Exclusive: Hundreds of BPTC ethics exam results issued incorrectly following BSB error

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And not for the first time

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) incorrectly issued hundreds of professional ethics exam results, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The regulator recently informed Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) providers that 551 ethics exam scores had been released before additional marks awarded by the Central Examinations Board had been taken into account. The BSB confirmed to Legal Cheek that no students had marks deducted, however 25 did see their scores upped — moving from a ‘competent’ to a ‘very competent’.

A spokesperson for BSB told us:

“We can confirm that an issue with the spring 2018 professional ethics exam results has recently come to light. The nature of the issue — where some additional marks awarded as a result of examiner interventions were not added to the final score — mean that the majority of candidates’ results are unaffected, and where they are, no candidates have had their marks reduced. We are sorry for the distress caused to students and will now be reviewing our processes to make sure that we learn any lessons for the future to make sure that this situation does not occur again.”

The ethics exam has been a thorn in the BSB’s side for a number of years. Last summer, Legal Cheek revealed that it had asked providers to hold off releasing the results of its ethics exam, after it spotted a number of “clerical errors” in the results. Several presumably panic-filled days later it confirmed that 26 students had been issued with the incorrect marks.

The 2018 BPTC Most List

In 2016, hundreds of wannabe barristers were left angered and confused after unexpectedly failing the ethics exam. At the time, students and at least one senior BPTC academic claimed that the short answer questions on the exam were worded extremely confusingly.

The ethics results cock-up comes just months after the BSB confirmed it was splitting the assessment into two parts. According to a recently released policy statement, bar hopefuls will soon sit one exam during their studies (set by the law school) and a further open-book assessment (set by the BSB) during their pupillage.

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Centrally conducted examination.

Good luck with that SQE, Kaplan.



I feel a lot of people who haven’t recently done the BPTC don’t understand the extent to which the ethics exam is a complete and utter farce. The Mark scheme is completely arbitrary and the main skill is to try and predict what bizarre unpredictable tangent you need to go on to get marks, rather than showing any understanding of ethical principles.

I can only imagine they design it like this to appear as if they “take ethics seriously.” But every year they farcically have to raise the pass mark by 20% so that 90% of the year doesn’t fail it.



You mean “lower the pass mark by 20%” ?



Or…the dislike of Ethics is from arsey BPTC students who are used to rote learning at university to answer familiar patterns of questions and who struggle with a subject that requires broader thought and the ability to adapt to an infinite range of circumstances that rarely have a right or wrong answer.



Tripe ^

The BPTC is a joke in the profession

Just abolish it



Onions ^

Of course it’s considered a joke. Very few barristers will ever admit they were clueless when they started training. And most bang on about how they learnt so much more during pupillage, which is bollocks. They just got shouted at by stressed supervisors but eventually got tenancy so feel pathetically grateful.



“Rarely have a right or wrong answer”

Only the ethics exam has an absurdly rigid mark scheme where everything has a right or wrong answer, and the only way to do well is memorising patterns in past paper mark schemes, to try and understand the bizarro logic of the exam writers. You clearly don’t know what your talking about.

A lot of people assume BPTC students whining about the Ethics exam are just a bunch of incompetents who’ve been ripped off on their course fees and will never become barristers. I remember thinking that too before I started the course and saw how high the fail rates are for ethics.

But the exam is truly ridiculous and I’ve not met a single person on my course who doesn’t think the exam is a joke.



Yeah, sure. A know it all BPTC student speaks.

Are LPC students so far up their own arses?



Hey say something at least about the crash course 9 month GDL, and not the degree



Do you get cholera vaccinations before going in the POOl?



Funny how these errors keep happening yet BPTC students are still expected to accept being fleeced by paying a lot of money for an increasingly poor service. The government should really step in


JD P4rtner

Ethics? Anyone, is this some new fangled legal term? Is it a cryptocurrency?



Yeah bro, it’s the new hot crypto. Come and buy some EthicsKoins, I’m offering cheap



Who regulates the regulators?



The Legal Services Board.



Warren G



Sixteen in the clip, and one in the hole
Nate Dogg is about to make some bodies turn cold






Your mum



Does anybody know the current NQ rate at Berenger Schaffer Geraint LLP?



If you do the work you pass the ethics exam. simples. same as any exam. agree it’s an annoying format but its not f*cking difficult if you put the hours in


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