If you’re taking the bar exam this year, you may not be able to use your MacBook laptop. Some states are banning the use of the newest MacBook Pros because of its new touch bar feature.
Why is the new MacBook Pro banned?
ExamSoft, the company that licenses the software for students taking the bar exam on their laptops, believes that the new MacBook Pro touch bar could help students cheat while taking the bar exam. The touch bar acts as a secondary screen that makes applications and webpages accessible with a simple touch. ExamSoft is concerned about the predictive text feature. According to a published note from the company, "By default, the Touch Bar will show predictive text depending on what the student is typing, compromising exam integrity." The predictive text feature may suggest common legal terms and phrases, giving some students an advantage during the exam.
Where is it banned?
Some states like North Carolina have decided to allow students to use their MacBook Pros as long as the touch bar feature is disabled. (Click here for ExamSoft instructions on how to disable the touch bar.) Other states such as New York, California and Colorado are banning the use of these laptops altogether. If you do bring a new MacBook Pro to a bar exam in a state where it is banned, you will not be able to use it, and you will have to handwrite your answers. Be sure to check your jurisdiction to see whether or not the MacBook Pro with a touch bar is allowed.
Bar exam candidates who have downloaded the software onto the new MacBook Pros with the touch bar are allowed to re-download the ExamSoft software onto another laptop for free if they do it in advance.