MacBook Pros with Touch Bars banned from law exams

Enlarge Image                  Sarah Tew  CNET

Enlarge Image Sarah Tew CNET

The Board of Law Examiners of the State of North Carolina rolled out a notice to North Carolina law students with Apple's new MacBook Pro Touch Bar model to disable much of the machine's functionality to be able to use it on the upcoming 2017 Bar Examination. "By default, the Touch Bar will show predictive text depending on what the student is typing, compromising exam integrity".

Are you taking the Bar Exam next month and have the 2016 Apple MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar? May states are banning the use of Apple's latest MacBook Pros because of the predictive nature of the Touch Bar, though some are still allowing it if the feature is disabled. We recently showed how it could be programmed to run a fully functioning version of the classic game Doom independently of the main display.

If you're planning to take the bar exam, you should check the rules for your state.

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Applicants are also provided with instructions on how to disable the Touch Bar on their MacBook Pros, and IT engineers that will attend the exams will try to make sure that everyone with the new device have already turned off this feature. Technicians from ExamSoft, a software company that provides testing software to the Board of Law Examiners will be there to ensure that feature of your MacBook Pro's is disabled.

The Board of Examiners of the State of North Carolina published an announcement on its website to inform that applicants need to disable the Touch Bar during tests, and although the organization does not mention cheating specifically, it's very clear that this is the main concern.

It is possible for those with know how to code custom apps or use others that in theory could be used to cheat, so it's something for other institutions administering tests in a bring-your-device environment to think about. All fees for the software re-installation will be waived by the state.