Florida Bar Exam Details Released Which Compensate Applicants For The Hardship Experienced
In a positive development for bar applicants and the reputation of the Florida legal community, the Florida Supreme Court announced on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 that the Florida Board of Bar Examiners (“FBBE”) rescheduled the bar examination to take place on October 13th, with October 14th being reserved as a day to continue testing for those receiving test accommodations. To read the full announcement by the Florida Supreme Court, click HERE. If you would like to read the full order from the Florida Supreme Court, you may click HERE. Articles that we have written on this recent unfortunate situation can be viewed by clicking Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
In addition to providing graduates with the date of the exam, the FBBE also announced the topics that will (and perhaps more importantly will not) be tested. This is good news that makes sense by increasing the pass rate and the practicality of knowledge that comes from the subjects covered. It is good news for the applicants that only Florida-specific topics will be tested on the exam.
The multiple choice questions will be divided among seven possible subjects:
- Florida Civil Procedure
- Florida Criminal Procedure
- Business Entities
The essay questions on the exam will involve six subjects:
- Florida Constitutional Law
- The Uniform Commercial Code (Article 3)
One of the other big announcements from this press release is that the Florida Bar Exam is to be taken on ExamSoft software instead of the now infamous ILG equivalent. ExamSoft, as stated by the Florida Supreme Court, is “a company with more than 20 years’ experience with delivery of online exams.” This is a breath of fresh air as ILG had only been used in the offering of bar exams since 2016.
Having learned from past mistakes, the Florida Supreme Court announced that a “backup testing plan” is being developed. More details on this contingency plan will be released when the details are finalized.
The Florida Supreme Court also elected a “Registrant Advocate” to help ensure that students’ concerns and questions about the administration of the exam are answered in a timely fashion; another refreshing change from what has become the new normal.
Despite the new date, there are many who still believe that setting an October testing date is too optimistic. This new ExamSoft software, though having a proven track record in other states, may also suffer from last minute technical problems and the issue of anti-cheating measures has yet to be announced. It is believed that what is known as the ExamMonitor Virtual Test Proctor (a part of ExamSoft) will be used. This apparently uses artificial intelligence to detect abnormal behavior in the test takers. Hopefully not the same A.I. that ILG used, which mistook many graduates’ dogs as the graduates themselves. Someday such software may take the test for the applicant!
Graduates seem happy with the direction the Florida Supreme Court and FBBE are moving. In reacting to the release of the testable topics one graduate said “I literally cannot believe they gave us the topics . . . this is the apology [I was hoping for].” It is also clear that the Florida Supreme Court and FBBE have heard the students’ complaints about transparency and have worked hard to improve their communication.
Recent graduates who were issued a ticket and made the decision to postpone the July or August bar exams until February still have the option of rescinding the decision and taking the test on October 13th. Given that this examination will likely be the easiest (in terms of a reduced amount of testable subjects) and shortest bar exam in modern Florida history, it may be worthwhile for those graduates to take the exam earlier than they had planned.