Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the Illinois Bar Examination scheduled for October 5-6, 2020
What is the format of the remote bar examination?
For applicants testing on the regular schedule, the remote bar examination will consist of four, 90-minute test sessions administered over two days, October 5th and 6th, 2020. On October 5th, one session will consist of one Multistate Performance Test (MPT) item; and the other session will consist of three Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) questions. The two other sessions, on October 6th, will each consist of 50 Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) questions.
Applicants with accommodations requiring a different schedule should refer to their determination letter(s) and any follow-up information for their amended schedule.
What is the schedule for the October 2020 remote exam?
The remote exam will be administered on the following schedule (all times are Central Time):
Monday, October 5, 2020:
11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (CT) MPT (1 task)
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (CT) MEE (3 questions)
Tuesday, October 6, 2020:
11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (CT) MBE (50 questions)
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (CT) MBE (50 questions)
The schedules for applicants testing with accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act may vary from the standard schedule addressed above. Applicants testing with accommodations should refer to their determination letter and/or any follow up letters from the Board concerning their schedules and any other modifications that are being made for the exam.
What content will be tested by this remote bar examination?
The content tested by the remote bar examination will be the same as the content of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). You should study the same topic areas that you would if you were preparing to take the UBE.
Is the remote bar examination being administered on Oct. 5th and 6th, 2020 a Uniform Bar Examination (UBE)?
No. While the content consists of materials provided by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and tests the same content as the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), it is not a full UBE and will not produce a portable UBE score.
Is the exam open book?
Absolutely not. Under no circumstances may you have books, papers, or anything on your work surface during the exam sessions, except for pre-approved items due to accommodations.
Must I be physically present in Illinois in order to sit for the exam?
No. It will be administered remotely. Only if you are required to test in person will you need to be in Illinois.
Regardless of your physical location, all times for the exam will be in the Central time zone (Chicago, Illinois).
What software vendor is Illinois using to administer the exam?
Illinois will use ExamSoft. Click on this link for information on system requirements, equipment requirements and recommendations, support, policies, and proctoring through ExamSoft.
I’ve paid a fee to ILG already. Will I get a refund?
Yes. Refunds will be processed by ILG Technologies on or before September 18, 2020. You will receive an email to address on file notifying you when the refund is processed. Once the email is received it could take 7-10 business days for it to be reflected on your account.
When must I register with ExamSoft?
ExamSoft will contact applicants directly by email soon with instructions for registering your computer, downloading the software, downloading and taking the mandatory mock exams and downloading the required exam files. ExamSoft registration will open on September 1, 2020 and will close on September 18, 2020. After September 18, 2020 and prior to the dates of the Remote Exam, ExamSoft will contact applicants with instructions for downloading the required exam files for exam day. It is extremely critical that you comply with all deadlines as they will not be extended for any reason. If you do not download and take the mock exams on time, you will not be able to sit for the exam on October 5-6, 2020.
If I sit for the October 2020 exam will I need internet?
Yes. This will require reliable wifi to download the software and to take the two required mock exams prior to exam day. You will also need wifi on the day of the exam prior to each exam session in order to obtain the password. Internet is also necessary in order to download answer and monitoring files. Internet is not required during the actual test sessions.
How will the exam be administered?
For applicants that do not have specific accommodations that require in-person testing, the exam will be administered remotely. The applicant will be required to be in a room, alone, with no other people, pets, extraneous noises, or distractions. The room must be free of identifying information such as diplomas, licenses, or other items. You must ensure that the room has good lighting. You must remain seated in sight of the camera during the entire test session. There will be a break between sessions to stretch, use the restroom, take medications, and the like. If you do not have access to these conditions, contact your processor. It will require a computer, microphone and camera that meets minimum system requirements. We highly recommend using a laptop with an internal microphone and camera. Make sure your equipment meets these requirements. See the requirements here:
You may have only one monitor. We recommend using an internal computer camera as opposed to an external camera.
Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining their own computers, microphones, cameras, equipment, wifi, and acceptable space in which to take the exam while being proctored remotely. If your equipment fails or your space is unacceptable, you will not be able to take or continue with the exam, and it will not be grounds for modification of your final score. Make sure your equipment is in working order and your space is acceptable.
What features will examinees be able to use within the exam software?
You WILL be able to:
- On the MEE and MPT questions:
- View the question and your response at the same time. For the MPT, you will be able to open the MPT library attachments and view both the attachment and the exam response on the screen
- Highlight within the questions.
- Use up to approximately 30 pages of “virtual scratch paper” to outline your answers.
- Cut and paste text within the response and from the virtual scrap paper.
- On the MBE questions:
- Highlight within the questions.
- Cross out unwanted answers.
- Navigate forward and backward, and skip and return to unanswered questions.
You WILL NOT be able to:
- Use more than one monitor
- Cut and paste or drag and drop text from the question or the MPT library to your written response.
- Underline, circle, or cross out text within the MEE and MBE questions or the MPT materials.
- Use physical scratch paper, notes, or any other physical reference materials. If you are determined to have used physical scratch or note paper at any time during the exam you will be investigated for cheating, resulting in a potential negative impact on character and fitness for admission.
You are required to complete a registration process and two mock exams prior to September 18, 2020 and will therefore have opportunities to familiarize yourself with the software.
Can I handwrite for the October 2020 exam?
No, unless you have an accommodation that requires you to handwrite. This is a remote examination administered electronically by computer.
Is the remote bar examination score portable?
The remote administration of the October 2020 Illinois bar examination is not the full Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) and, therefore, does not provide a portable UBE score.
However, IBAB has entered into agreements with other jurisdictions administering the remote exam option for limited score portability. See announcements on our website for a list of jurisdictions with which Illinois has agreements for score portability for the October 2020 exam.
How does remote proctoring work?
First, you must upload to your IBAB account page an image of your valid, government-issued photo ID prior to October 4, 2020. The ID must be a valid passport, driver’s license, or non-driver ID card. The name on your photo ID must match the name on your IBAB account.
To upload a photo of your ID, log in to your www.ilbaradmissions.org user home page and use the UPLOAD NEW DOCUMENT function at the bottom right of your screen. IBAB staff will automatically retrieve, review and verify your ID.
You must remain in your seat with your face fully visible at all times during the 90-minute session. The software will record audio and video of you, to be uploaded along with your answer files.
From there, the audio and video files will be analyzed and will flag any unusual behaviors, movement, or sounds. The flagged footage is reviewed by trained proctors to determine if further investigation is needed. The mere existence of a flag is not cause for concern. For example, the flag could be a dog barking, or a doorbell, which can be cleared on human review. These human proctors will have no information as to the identity of the individual being reviewed.
What items are prohibited?
Absent a specific and pre-approved accommodation, you may NOT have:
- any electronic device besides your computer, external camera (if using), mouse, and keyboard. You may not have a second monitor. This includes, but is not limited to, cell phones, fitness trackers, watches, headsets, headphones, radios, stereos, clocks, or anything digital, programmable, Bluetooth/Internet capable, or anything other than your registered computer, and associated mouse/keyboard/camera/microphone.
- paper of any kind
- writing instrument of any kind
- earplugs or anything on or in your ears
- scarves, hats, hoodies, or anything covering your head, face, and ears (except for items approved in advance, such as hearing aids and religious wear); however, if you are testing in a location that will require you to wear a mask, you may do so. You may be asked to pull it down for identification.
- food or drinks (absent prior approval)
- more than one monitor
- any item within your reach other than the items delineated in Number 1 on this list
What may cause me to be flagged for violating the rules?
This is not an all-inclusive list. Some actions that may cause suspicions of cheating include:
- possessing or using electronic devices
- pets or people in the room
- paper, books, writing implements, or any item on the desk except the computer, camera (if using), keyboard, and mouse
- getting up from your seat, or leaving the room
- going off camera
- not having your face in the camera view at all times
- eyes not on the screen for extended periods of time
- talking or listening to another person talking
- inappropriate attire or lack of attire – this is still a bar exam
- any other suspected cheating
Will there be technical support?
You will be provided with instructions on how to call ExamSoft, who can attempt to assist you. No extra exam time will be given.
How will the bar exam be scored?
Scoring will be based on equal weighting of the 3 MEEs (30%) and 1 MPT (20%), which is the written portion (50%), and MBE portion (50%).
What is the cut score for the October 2020 exam for Illinois?
The cut score will remain 266.
Why is the MBE important and how is the MBE used in scoring?
The multiple-choice questions are, in and of themselves, an important component of the bar exam, as they help to determine an examinee’s competence to practice law. The MBE is used to scale the bar exam, as the sum of all scores assigned by the Graders on the written portion of the exam are converted to the same units of measurement as that used for the MBE. We have been assured by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) that the 100 questions provided for the online exam have been formulated with the same standard and rigor as all prior administrations.
How does scaling work?
For the online administration, a 100-question multiple-choice test provided by the NCBE will be given. The NCBE will neither score this exam nor equate it. The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar is working with our psychometrician on a plan that strives to sustain high exam reliability while maintaining a standard that is reflective of past exams. The methodology centers on converting scores on the 100-item multiple-choice exam to an MBE-like score, by employing a raw-to-scale conversion plan that utilizes NCBE's historic MBE raw-to-equated scale score transformations.
How will reciprocity work?
Agreements for the portability of scores earned on the October 2020 remote examination are sought only with other jurisdictions administering the same exam, on the same dates, with the same content. Illinois has agreed to score portability with Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and New Jersey. Other jurisdictions may be added.
Applicants from other jurisdictions having provided Illinois a score of 266 or higher may apply for admission in Illinois. Details on the forms and process are forthcoming.
When can we expect to see results from the October 2020 exam?
At this point we cannot say. We understand time is of the essence, and we will strive to make sure grading occurs quickly, but accurately. Check our website for updates on when results will be posted.