[teknoids] RE: ExamSoft

Simon, Heidi hdsimo at wm.edu
Wed Apr 19 13:40:07 EDT 2006

The VA Board of Bar Examiners uses ExamSoft to allow some applicants to
take their exams on laptops.  I was one of those applicants for the last
2 exams, and I was not very impressed.

The programmers and development team were in the exam room when ExamSoft
crashed my laptop last July.  They were not able to get the program to
respond, and since it had locked the rest of the computer they couldn't
just force-quit (that was the explanation the "lead programmer" gave

They had to hard reboot my machine DURING the test, and the first 3
attempts stalled at the username screen if the screen even came on.
Their reaction was "We've never seen this before! We don't know what to
do! Try a reboot!"  

My laptop was never the same.  It has a 2.0 Centrino (Dothan), 1 gig of
ram, and many other nice innards, although they did try to convince me
that "my system couldn't handle it."  Right...it can play Doom3, just
can't use their text editing software?  I had run virus, updates, and
spyware checks that morning and the machine was clean...and only 3
months after a brand new HDD installation.

For the Feb '06 Bar, I wiped my HDD 2 days before the test to prevent
any problems from recurring.  This time I did not have to call for
proctor assistance, but it did seem to be chewing up an unlikely amount
of RAM...my keystrokes were lagging.  The only things on the machine
were XP Pro, Office 2003, Norton, ExamSoft 4, and World of Warcraft (did
I mention I'm a geek?).  My laptop is also now having some startup
issues, same ones as before.  About 50% of the time, the screen doesn't
come on when you boot although the machine is running fine.  This was
the persistent issue that led me to wipe the drive in the first place.

I did not have any issues at all on the machine until the first time I
ran ExamSoft.  Startups were fast and the screen came on 100% of the
time.  After I ran ExamSoft, the issues with the screen started up
again, and boot time is now ridiculously slow...about 30+ of those
little Windows progress bars.  As soon as results are in, I will be
wiping it yet again to remove these issues.  

So yes, I have had trouble with ExamSoft.  Luckily, W&M Law doesn't
require the students to use any special software for exams; instead
relying on the Honor Code.  

There's my 2 cents (ok, maybe more like $2), for what its worth!

:o) Heidi

Heidi Simon, JD
Strand Fellow in Legal Technology
Courtroom21 Project
William & Mary School of Law
Williamsburg, VA 23185


We're using Examsoft for computer exams. We used it last semester on a
test group (187) and only had 2 problems, one of which we were able to
fix before the first exam, the other after the first exam, but she was
able to take her other exams on it.
This semester, we've had a couple of students reporting problems with
their computer; we now have about 250 students who have downloaded and
installed Examsoft, and will take the exams on computer with Examsoft.
One student sent his computer back to the manufacturer because he said
first his CD was disabled, then it would not even boot a couple of days
after downloading and installing Examsoft. We didn't get a chance to
look at it, but obviously Examsoft is being blamed for the lockup. I
know it's not a "high" percentage of people who are having problems, but
in law schools this obviously stresses out our students, since the
"word" spreads through the law school like wildfire. 
Is anyone experiencing problems with Examsoft this semester? If so, any
particular details you can share? 
Thanks in advance,
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Message: 3
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 10:10:38 -0400
From: Margaret.Thomas at notes.udayton.edu
Subject: Re: [teknoids] Examsoft
To: Teknoids <teknoids at ruckus.law.cornell.edu>
Cc: teknoids at ruckus.law.cornell.edu,
	teknoids-bounces at ruckus.law.cornell.edu,	Kathleen Price
	<PriceK at law.ufl.edu>
<OF9CBE7F66.DAE2A4D1-ON85257155.004CCA9A-85257155.004DDFF1 at notes.udayton
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

We've been using Examsoft for at least the past 4 years, and this past 
year has been more troublesome than previous years. Examsoft blames our 
firewall, but we've granted access straight through our firewall to
site(s) with no restrictions. We've also been meticuluous about the 
students' computers -- making sure they don't have spyware or background

programs running, but we've still experienced some unexplainable random 
problems -- mostly with uploading. We can ususally get it to work 
eventually, but my feeling is it should work all the time without our
Dept) intervention. It is only a small number -- less than 5% -- but in 
the past, it's been less than 1%. I have not seen the kind of problem 
you've described, and I don't have a good answer for you -- we've never 
"lost" an exam with Examsoft, so I have confidence that we can make it 


Margaret Thomas
Information Technology Manager
University of Dayton School of Law
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469-2772


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