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This Dorm Room Fund-backed startup wants to modernize the college exam

College students all over the country take final exams in "blue books," booklets of lined paper where they respond to essay prompts. That just doesn't make sense anymore, said Penn senior Alex Rattray.

David Ginzberg. (Courtesy photo)

College students all over the country still take final exams in “blue books,” booklets of lined paper where they respond to essay prompts. That just doesn’t make sense anymore, said Penn senior Alex Rattray.

So he built Emerald Exam, software that lets students take exams on their own computers. What started out as a project at the AngelHack Boston hackathon is today’s answer to the blue book, Rattray said, adding that it’s cheat-proof and bad handwriting-proof.

More than 500 high school and college students in Philadelphia, New York City and Dallas have used Emerald Exam, which is still in beta mode, the founders told the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Backed by the Dorm Room Fund, Emerald is a team of three Penn students: Rattray, sophomore Lauren Reeder and former PennApps director Pulak Mittal. Mittal, a Dorm Room Fund investor, was so impressed with Emerald Exam that he decided to join the startup after considering it for the fund’s portfolio.

Mittal and Rattray are both graduating in two weeks and plan to spend the next six months in University City, working on the startup, Mittal said. They haven’t decided what to do after that, though they’re definitely considering staying in the city.

“I have a lot of loyalty to the tech scene here because I’ve seen it grow,” Mittal said.

If they do leave, it’ll be in part because the ever-involved Mittal said he might need a break from all the action, a break that would let him focus exclusively on the company.

Companies: Emerald Exam / Dorm Room Fund / University of Pennsylvania
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