Some young lawyers taking the bar exam online could see their scores cancelled if they touch their face, fidget, or twirl their hair

  • Candidates taking Tennessee’s online bar exam in October shouldn’t stand up, touch their face, or move around too much, or their scores might be cancelled.
  • The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners sent an email to candidates with preliminary rules and tips for taking online exams on Friday, seen by Business Insider.
  • “As a dude with Tourette’s, I couldn’t comply with any of these stay still requirements,” commented one user on Facebook.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bar exam candidates in Tennessee shouldn’t touch their face, twirl their hair, or fidget excessively if they want to pass.

According to an email of preliminary rules and tips for the October online exam from the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners seen by Business Insider, test-takers will have to abide by a number of rules or risk having their scores cancelled on suspicion of cheating.

Also among the rules sent to test candidates on Friday: No paper of any kind, or standing up at any time. The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners was unable to be reached for comment at the time of publication.

The bar exam in Tennessee was originally postponed from July to September 30-October 1. The Supreme Court of Tennessee then issued an order cancelling the in-person September test, announcing that it will instead administer an online, remote exam on October 5-6.

Read more:
New York’s bar exam is cancelled. Here’s why calls are mounting for the test to be canned completely.

The list of rules and tips is “a preliminary list only,” the email from the board said. “The final code of conduct will be provided in the general information manual,” referring to the manual is sent to applicants prior to the exam.

The strict preliminary guidelines for the Tennessee bar exam reflect concerns over how to ensure fairness and compliance to rules in an online testing environment. This comes as more states are turning toward online versions of the test amid growing upheavals to the bar exam caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as previously reported by Business Insider. New York, the country’s largest bar exam, announced on Thursday that it would be moving its exam online.

The rules have also been circulating on Twitter and lawyer Facebook groups.

Many to-be test-takers find these rules to be more than a little draconian. “V cool for anyone who is a sentient human being,” someone commented on a screenshot of the rules posted Friday in the Facebook group, Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. The group has more than 85,000 members, and is a hub for sharing snarky memes and commiserating with fellow “3Ls, 2Ls, and those filthy 1Ls.”

Read more:
Law firms like Kirkland & Ellis and Jones Day are delaying their first-year associate classes. Here’s everything you need to know.

Others point out that the bar’s strict rules are nearly impossible to adhere to when you have a disability.

“As a dude with Tourette’s, I couldn’t comply with any of these stay still requirements,” commented another user on Facebook.

The National Disabled Law Students Association is circulating a survey on accessibility concerns surrounding the online bar exam.

See an excerpt from the email from the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners below:

Tennessee law exam screenshotProvided by a bar exam candidate
Provided by a bar exam candidateA screenshot of an email obtained by Business Insider from the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.

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