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  • What is Exam4?

    Exam4 is a word processing program, just like Microsoft Word, that you will use to write your in-class and take-home exams. You will have to download the software each semester (Fall, Winter and Spring) in order for it to work. For in-class exams, you will still receive a hard copy of the exam questions to use – only your answer gets typed into Exam4.
    For take-home exams, you will download the exam question from the Exam4 site. You will then write your answer on your computer and electronically submit your answer via Exam4 at the end of the allotted time.
    You are responsible for knowing how Exam4 works for both in-class and take-home exams. ITS and Registrar’s Office staff will be on hand to deal with unforeseen technical difficulties that arise, but the primary responsibility for using and understanding Exam4 belongs to the student.

  • Will I have access to normal editing functions?

    Exam4 allows access to cut, copy, paste, undo / redo, delete and select all within your exam text. The “Delete” key (in Windows) does not function on a character-by character basis, but does work to delete highlighted text. Cut, copy, paste within your exam document as well as undo / redo may all be used via the Menu, or their shortcut keys. Keep in mind, with CLOSED, OPEN and OPEN + NETWORK exam modes, Exam4 prohibits cutting and pasting to and from external files.

  • Is there spell check?

    Yes. Exam4 spell check is located in the Tools menu. You may use it at any time, although it will not check the spelling as you type.

  • Does the software do anything strange that I’m not used to when writing?

    If you highlight and delete more than 100 characters of text, a warning box pops up and asks if you are sure you want to do that.Its just a double- check for you, but may be disconcerting to have it pop up. Just check the box, and keep writing! The Exam4 window is not a full-screen window. You are not able to change the size of the window while typing your exam. When cutting and pasting text from Word into an exam in TAKEHOMEmode, you may lose A lot of formatting. We recommend that you DO NOT type your exam in Word, however, if you do, make sure that you leave yourself enough time to look over the formatting at the end of the exam. If you are typing your exam in Exam4, then you don’t need to worry about this.

  • Can I use footnotes?

    No. Exam4 does not allow footnotes.

  • Do I have to use Exam4 if I’m going to write my exam on my laptop?

    Yes. All students must use the Exam4 software.

  • Will I still be able to take my takehome exam on a library or computer lab computer?

    Yes. The computers in the WCC and Langdell library computer labs will have Exam4 downloaded on them.


  • What if I still have problems or questions with the download or installation?

    For any and all technical questions, please go to >Law Schools >User / TechSupport. They are your primary contact for all technical issues with Exam4. From 7am – 11pm Monday through Friday during exam periods, your e-mails will be priority.  The HelpDesk also offers limited support.

  • I’m not sure my computer will be compatible with the exam software. What do I do?

    Most Windows and Mac operating systems are supported. For the most current list of supported operating systems, please visit the Exam4 site.
    If you are using a Mac or Windows Vista, you must give yourself administrator rights. If you need help with this, you can go to the Help Desk (
    Linux operating systems are NOT supported.
    If you have further questions about this, please don’t hesitate to go to and follow the links for user support.

  • I have a Mac. Is there anything that is different between Macs and Windows?

    There are some small differences between Windows and Macs using Exam4.

    If you have a Mac, you need to be set up as an administrator. Otherwise, you will need to type in your computer’s password in order to start the exam. If you need help with this, please get in touch with the Help Desk (

    Both Macs and Windows have a “delete” key. On Windows, this key deletes text forward of it, and is disabled in Exam4. With Macs, this key works fine. In CLOSED mode, both Windows computers and Macs perform a security check prior to the exam.

    When you download the software each semester, Windows computers will automatically overwrite the old software with the new software. Mac users will have to choose to run the correct software version, so we highly recommend that Mac users uninstall any old Exam4 versions.

  • Will the software take up a lot of room on my hard drive and make my computer slower?

    No. Exam4’s software package is small, and will not affect the normal operation of your computer.

  • What if I have a problem with my laptop during exams?

    The Student Help Desk will have loaner laptops on hand for you to borrow. They will be available for in-class exams only, on a first-come first-served basis. You may come to the Student Help Desk the day before your exam to check on laptop availability.  If you are unable to obtain a loaner, please contact the Registrar’s Office at

  • I download this once, and then I’m done, right?

    No. You have to download a new version depending on the semester (Fall Midterms, Fall & Winter Finals, Spring Midterms, Spring Finals).

    For Windows users, the new version will automatically overwrite the old version. Mac users will have to run the most recently downloaded version and we strongly suggest that you uninstall older versions of the software manually. Once done with exams for a semester, Mac users can uninstall their software, to make sure that when they download the newest version, they will be using the correct version.

  • Do I have to take a practice exam?

    Practice exams are strongly encouraged. Taking a practice test involves no more than 10 minutes of your time. Practice tests are a good way to have your computer run through the Security Check in CLOSED mode (see below) and so you get used to the options and features of Exam4. You can take as many practice tests as you need to in order to feel comfortable taking an exam with the software.

    Do NOT wait until the day of the exam to take your practice test.

    If you have any technical problems or questions that arise during your practice test, you can always go to and follow the links for user support. They are available from 7am – 11pm Monday through Friday.

    NOTE: You will not be able to retrieve the content of your practice exam, so do not use it to write anything that you’d like to access at a later date.

  • How do I take a practice exam?

    Taking a practice exam is about making sure Exam4 runs as expected on your computer, and it gives you a chance to become familiar with the interface. Launch Exam4 and follow the on-screen instructions.

    When you get to the course list, choose “Practice Exam.” Do NOT choose an actual exam.

    There is no “practice exam question,” just a blank page where you type your exam answer. For the Exam ID, use any two- or three-digit number. For the Exam Mode, enter OPEN.

    If you encounter any problems during your practice exam, please go to User Support at, available for rapid response between 7am – 11pm.

    NOTE: You will not be able to retrieve the content of your practice exam, so do not use it to write anything that you’d like to access at a later date.

  • Can I access my practice exam, or get a copy of my answer after I submit it?

    No. Practice exams serve to help students familiarize themselves with the software, make sure it’s compatible with their operating systems, etc.  They are not meant to be used as a study tool, and should not contain content that you wish to retrieve.


  • What is my Exam ID?

    Your Exam (or Anonymous) ID is a random 6-digit identification number that is used on your exams. You can find it on your home page in Helios. Your Exam ID will change each term.

  • What do the different exam modes mean?

    CLOSED: You have access only to the exam you are typing. You may not access your hard drive, applications, or the internet. Once you end your exam, you may not go back and re-edit it.Your computer will run through a 1-2 minute Security Check prior to beginning. We expect that you will use this time to read the exam question. If your computer fails the security check, you can try re-booting and re-starting the software. If this doesn’t work, you must go to a library lab computer.

    OPEN: You may access your hard drive and other applications, but do not have access to the internet. Exam4 prohibits cutting and pasting from any external document into the exam screen. Most exams will be in this OPEN mode. Once you end your exam, you may not go back and re-edit it.

    OPEN + NETWORK: You have access to your hard drive, applications, and the internet. Exam4 prohibits cutting and pasting from any external document into the exam screen. Once you end your exam, you may not go back and re-edit it.

    TAKEHOME: What you use for a take-home exam. You may access your hard drive, other applications and the internet. You will be able to cut and paste external text into your exam. You may go into and out of this exam as many times as you want during the 8-hours that you are working your exam. Once you have exited an exam in the CLOSED, OPEN or OPEN +NETWORK mode, you will not be able to get back into it. You may exit an exam in TAKEHOME mode, it will be saved, and you can start it again later.

  • How can I end my take-home exam and then get back in while I’m writing my exam?

    If you want to exit the Exam4 interface during an exam in TAKEHOME mode, select End Exam from the File menu. You will receive the option to Submit electronically or Suspend Exam. Do NOT electronically submit the exam. Choose the Suspend Exam option.  This saves the exam to your hard drive. When you want to start your exam again, select “Select Existing Exam” from the Exam4 start screen. Select the correct exam and select “Begin Exam.” You are now back in your exam and can continue to work on it.

  • Can I write my takehome exam in Word?

    Ultimately, your take-home exam must be submitted in Exam4.  Although you will be able to cut and paste from a Word document into Exam4 in TAKEHOME mode, we strongly recommend that you write your exam directly in Exam4.  One reason for our recommendation is that formatting and word counts will not be preserved when copying from an outside application into Exam4.  More importantly, however, Exam4 files are backed up every two minutes, and easily retrieved in the case of computer malfunction.  Word does not provide you this protection.  If while writing in Word (or any other application other than Exam4) your computer crashes and you lose some of your writing, we will not be able to assist you and there will be no recourse.

  • What is the Security Check?

    The Security Check is a mandatory check of the hard drive of Windows computers for files that may interfere with Exam4 in CLOSEDmode only. Once you select “Begin Exam” the Security Check will begin. It usually takes between 30 – 40 seconds, but can take up to 2 minutes. In this time, you may begin reading your exam question. As long as the indicator is moving, the scan is active.
    If the Security Check finds a file that it considers to be a risk, you will not be allowed to start your exam without correcting the problem first. You will not get extra exam time to take care of this. Also keep in mind that anything you download in between the time of your practice exam and actual exam may affect the Security Check. If you have any problems or questions about this, please follow the links for User Support at for help.

  • The Security Check found a file that is a security risk. Can someone override it so I can start my exam?

    No. If you are in your exam and the Security Check has found a problem, you will either need to correct it on the spot, or ask the Proctor to continue your exam in the Langdell library lab. We strongly encourage you to take practice exams close to your actual exam day to clear up any Security Check issues. Remember, the Security Check takes place for CLOSED exams only. If you have any questions about this, please go to for user support.

  • What is the Answer Separator?

    The Answer Separator is a feature of Exam4 that allows you to separate out the word counts by question. Do NOT edit the Answer Separators in any way – it will not count your words correctly if you do.

  • There’s an option for Multiple Choice – what is that?

    Exam4 allows some functionality for multiple choice tests. A limited number of HLS exams will use this feature.  If appropriate to your exam, you will be able to select this menu item to enter your multiple choice and true/false answers.  For Multiple Choice questions, click the “Multiple Choice” item on the menu bar.  There are two ways you can navigate between the questions. You can use the arrow buttons to scroll up and down through the questions or you can click directly onto the question in the list on the left.  Use the A-F fields to answer your questions (A and B also serve as True and False, respectively).  Once a question is answered, you can change your response by first unlocking the answer by clicking on the “Unlock” button directly to the right of the A-F fields.  If you want to remove an answer entirely, click on the “Clear” button. When you are done answering your multiple choice questions, click on the “Hide” button.

  • Will Exam4 save my exam as I’m typing it?

    Yes, Exam4 automatically saves your exam to your hard drive every 2 minutes.

  • What happens if my computer crashes during the exam?

    Raise your hand to notify a proctor that there is a problem. Do not re-start your computer until you have seen a proctor.Do NOT “End” you exam. If you end your exam, you won’t be able to get back into it. You should force-quit out of Exam4 and manually re-start your computer. You may re-boot your computer and begin again, all while under proctor supervision. You will get one re-boot attempt and 5 minutes to remedy the problem. Remember, Exam4 saves backup files to your hard drive every 2 minutes, so the work you had done until that point will be saved.You will be able to start your exam right where you left off. If you are not able to re-start your exam on your own computer, the exam clock will stop for you and you can take your things to the Langdell Library computer lab. You may finish your exam on a lab computer, and will get back any time you have lost. Depending on the situation, you may or may not have access to what you have previously written.

    We strongly encourage you to take as many practice tests as you can to in order to feel comfortable working with the software.

  • What if _____________ (fill in your own situation here) happens during my exam?

    For any unforeseen exam circumstances, raise your hand to alert the proctor, who will make a note of it. The Registrar will review the situation and send all exam problems to the Administrative Board for disposition. You will need to finish your exam on a library computer lab if you are unable to do so on your own computer.

  • How can I tell how many pages I’ve written?

    Exam4 counts only words and not pages. You will not be able to rely on the estimated page counter.

  • I accidentally ended my in-class exam when I didn’t mean to. Can I get back into it?

    No. In the CLOSED, OPEN and OPEN + NETWORK exam mode, you can exit the exam one time only. There is a check box which you have to mark in order to be sure you want to exit the exam. We strongly encourage everyone to take a practice exam in order to see what this box looks like. Exam4 puts that double-check box into the system on purpose, so that it is very difficult to end your exam by accident. With take-home exams, you will be able to get back into and out of the exam multiple times over the course of the day.

  • My completed exam didn’t upload. What should I do?

    First, make sure that you’re wireless internet is turned on. If you feel that it is taking an extremely long time, raise your hand to alert a proctor. You can exit out of Exam4 and then re-start the program. Choose “Select Existing Exam” and click “Submit Electronically” in the bottom right corner of the window. If this doesn’t work, then from the same screen, choose “Save As.” Save the exam file to your desktop and attach it in an email to the Registrar’s Office (

  • Can I review my exam after I’ve submitted it?

    Exam4 saves only encrypted copies of your exam answer – your exam administrators can read it, but you won’t be able to. In TAKEHOME mode, you can copy your text to Word before ending your exam.

    If you would like a copy of your exam text, email the Registrar’s Office ( with the exams you want, including faculty, term, and your Exam ID. We can send you PDF files of your exams for the current academic year only. Please note, requests for exam copies will not be addressed during an exam period; requests will be held and processed after the exam period is over. For requests received outside of an exam period, there is a 3-5 business day processing period.

  • How will take-home exams be different with Exam4?

    With Exam4, you will download your exam questions from home, type the exam, and then upload your answers via Exam4. You can go to, follow the links to Harvard Law School, and choose the correct take-home exam. Enter your Exam ID and click a confirmation box, and you will be able to view the exam question, or download it in .pdf format. You MUST go to the Exam4 web site to get the exam question – it will NOT appear when you start the software up!
    The 8-hour exam clock starts to run when you download the exam question. You must submit your exam within that 8-hour window, otherwise it will be marked late.
    Your exam mode is TAKEHOME, which allows cutting and pasting from external documents into your exam, as well as access to the internet. In TAKEHOME mode, Exam4 acts just like Microsoft Word, as a word processing program.
    We print all exams in Times New Roman, double-spaced font, even though that is not what you see on your screen.

  • I submitted my take-home exam, but now I would like to edit it and re-submit it. Can I do that?

    No. Once you submit your take-home exam, that is like handing it in to a proctor. You may not edit and then re-submit your exam. Please make sure that when you submit the exam, it is complete and a final version. Uploading multiple copies of the same exam (for example, if you are not sure the first submission went through) is ok, but only the first submission received will be given to the faculty member.

  • Can I still do my any-day take-home exam over the weekend?

    Full technical and administrative support for exams is available Monday through Friday, from 8:30am until 5pm EST.  While you may take your anyday takehome exam in the evening or during the weekend, please note that support is extremely limited during off-business hours: ITS and administrative offices are closed, and response time from Exam4 support is slower.  The Registrar’s Office staff will monitor email, but on a limited basis.  While you may choose to take your exam during off-business hours, you assume a risk that assistance may not be immediately available should you encounter any problems.

  • When do I have to download my one-day take-home exam?

    All ONE-day take-home exams will be available for download starting at 7:30am on their scheduled exam day. Once you download the question, except when noted otherwise on the exam instructions, you have 8-hours to electronically submit your answer. Exams which are downloaded between 7:30am-8:30am will have 8-hours from the time they are downloaded to submit the answer (example: an exam downloaded at 7:45am is due by 3:45pm). PLEASE NOTE: exams downloaded after 8:30am will not have the full 8-hours to complete and submit since the exam is due by 4:30pm.

    ANY-day take-home exams may be downloaded anytime during the exam period. You will have 8 hours from when you download the question to when you electronically submit your answer. All exam answers must be electronically submitted 8 hours after download, or by 4:30pm EST on the last day of the scheduled exam period, whichever is earlier.

  • I like to write a lot for exams – is there a maximum page limit?

    Yes. Exam4 will begin to hit its maximum file size near 20 single-spaced pages. You will receive warnings before you’re about to hit this point. When you see the warning, come to an appropriate stopping point and submit your exam. Then, you may continue by starting a new exam.  If you submit two exam files to accommodate for length, please notify the Registrar’s Office so that both files will be submitted for grading.

  • If I am taking my exam away from Cambridge in a different time zone, do I need to follow the Eastern Standard Time when determining my start and end times?

    Yes, all HLS exams are scheduled using Eastern Standard Time (EST).  For example, if you are planning to take your exam in California and it is a 8-hour takehome scheduled from 8:30am-4:30pm EST, you will need to plan to take your exam at 5:30am and submit by 1:30pm in order to be on time.