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BPTC student calls for the immediate introduction of ‘unlimited’ exam resits

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Online petition claims the regulator’s recently-announced assessment tweaks are ‘prejudicial’ towards those currently completing the course

Plans to allow Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students an unlimited number of attempts at each centralised assessment are “prejudicial”, according to a new online petition. This is because wannabe barristers who have already started the course are unable to take advantage of the new resit format.

In April, the Bar Standard Board (BSB) announced a number of changes to the way barristers are trained in England and Wales. The tweaks include permitting BPTC-ers “an unlimited number of attempts” at each centralised assessment (civil, criminal and ethics) within “a maximum period of five years”. Currently, aspiring barristers are given three attempts to pass each exam over a two year period.

This, however, hasn’t gone down well with everyone.

An anonymous BPTC student has launched a petition claiming that the new exam approach is “prejudicial” to current students because it isn’t due to come into effect for at least a year. The Change.org petition states:

“The current BPTC cohort of 2018 feel as though these changes are prejudicial to current students, and past students who have paid £16-20k, to only be able to take each exam three times, within two years.
We appreciate that many will assume that three sits within two years is enough. However, it evidently is not as the BSB have decided to change this.”

Calling for the new resit system to be implemented now and subsequently backdated, the online appeal continues:

“This petition proposes that the BSB allows the same rule to be implemented for the 2017-2018 cohort, as well as 2018-2019 cohort. We understand that many cohorts will want the same principle, and they can do so by way of this petition.”

Screenshot of the Change.org petition

Responding to the petition, a BSB spokesperson told Legal Cheek:

“It must be stressed that the curriculum and assessment changes represent a package of measures and it would be neither right nor possible to introduce them piecemeal. We expect that the earliest that the changes relating to centralised assessments could come into force will be September 2020. Please note that the new strategy is part of our wider future bar training changes to the training and qualification of barristers which are subject to the Legal Services Board approving the new rules.”

This isn’t the first time a BPTC student has felt compelled to launch an online appeal.

The 2018 BPTC Most List

Earlier this year, an aspiring barrister called on the regulator to make centralised exams open-book format. Branding the current approach “draconian”, the unnamed bar hopeful questioned why students can’t take books into exams if practising barristers can regularly “refer to the book[s]” for guidance in court.

And it appears the regulator was listening (or perhaps it was just a happy coincidence). As part of the exam overhaul, the BSB also confirmed that civil litigation will now be split into two exams: a closed-book “Civil Litigation and Evidence” assessment and an open-book “Civil Dispute Resolution” exam.

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49 Comments

Anonymous

Now for LPC please and let’s uncap those marks, you could start over Thomas ‘the Tank Engine’ Connolly!

(6)(1)

Passed first time notwithstanding illness of counsel

This is a mistake.

The profession needs the best.

There should be a pass/fail with no resits and retakes to weed out those who are not cut out for the profession.

Special exemption for illness/disability, of course.

(60)(10)

Anonymous

Six BPTC failures didn’t like your comment.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

Lol

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Also mildly criticising a LC sponsor gets an instant removal. Go figure.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Meh if you fail something 3 times over the course of 2 years…

There lacks competency in the way you work.

No chance of succeeding in chambers.

(56)(2)

Anonymous

The BPTC fundamentally doesn’t prepare anyone for the job a barrister does. The inability to recite the CPR and CrimPR verbatim is not a bar to success as an advocate. However, they already remedied this with the multiple choice exams. As unfortunate as it is, under the current system anything which increases the BPTC pass rate will make attaining a pupilage more difficult. If your resitting unlimited times you have no chance.

The regulator needs to create training which is meaningful and allows candidates to display genuine competency which is applicable in the real world. As with anything, some good people will always fall out of the loop because above all this is a numbers game.

(23)(0)

Alan Blacker (AKA Lord Harley of Counsel)

Here, Here. I never passed, and I was doing alright….

For a while

(12)(0)

Dr Bumgardener

The state of your faeces suggests that you are no longer alright.

(3)(1)

The SRA

Yes, they come out of his mouth now.

(3)(0)

Barrister

Anonymous, you are mistaken beyond words. You need to understand, 85% of students who take the Bar exam do not even intend to practise here! Go look at how many locals are in each provider. I can bet you it would be no more than 5-10% of the entire cohort. And the reason so many international students come to do the bar exam is cause of the history of those countries in relation to the involvement of the Bristish empire in our countries.

(0)(0)

Large Tony

Heh. The course is not that hard, the exam is presumably easier with the experience of each retake so the threshold effectively lowers.

By the way, rollinfriday splinter group forum here: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/lawbla/forum-f2/

Come and join us!

(4)(4)

Anonymous

So the BSB are saying they cannot add unlimited resits because it takes a few years to do so? Lol.

I fail to comprehend how hard it is to publish “BPTC students you are now able to have unlimited sits within 5 years… many thanks… cheerio”

The current BPTC cohort isn’t exactly asking for different exams, just more sits :S

Unbelievable response from BSB.

(0)(10)

Anonymous

All BSB policy changes have to be approved by the LSB under the Legal Services Act 2007. A process which generally takes several months, and which would be pointless given that, in several months time, the new rules will apply anyway.

You’re failure to understand that isn’t exactly a glowing indictment of your skills as a lawyer.

(3)(3)

Anonymous

Your garbage English is an indictment against you, lawyer or not.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

Love you xo

(0)(0)

Anonymous

If you can’t manage it by your third attempt you shouldn’t be there in the first place…

(33)(0)

Anonymous

Completely agree!

(1)(0)

Truly Competent

Seems ridiculous. Does anyone know what the effect is on the overall mark? If say, you had mainly very competents but failed a module, would you still be eligible for a very competent if you passed it on a retake? Because that would seem to be a bit of a contradiction.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

You cannot get a VC is you fail more than 2 modules in the BPTC course

(2)(0)

Truly Competent

Thanks. Does that include failing the same module twice?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Yes.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I miss Katie King.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

I long for an article about a feminist cake baking Amal impersonator who has a law degree and a Instagram page.

(19)(1)

Trumpenkrieg

Get ready for lots of bitter and salty tears from the mediocre offspring of the middle classes whose parents have invested tens of thousands of pounds on preparing them to pass exams first time

(6)(0)

Anonymous

If you require multiple resits then you aren’t cut out for life at the Bar

(17)(0)

Dr Frankenstein

Ain’t nobody got time for resits!!

(3)(1)

The Monster

Daddy!!!!!

(9)(0)

Anonymous

Unlimited resits are less about making exams easier, introducing fairness or whatever BS argument has been raised and is more about bolstering the coffers of BPP and their ilk in resit fees. This is nothing short of exploitation

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Actually it will generate less money for the providers, because now someone who fails will be allowed to do more retakes rather than being charged the full £19k to restart the course all over again.

(2)(1)

Mack

Show me ANYONE at the junior Bar who failed the BPTC multiple times. This is bollocks and it is only to generate more £.

(13)(2)

Anonymous

Actually it will generate less money for the providers, because now someone who fails will be allowed to do more retakes rather than being charged the full £19k to restart the course all over again.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

If you sit the BPTC twice you deserve to be robbed…

(12)(0)

Anon

Actually I failed one centralised assessment 3 times and re-sat the whole course at my own expense, whilst working full-time to fund it. I passed that centralised assessment with a High VC. I am now at the junior bar, building my work year on year and have not used my knowledge of that subject matter since.

However I do not agree with unlimited resits. If you have failed an exam three times, there is a fundamental flaw in your understanding of the subject and you need to go through the training again.

(11)(1)

Anonymous

❄️❄️❄️

(4)(1)

Anonymous

“Failed lawyer doesn’t understand how regulation works”

Quelle fucking surprise.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Quel**

(0)(0)

Un Pedant

Merci

(1)(0)

Mr Charles

Unlimited resits is a bad idea. Allows weak candidates with no chance of pupillage to foolishly chase a dream they have no chance of fulfilling. Max three resits for each exam.

(4)(3)

Mr Mann

No resits barring exceptional circumstances.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Whilst the BPTC is not renowned for its academic challenge it is nevertheless a good tester – pass it and you have the core skills to be a barrister. Its not hard to pass – you do the work, put in the hours and pass the exams. If you fail it once, ok maybe that’s a bad day, fail it twice and it should be game over. I recruit pupils – never have I seen someone with more than one retake get to interview. A good 2:1 and BPTC passed first time with a very competent does not even guarantee an interview these days. Retake it 100 times if you want but don’t expect to be at the Bar.

(12)(0)

Anonymous

^this.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Hmm, while I did pass everything first time round, some of the marks are pretty arbitrary. Like, I thought I submitted two opinions of comparable quality in my options – 89 and 73, no idea where the large disparity came from. So I’d say you may fail due to bad luck

(0)(3)

Anonymous

Today has been a slow day.

(0)(0)

Lord Flashart of Blackadder

What a load of tosh. If you fail the BPTC once it should be game over. Can you imagine telling a client “Sorry I got it wrong but you can have another attempt at this. And it will cost you more.”

Life and work is not fair. You fail. You succeed. Some have got it, others have not. Although I did not get pupillage after the BVC, I am doing well.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

This is totally ridiculous – if you can’t pass the BPTC in three attempts then you shouldn’t be a barrister. Similarly, if you can’t memorise enough to pass the central assesments without having the White Book/Blackstones on you then you’re just not up to it.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

One attempt and no more. ☝️

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.

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