What is the process for registering with ExamSoft?
- Registration with ExamSoft opens on June 17th on or before 5:00 PM CT. Applicants will be notified by email from ExamSoft; the email will include login information to use for registration.
- TNBLE will provide to ExamSoft the name, NCBE number and email address of all eligible applicants for the examination.
- The ExamSoft registration fee, which must be paid directly to ExamSoft, is $50 to purchase the software. The TNBLE is subsidizing the balance of the registration fee.
- You will receive an email directly from ExamSoft once registration has opened. ExamSoft may also send periodic reminder emails throughout the registration period for anyone who has not yet completed all mandatory registration steps. Do not ignore these emails. The TNBLE will not waive the registration deadline. Thus, it is highly recommended that you complete all mandatory registration steps with ExamSoft early in the registration period.
- You will be required to timely register with ExamSoft and download the software (and exam files) even if you previously registered with ExamSoft for any past exam. The deadline is June 25th at 12:00 PM ET.
- If you already have a version of Examplify on your device from either law school or a prior bar exam you should uninstall it prior to registering your device with ExamSoft for the July 2021 exam in order to insure that you install the latest version of Examplify for the July 2021 bar exam. The latest version of Examplify is 2.7 (or higher). Using an earlier version of Examplify may result in issues with your exam delivery or the recording of your proctoring files and YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK. If you test on an older version of the Software and your video or audio files do not upload, your scores will not be validated and you will not earn a score on the July 2021 examination.
- On June 17th on or before 5:00 PM ET, you will receive an email from ExamSoft with instructions for (1) paying the $50 software fee and registering your computer, (2) downloading the software and (3) downloading and taking the two mandatory mock exams. The deadline for all three steps is July 1st at 5:00 PM CT.
- On July 20th on or before 5:00 PM CT, ExamSoft will contact you with instructions for downloading the required exam files. The deadline to download the exam files is July 23rd at 4:00 PM CT. It is extremely critical that all deadlines are strictly complied with as they will not be extended by the TNBLE. FAILURE TO TIMELY MEET ALL OF THE STEPS WILL RESULT IN YOUR WITHDRAWAL FROM THE EXAMINATION AND THE FORFEITURE OF YOUR FEES.
8. What technology is required?
- You must take the examination with a computer (a laptop or desktop) that meets ExamSoft’s minimum system requirements, and includes both a functional webcam and microphone.
- Minimum System Requirements are available at https://bar.examsoft.com/system-requirements. Some of the requirements listed under this link specify the minimum and recommended requirements. You are strongly encouraged to use a computer that meets ExamSoft’s recommended system requirements. In particular, it is highly recommended that the computer memory (RAM) have 8GB or higher of available space.
- If your computer does not meet the minimum system requirements, you WILL get a warning box from ExamSoft. DO NOT IGNORE THIS WARNING! It is your obligation to rectify any and all noted warned deficiencies with your computer yourself. Please refer to this article for assistance with updating your device to meet the minimum system requirements: https://help.examsoft.com/s/article/Examplify-Update-Device-MSRs. This warning might require you to use another computer for the exam.
- It is critically important that on each day of the examination the computer you registered continues to meet all minimum system requirements and have sufficient memory (both RAM and hard drive space) available. While the exam files are mostly text and are small, the monitoring files are videos with sound, and videos with sound are large. You must also make certain that all current updates to the computer’s operating system have been installed. You do not want to get that “Installing updates” pop up on the day of the exam. And if your computer does not have sufficient available space to store all of the monitoring videos on the days of the exam, the software may stop recording and your exam will not be accepted for grading.
- Built-in webcams and microphones are preferred, but if your computer is not so equipped, connect and install an external webcam with a microphone prior to launching Examplify. You will practice doing this in advance of the exam, because you must take both mock exams using the same setup you intend to use on exam day so as to confirm that your external webcam works. After you set up the external webcam you may confirm it is working by clicking on Device Settings in the right top corner of the Examplify window before starting an exam session. Once you start the exam and go into secure mode you will not be able to switch cameras. Virtual camera software with ExamID or ExamMonitor is not permitted and cannot be used of for the exam.
- You are permitted to use an external monitor (to permit a larger screen than your laptop provides), keyboard and mouse (wired or wireless) but they must be set up and configured for use during the mock exams. Keep in mind that using an external monitor does not result in a “dual” monitor setup. In other words, what is on your laptop screen will be identical to what is on your external monitor (just larger). You cannot, for example, open the question itself on one monitor and the answer text box on the other.
- If using an external monitor, applicants MUST also use an external webcam with a microphone that is positioned at the top center of the external monitor so that your face is in view of the camera at all times. Using a webcam that is not positioned on top of the external monitor will cause the applicant to be flagged by ExamMonitor. You must take the mock exams using this setup to confirm that your external monitor, camera and microphone work properly.
- You will need a reliable internet connection to obtain the password for each exam session, to check in and start the session and to later upload the answer and proctoring files at the close of the session. Once you start the session upon getting to the first question, the examination is taken entirely offline.
9. Where is the examination administered?
- You may take the examination at the location of your choice provided, however, that there is no one else in the room with you.
- Some law schools may be offering space for applicants who may not have a secure and reliable internet connection, or a suitable place to take the exam. If your law school offers space for you to take the exam, it is permissible for you to take the exam at the law school. You will need to abide by all other instructions including remaining in your seat in view of your webcam throughout each session. It is the responsibility of the law school and applicant to make sure that all social-distancing protocols are followed and that no prohibited materials or devices are allowed in the testing room. Remote proctoring through ExamSoft will still be in place.
10. What testing conditions will be required?
- You must be alone in the room where you are taking the remotely-proctored exam.
- You may not have a phone or other electronic device on your person or anywhere in the room in which you are taking the test.
- You may not have study notes, bar review materials or other legal reference books and/or materials in your testing space.
- Diplomas, photographs, or other items that might personally identify you should not be visible to your webcam during the examination.
- You must remain seated with your face in full view of the webcam for the entire duration of each test session. You may not carry your laptop from room to room while testing.
- You may have any necessary prescription medication in the testing area and take it as needed.
- You may not eat during the 90-minute session but you may have water or other beverages in a clear container with labels removed.
- You will have a break in between test sessions. As soon as you exit a test session on your computer, the webcam will no longer be recording. Thus, during the break, you are permitted to step away from your computer to eat, drink, stretch, use the restroom, etc. or use the computer. However, it is recommended that you use your computer to upload the exam and video monitoring files during each break.
- You may not wear a hat or cap during the examination except if it is for religious reasons in which case it may not have a brim or otherwise obscure your eyes and you must tell the TNBLE in advance of the examination what you headwear you wear.
- You may wear prescription eyeglasses or blue light glasses during the exam but you may not wear sunglasses.
- You may not wear headphones, headsets, or earbuds during the exam. This prohibition will be strictly enforced, and if you are found to be wearing headphones, a headset or earbuds during the exam without permission from the Board, you will have your bar exam results withheld and may be subject to charges of misconduct. Ordinary foam ear plugs without a cord are permitted. If you will be wearing foam ear plugs during the exam, please present them to the camera at the beginning of an exam session before placing them in your ears.
- Your reading and electronically signing the Acknowledgement of the General Information Manual by the deadline (4:00 p.m. CT, July 2, 2021) is required to be eligible to sit for the examination. You are required to comply with the conditions the General Information Manual, which will include an Honor Pledge you must sign and download by the deadline for uploading Exam Files after the examination (July 28, 2021 at 9:00 p.m. CT).
- If something happens during the exam that causes you to inadvertently violate a test condition and/or the Honor Code, you must provide written notice of the matter to the Board with the Honor Pledge you upload after the examination. If an emergency arises that requires you to temporarily leave the view of the camera, you must provide written notice to the Board with the Honor Pledge you upload after the examination.
11. What features will applicants be able to use within the exam software?
- During the MPT and MEE sessions you WILL be able to:
- View the MPT and MEE question as an attachment.
- Use the optional “Notes” feature (i.e., virtual scrap paper) to take notes and outline responses. This feature also allows you to cut, copy and paste text between the Notes and your answer. It is highly recommended that you opt for the “copy and paste” feature, as opposed to “cut and paste” feature. All MPT and MEE answers MUST be recorded in the proper answer response space. The Board will NOT retrieve or grade any language within the Notes section or included in the answer filed for the wrong question (i.e., the answer for MEE 2 is in the answer box for MEE 3).
- Increase the font size of the question, answer text and attachments.
- View the question, your answer and the Notes section on the computer at the same time (including the MPT library). As a reminder, all MPT and MEE answers MUST be recorded in the proper answer response space. The Board will NOT retrieve or grade any language within the Notes section.
- Highlight and search within the attachment.
- Use the spell-check and “find and replace” features in your answer.
- For each MEE session, (1) navigate between the questions, (2) flag a question to return to for further consideration, (3) cut, copy and paste between the Notes and your answer. It is highly recommended that you opt for the “copy and paste” feature, as opposed to “cut and paste” feature. As a reminder, all MPT and MEE answers MUST be recorded in the proper answer response space. The Board will NOT retrieve or grade any language within the Notes section.
- For the MPT ONLY, use physical scratch/scrap paper (blank paper, lined or unlined) and a non-digital pencil or pen to make notes and outlines. Any scratch/scrap paper and pens and pencils used during the MPT sessions MUST be removed from the testing area prior to the start of the MEE sessions.
- Best practices suggest outlining your answer and taking notes in the answer box, rather than in Notes so that, if you run out of time, there is content for the grader to grade.
- During the MBE sessions, you WILL be able to:
- Highlight within the text of each question.
- Strike out unwanted answers or answers you believe to be incorrect as you read the multiple-choice questions. You must still select an answer (and not just strike through purported incorrect answers) in order to receive credit for a correct answer.
- Navigate forward and backward between questions, as well as skip and/or return to unanswered questions during each session.
- Flag multiple-choice questions to return to during that session.
- Use the Notes (i.e., virtual scrap paper) for each question.
- For ALL sessions (except as noted), you WILL NOT be able to:
- Cut, copy or paste text from the MEE/MPT question and/or MPT library to your response or Notes.
- Underline, circle, or cross out text within the MEE and MBE questions or the MPT question and library (but highlighting is permitted).
- Use study notes or any other physical reference materials.
- Use physical scratch/scrap paper for the MEE or MBE sessions.
12. How does ExamID work?
- ExamSoft uses ExamID to authenticate your identity. The facial authentication software compares two photos of a single person similar to unlocking a phone. The software is intended to confirm that the person sitting in front of the camera to take the examination is the same person who registered for the examination with the Board and ExamSoft. Facial authentication also prohibits unauthorized users from accessing your exam.
- During the first mandatory mock exam, ExamID will take a baseline photo of you. You may not have a third-party appear in your baseline photo for any reason.
- HELPFUL TIP: When this baseline photo is being taken, you are urged to sit in a well-lit room (with light facing you, rather than behind you, as back lighting tends to make shadows) and to wear eyeglasses if you intend to wear eyeglasses for the exam. If possible, the Board recommends that this baseline photo be taken in the same room you intend to take the exam. Do NOT hold up your photo ID in front of your face while your baseline photo is being taken. If you are wearing a mask you will need to briefly lower the mask for the camera to take your photo. We need to see your entire face clearly.
- The software will confirm that the photo taken in the first mock exam is acceptable.
- At the start of each test session on the exam days, ExamID will take another photo of you and will compare it to the photo taken during the mock exam to authenticate your identity. The exam day photo is only compared to your baseline photo, a picture that you take on your device and that you approve for use. Your photo that is taken is NOT compared to the photos of other exam takers.
- When your photo is taken at the start of each test session on exam days you will have the option to check the photo and confirm it is acceptable before continuing into the test session.
- Should you experience any issue with the ExamID authentication at the beginning of any exam session, you will still be permitted to take the exam, and the TNBLE will authenticate your identity following the examination by reviewing the photo on file with the TNBLE, the mandatory mock exams and the exam video.
- If an impersonator appears in the baseline photo, or takes any mandatory mock and/or any exam session, the Board will immediately remove you from the exam and/or issue a Show Cause Order for you to appear before the Board.
13. How does remote proctoring (ExamMonitor) work?
- The proctoring software will record you (both audio and video) throughout each exam session. At the conclusion of each exam session, you may take the scheduled break by walking away from your computer and the webcam. After you have exited a test session on your computer, the audio and video will NOT record during the break.
- You must remain at your computer, with your face fully visible to the webcam, for the entirety of each test session. Your eyes, nose and mouth must be within the frame of the camera for the Board to validate your scores. Please note that if the Board cannot see your eyes or mouth for extended times during the examination, your scores cannot be validated and you will not earn an exam score. As a reminder, if you are using an external monitor, you must also use an external webcam with a microphone that is positioned at the top center of the external monitor. Using a webcam that is not positioned on top of the external monitor will cause the applicant to be flagged by ExamMonitor.
- After the conclusion of each session, the remote proctoring video file will be uploaded to ExamSoft. ExamSoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) program will analyze the recording and flag any unusual behaviors, movements, or sounds.
- All video footage will then be reviewed by at least one human proctor to determine whether further analysis as to potential irregularities is necessary. For example, a barking dog or a siren in the background might be initially flagged by AI, but would be cleared upon the subsequent human review. The mere fact that a sound or behavior generates a flag does not mean that the TNBLE will formally investigate and/or take any action against an applicant for exam misconduct. the TNBLE anticipates that most flags will be cleared by the human proctors and/or Board staff.
- Conduct during any given session that may result in an investigation for fraud or misconduct includes, but is not limited to: disconnecting or covering the webcam, closing the laptop cover, leaving the view of the webcam without a valid reason, having a prohibited item in the testing space, using an unauthorized electronic device during testing, accessing, using or reviewing notes or other prohibited materials, having others in the testing space, being out of the frame of the camera for extended times, and any other conduct that raises suspicion that an applicant cheated or engaged in other prohibited conduct during or on the exam.
- Applicants are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner and shall refrain from rude, obscene, and disrespectful behavior and gestures in the ExamID and ExamMonitoring photos and videos. Further, Applicants are expected to dress appropriately and to test at an appropriate work space, such as a desk or table. Applicants must be mindful that live proctors will be viewing the videos and must wear a shirt that is not revealing and does not include offensive language or graphics.
- The proctors reviewing exam footage will not have access to any personally identifying information for applicants.
- The TNBLE will destroy and/or direct ExamSoft to destroy all video recordings from the examination within a reasonable time after the completion of all grading or, where security investigations are initiated, after resolution of any possible exam violations, including any related Character and Fitness proceedings.
14. Technical Support
- ExamSoft will have dedicated technicians available for technical support (for the mock exams and on the exam days) and calls should be directed to (888) 816-3065. DO NOT call the Board’s office for technical support.
- ExamSoft also has live online chat assistance, but this will only be accessible BEFORE you enter the exam session (mock exam or actual exam). While chat assistance may be useful during the mock exams, it is NOT recommended on exam days. On exam days, you should attempt to resolve the problem yourself first (see Troubleshooting below) and then call ExamSoft if still needed at (888) 816-3065.
- Should you experience a technical issue before or during the exam that cannot be resolved by you (see Troubleshooting below), you may leave the work space to obtain your phone to call technical support and take the following steps.
- Announce to the webcam that you are leaving to retrieve your phone to seek technical assistance.
- Upon retrieving your phone, place the call to ExamSoft in front of the webcam and remain in its frame for the entirety of the call.
- Place your phone in an area out of reach of your work space as soon as the support call ends.
- Email the Board when you finish testing on that day and add a statement to your Honor Pledge that you upload after the examination that includes the issue and the ExamSoft Support Ticket Number.
- You must connect to the internet before typing the exam password. If you are not connected to the internet, you will get a “No Internet Connection” box asking you to “check your internet connection and try again.”
- You can often resolve a technical issue (such as computer freeze or lag while typing) during the exam by simply rebooting your device. Before contacting ExamSoft during the exam, the following steps should be attempted:
- Press and hold the power button until the computer is completely off.
- Wait 5 seconds.
- Restart the device.
- Once Examplify restarts, you should be able to enter the session password (if the problem arose before the exam) or should be returned to within 59 seconds of where you left off (if the problem arose during the session).
- If a problem occurs during a session and you are unable to restart within 9 minutes, you should call ExamSoft technical support and obtain a resume code and provide written confirmation of the support call as noted above.
- If a problem occurs during a session, DO NOT CLOSE OR EXIT THE EXAMINATION. If you close or exit the examination, you will be unable to re-enter the session. The session will end, and a resume code will NOT assist you.
15. Will I have an opportunity to practice using the software so I may become familiar with the technology and what to expect on exam day?
- Yes. You will be required to take two mandatory mock exams, and you will have the opportunity to take an optional third mock exam before the date of the examination.
- You are strongly encouraged to use all allotted time (90 minutes) in both mandatory mock exams and the third optional mock exam. Mock exams are not set up to provide extra time; therefore, applicants granted extra time for a disability on the examination should not expect that such extra time has been added on the mock exams.
- The mock exams will be available for download after you register for the July 2021 examination, which opens on June 17th on or before 5:00 PM ET.
- IMPORTANT TIP: If you want to use an external monitor, keyboard or mouse on exam day, set this up prior to doing the mock exams to confirm that it works. It is very important to take the mock exams using the same setup as you intend to use on the exam day.
- During the first mock exam you will establish your baseline photo that will be used for exam day. In addition to these necessary security measures, taking the first mock exam will provide you with the opportunity to practice all of the features of the software, including the virtual scrap paper, highlighting features and increasing the size of the font to a level that works best for you.
- The second mock exam will contain practice questions and you may practice using all of the software features with exam questions. You will have the option to download and take a third mock exam, which will contain the same questions as the second mock exam and will give you another opportunity to become comfortable with the features of the software and to test uploading a 90-minute video file.
- Mock Exams 1 and 2 are MANDATORY and must be completed, with files uploaded, by the July 1st deadline or you will not be eligible to sit for the exam.
16. Will I be permitted to use scratch/scrap paper?
- You may use physical scratch/scrap paper (blank paper, lined or unlined) and a non-digital pencil or pen to make notes and outlines for the two MPT items only. Any physical scratch/scrap paper and pens and pencils used during an MPT MUST BE REMOVED from the testing area following the MPT session and prior to the start of the MEE session.
- You may NOT use physical scratch/scrap paper for the MEE or MBE portions of the exam. Any use of physical scratch paper on the MEE or MBE sessions will be flagged and your scores will be invalidated.
- You may also use the virtual scrap paper feature in the exam software to outline your answer. You will be able to cut, copy and paste between the virtual scrap paper feature and your answers for the MEE and MPT. It is highly recommended that you opt for the “copy and paste” feature, as opposed to “cut and paste” feature. It is also permissible and perhaps preferable for you to type your outlines into the answer response field and then delete unwanted text as desired. As a reminder, all MPT and MEE answers MUST be recorded in the proper answer response space. The Board will not retrieve or grade any language within the Notes section or typed in the incorrect answer field.
17. What is the deadline for uploading exam files and video monitoring files?
- You must take each session of the exam and timely upload the answer files and video monitoring files for each session of the exam. If you do not upload the answer files and video monitoring files for any session you will receive a score of zero “0” for that session.
- The answer and video monitoring files should automatically upload at the conclusion of each session. With 30 minutes between each session, it is highly recommended that you permit both files to upload immediately following each session to avoid a potential problem of insufficient memory on your computer for any subsequent session. It is, however, permissible to stop the upload between sessions and wait to upload all files after the conclusion of the last exam session, subject to the deadlines below.
- File uploads can be completed immediately after each session, and not later than the following deadlines:
- If you are taking the exam with standard time, your answer files and video monitoring files must be uploaded by 9:00 PM CT Wednesday, July 28, 2021.
- If you have been granted test accommodations for a disability or testing over four days as administrative accommodation, your answer files and video monitoring files must be uploaded by 9:00 PM CT on Friday, July 30, 2021.
- You will receive confirmation emails from ExamSoft confirming the successful upload of each individual file. You will also be notified by email from ExamSoft and/or the Board should one or more of your files not successfully upload.
18. How will the examination be scored?
- Final scores will be reported on a 400-point scale and a scaled score of 270 or greater is required to pass in Tennessee.
When will results be available?
- The TNBLE expects to release the results of the examination by late October / early November, 2021.
May my score on the examination be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions?
- The score earned on the July 2021 examination will be a UBE score, and you will be able to transfer a score from the examination to another UBE jurisdiction.
- A UBE score of 270 earned in another UBE jurisdiction in July 2021, whether that exam was administered in-person or remotely, can be transferred to Tennessee as provided in Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 7, Sec. 3.05.
Posted June 13, 2021.