This page provides information on final exam software for Drake Law School students.
For courses that require a written exam, students have the option of handwriting in BlueBooks or typing answers using specialized test software installed on their own laptop.
Typing exams offers a number of benefits. Students are often able to type faster than they can write, and content manipulation is much easier in a word processing environment. In addition, faculty find it easier to read typed answers than those written in BlueBook.
To offer exams on computer, Drake Law School uses SofTest, a product of ExamSoft WorldWide. The Law School pays SofTest licensing fees, allowing students to use the product at no expense. Students download a new copy of SofTest each academic year, then have access to the program for that year's midterms, finals, and in-class assessments.
On each test day, students launch SofTest and enter a secured word processor. This prevents access to other programs and material, maintaining exam integrity. At each exam's conclusion, answers are securely uploaded via the University's wireless network. No loaner laptops will be available during exams.
ExamSoft SofTest requires Windows XP SP3 or higher when using a PC and Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher when using a Macintosh.
New Installation and Registration
Each academic year, prior to your first computer-based exam in the fall semester, students who would like to take exams on personal laptop will be required to install and register a new copy of SofTest. This guarantees the latest updates have been applied and registers use of the product for exams.
If you need to install and register a copy of SofTest, follow these instructions:
- Download SofTest by going to the ExamSoft site at www.examsoft.com/drakelaw. Log in with your Drake ID and your password (six-digit birthdate: mmddyy) as well as Institution Id ("drakelaw").
- You will be presented with a screen where you can download the latest version. Examsoft will determine which operating system you are currently using and download the appropriate version.
- The SofTest installer will then launch. At the Welcome screen, click "Next." The license agreement follows. Select "I accept the license agreement" and click "Next."
- Click through any windows that follow to complete the installation.
- After installation, SofTest will launch and prompt you to register. Use your nine-digit student ID number as your username; your password is your birth date in six-digit form. Click "Register."
- After a brief pause, you should receive notification of successful registration. Click "OK."
- At this point, SofTest should inform you that exam files are available for download, asking if you would like to download them now. We suggest that you click "No," exiting SofTest.
- You should now be returned to the SofTest Installer. Click "Finish."
In addition to installing and registering SofTest, students will need to download exam templates for each of the exams they plan to take.
Among the exam templates is a "Sample Exam." Each student may download and experiment with this sample exam up to five times. All other exams may only be downloaded once and should not be opened until the time of your exam.
- Launch the SofTest application. When the SofTest Launcher appears, click the button labeled "Download Exam Files." You will be asked for your student ID and password. Use your nine-digit student ID number as your username; your password is your birth date in six-digit form. For example, if your birth date is Jan. 2, 1985, your password would be 010285.
- A list of exam files will appear. This list should contain only exams for courses you are registered, where the instructor is permitting use of SofTest. If an exam does not appear in this list that you believe you should have access to, immediately contact Lori Richman (firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-271-4511, Cartwright Room 128).
- Click to select the top exam in the list and then, holding down the shift key, click the bottom exam in the list. This selects all of the files.
- Click "Download." Once the download has finished a message box should appear indicating successful status. Click "OK," then "Close" when returned to the exam listing.
- Click "Exit" when returned to the SofTest Launcher.
Your computer is now ready for final exams!
Take a Sample Exam
Two options are available if you would like to experiment with SofTest before exam day. Among the exams downloaded, you may have downloaded a file labeled "SampleExam." Our recommendation is that students use this file for experimentation as it offers an exact replica of what individuals will experience on exam day.
Alternatively, SofTest offers its own practice exam, but the environment differs slightly from what we offer.
To take a sample exam, demonstrating what you will experience on exam day, follow these instructions:
- Launch the SofTest application. A shortcut should be available on your desktop. If your laptop is running Windows Vista or Windows 7, a dialog may appear asking if you would like to proceed. Click "Continue." When the SofTest Launcher appears, click the button labeled "Launch SofTest."
- From the Exam File Location drop-down menu, choose "SampleExam-Hennan.xmz." This pre-fills the ID field with your three-digit exam number, also populating the Exam Name and Instructor fields. Our true exam files will also require a password, which proctors will give you on exam day, starting the entire class in unison.
- Click "Begin Exam" near the bottom of the window. SofTest will notify you that it needs to restart your computer. Click "OK."
- After your laptop restarts,= and you log back in, a notice will appear requiring you to type and click "Begin" before entering the word processing component.
- You are now taken to the secure word processing environment. Note that our exam files do not contain exam questions. On exam day, you will receive a printed copy of exam questions and will type your answers in the space provided in SofTest. Features such as spell checking, printing, and font selection are disabled to discourage time spent in formatting.
- When you are ready to close out of the sample exam, click "Exit Exam." A dialog appears to make sure you would like to exit. Click "Close Exam" and "Exit" at the screen that follows.
- SofTest again notifies you that it needs to restart your computer. Click "OK." After your computer restarts and you log back in, SofTest will upload your completed exam. This is how the Law School receives your exam answers. On exam day, exam questions handed out at the start of exams would need to be turned in at this time.
If you would like to take the sample exam an additional time, you will need to redownload the exam template using the instructions on downloading exams.
Note: The sample exam may be downloaded and taken five times for each student; all other exams may only be downloaded once, and should not be opened until the time of your exam.
If you have questions about SofTest or encounter troubles installing or downloading exams, don't hesitate to contact the Law School's Information Technology Department. Contact Lori Richman at 515-271-4511 with any exam related inquiries. No loaner laptops will be available during exams.
Note: Because it is impossible to completely eliminate the potential for computer failure during an exam, students who choose to take exams on computer assume the risk of technical problems and all resulting consequences.
Loss due to technical difficulty is rare, but possible. Avoid any problems by having a reliable computer and power supply.