Bar exam too hard for Intel's 12th Gen CPU

The latest Intel processors are incompatible with one of the nation's most popular test-taking software packages, Examplify.

Users are advised to avoid 12th Gen Intel processors by ExamSoft, its owner. Currently, Examplify does not support Windows devices containing Intel 12th generation chipsets that trigger its automatic virtual machine check.

It is unclear when Examplify added the information that laptops with an Intel 12 Gen processor are not supported. Even if it came months ago, it wouldn't have been much of a warning.

If you have the latest hardware on your laptop, who would read that page? It's like asking someone with the highest-end GPU to check system requirements before they start playing.

It's difficult for students to switch laptops if theirs aren't compatible. The software does not support desktops, Chromebooks, or Linux computers - only MacBooks that run macOS Catalina or above, or Windows laptops that are old enough to have Intel processors but are new enough to have Windows 10 or 11.

Beyond the tweet, it is unclear if students were warned in any other way. In many states, the Bar exam is administered by Examplify, a piece of software. More than 150 law schools across the US use it for remote testing. Last year, Examplify bar exams went poorly, too.

The bar exam last year went too smoothly using Examplify. Bloomberg Law reports students had trouble uploading files, had their essays deleted, and were kicked out of the test due to facial recognition glitches — if the test didn't crash entirely.

It's up to the individual jurisdictions administering the Bar exam to figure out the issue, according to NCBE, the organization that develops the Bar exam itself. Each state chooses the exam software, according to NCBE spokesperson Valerie Hickman.

The NCBE is aware of ExamSoft's communication to examinees regarding Windows devices with Intel's 12th generation chipset, despite not being directly involved with the exam administration. If you have questions, contact ExamSoft or your jurisdiction directly.

According to Bloomberg Law, NCBE said it was 'supporting the jurisdictions' when reporting technical difficulties during last year's exams.

It's not the only compatibility issue we've encountered lately with Intel processors. In both 11th and 12th Gen Intel processors, the SGX extension was dropped, making Blu-rays in 4K hard to play. For Blu-rays to play in 4K, SGX is required for DRM processing.

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