Laptop Exams: Fall 2016
The Law School offers students the option of taking in-class, proctored exams (essay-type only) on their own laptop computers through the use of SofTest software from ExamSoft, provided free of charge to all. As an alternative, students may choose to handwrite their exams. SofTest is not used for take-home exams.
NOTE ABOUT MAC'S NEW OPERATING SYSTEM: Mac’s newest operating system, MacOS Sierra, is expected to be released on 9/20/2016. At this time, ExamSoft is working on completing preliminary testing of the operating system to ensure compatibility. Until testing is complete and compatibility is announced, students are prevented from registering SofTest or downloading exams on a device with Sierra. Please refrain from updating to Sierra until the Law School makes an official support announcement.
SofTest is an exam software that blocks access to all other applications while it is running. You will type into it as you would type into any standard word processor. It is the computing equivalent of a bluebook.
The only difference between a laptop exam and a handwritten exam is the method by which the answers are recorded. Handwriters will be recording their answers on an exam book while laptop examinees will be using an exam file, which is a virtual exam book, to record their answers. The document in the exam file is blank and does not contain the exam questions. All students will receive a hard copy of the exam questions. Please download and read the complete instructions for downloading, testing, and using the SofTest exam software. This document also lists the miminum recommended system requirements for SofTest.
If you are planning to use your laptop for your exams, you will be downloading the exam file(s) and then uploading your answers via the Internet. Although you will not be connected to the Internet while you are writing your exam, you will need Internet connection to download the exam file (prior to arriving in the exam room) and to upload your answer file at the end of the exam in the exam room. Please verify that you have internet access within Jerome Greene Hall and William & June Warren Hall. For additional information, please go to Wireless@CLS.
Laptop Exam Instructions
Laptop Exam Policies:
- Laptop examinees are required to use SofTest to take laptop exams. You may not use any other software for taking these exams.
- We will be using an updated version 11 of SofTest this semester. You are required to install this updated version even if you used SofTest last academic year. The version we used last school year has expired.
- The exam files for the Legal Methods and Introduction to American Law exams are now available to download. Please download your exam files by Wednesday, September 21st. Otherwise, expect to handwrite your exams.
- Please make sure to take the Mock Exam to familiarize yourself with SofTest prior to your exam as there will be no opportunity to practice once you are in the examination room. Students who are not prepared to take the exam on a laptop will have to handwrite their exam.
- Laptop examinees are not required to sign up since we expect the majority of students to take exams on a laptop. Instead, we are asking students planning to handwrite their exams to notify Registration Services of their decision by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
On the Day of the Exam:
- You MUST provide your own laptop for the exam. The Law School does not provide laptop computers.
- You MUST bring your power cord. Otherwise, you will have to handwrite your exam.
- You MUST arrive at the exam room 30 minutes before the start of the exam to allow for pre-exam announcements and instructions.
In order to download the software, you will need to log in to the ExamSoft website:
Student ID: Your Law School username (remove hyphens if your username includes a hyphen)
Password: The last 6 digits of your PID number
If you don't remember your PID, you can find it by logging on to Student Services Online. Select any of the options and then select "Show my name and personal data" under "Viewing Options." Click on "Update View" to see your PID.
After installation, launch SofTest and you will be prompted to register. When prompted, enter the Institution ID: columbialaw and click on "Next". On the following screen, using the Student ID and Password referred to above, complete the required fields then click on “Register”.
If you need assistance installing SofTest, please stop by the IT helpdesk during regular business hours.