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BPP introduces video advocacy entrance exam for BPTC

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One of the biggest bar course providers to bring in aptitude test

BPP Law School is to launch a new video-based advocacy assessment to restrict entry onto its Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

Aspiring barristers hoping to secure a spot on the law school giant’s year-long vocational course next year will now have to submit a video demonstrating their advocacy skills alongside their online application. Students must successfully complete the written application and pass the video element to be offered a place.

Moves towards BPTC aptitude tests began in 2012, when the now-defunct Kaplan bar course became the first BPTC provider to introduce an entrance exam. ULaw followed two years later, with a big jump in its pupillage success rate. With BPP now adopting this approach there will be pressure for other providers to follow.

Commenting on the development, BPP’s head of professional routes (barristers), Anna Banfield, stressed that the written submissions to its BPTC were still important to determine a sufficient level of academic competence. Banfield continued:

“However, the additional video component will provide us with greater insight, in the form of objective evidence, of core oral communication skills, so we can make an even more informed judgment earlier in the process to determine who we offer a place to on our course. Previously, we have held interviews for some candidates later in the process. This year we will have this additional insight up front for everyone. That is both more timely and equitable for all candidates and helps us to ensure that we select the very best candidates who can go on and succeed in a career at the bar”.

BPP confirmed that further details on how to complete the new assessment, including the topics which applicants can choose to discuss, will be released next week.

The 2019 BPTC Most List

Christopher Kessling, head of law at BPP Holborn, added: “We’re interested in the raw advocacy potential of students not a slick, voiced-over commercial. Three to five minutes on a suitable topic filmed on a smart phone is all we need, as long as the candidate is visible and their voice is audible. It’s really about giving candidates the opportunity to showcase their talent”.

As things stand, students must hold at least hold at least a 2:2 degree (either in law or non-law plus a pass in the Graduate Diploma Law (GDL)) to be eligible for a spot on the BPTC. However, the vast majority of providers (including BPP) require students to hold at least a 2:1.

The entry requirements, which are set by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and not law schools themselves, have been widely criticised for not being rigorous enough and allowing students with very little hope of securing pupillage to accumulate thousands of pounds worth of debt. Legal Cheek’s BPTC Most List shows students can pay as much as £19,000 to do the vocational course.

Appearing to respond to the criticism, in 2013 the regulator launched a Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) in a bid to filter out weaker wannabe barristers. The assessment, which consists of 60 multiple choice questions and costs £150 to sit, has itself received criticism in the past for being too easy.

As part of today’s announcement, BPP also confirmed BPTC applicants will now automatically be considered for an advocacy scholarship, based on their video performance, or an academic excellence scholarship, based on the written application, worth up to £5000, without having to submit a separate application.

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22 Comments

Anonymous

The company that is producing and selling these video interview products to law firms and now BPP must have a good sales department.

BPP Law School Holborn

I just took such an enormous beer shit on the fifth floor bogs. Pity the fool who gets a whiff of the traps

BPP Law School Holborn Student

What I am about to say may sound creepy, but I think it is cute. I actually quite like visiting cubiles after somebody has done a particularly fragrant poo. There is something that intrigues me and slightly excites me about the wonderful smells of the excrement that my peers produce. I particularly like it if I know who the culprit is – where possible I try and go into a particular cubile after I see a classmate leaving it. I will often take out notepad on my phone and keep notes on people I know.

Not using BPP’s Toilets Again

What the…

Anonymous

OK, this is even weirder than the adult nappy pervert who pops up here from time to time.

Seek help before it goes too far!

Not aroused

I used to enjoy trawling the bogs at BPP for toilet candy. I particularly liked the variety of flavours – all with the same familiar earthy liver undertone but with varying degrees of sweetness and texture.

Anonymous

funny

Anonymous

You’re forgetting BPP is a business and will still accept anyone to ensure the private equity company owners get their fair share each year.

Anonymous

Yes, I doubt they’ll actually reject anyone. However, ULaw has been doing this and when I did my BPTC there last year, I felt that we had less of a problem with students who weren’t fluent in English than my friends at other providers did. The prospect of any kind of oral assessment may scare away someone who genuinely can’t communicate in English. So these people may flock to City in the future…

Anonymous

Sadly, I might have to say that it may not be the same with BPP. The BPTC at BPP is more catered to international students who want to practice back home. This would mean higher fees charged and plus with the SQE coming into effect and its uncertainty, its obvious that losing potential LPC students would be a huge chunk of money that BPP would lose out on. Putting another means of an ‘entrance requirement’ is just a farce to show that BPP has competitive places on programmes when in hindsight, any applicant could be admitted.

Anonymous

I suspect that more likely because ULaw get fewer international students applying. Most international students apply to City because that is the only provider they know (from the days when daddy was at Inns of Court School of Law). A significant number of international students will apply to BPP. And hardly any will apply to ULaw.

The bigger problem isn’t the rich foreign students who don’t speak a word of English, it is the semi literate domestic students with 2.1 from University of Scunthorpe.

Anonymous

What a load of nonsense. It is in BPP’s interest to have bums on seats – as the going rate is £19k per bum.

Anonymous

It’s a fvcking scandal, and it should never have been allowed

Close it down, burn the owners, whatever

BPP Shareholder

I tried to make that point in my earlier post about Bangladeshi students who can’t string an English-language sentence together being allowed on the BPTC because of the greed of providers, but it was censored, because obviously it might offend minorities or something.

Anonymous

“law school giant” – L.O.L. BPP?

Do Legal Cheek realise no practitioner has any respect whatsoever for the sham private equity company flogging rip off courses taught by failed barristers?

Anonymous

Most Chambers couldn’t give a monkeys about where you did the BPTC really.

Kronos

BPP may be a giant, but it’s not a titan, let alone a top titan or a top, top titan.

We also have video advocacy entrance exams here at Greenberg Glusker LLP. Two of the best examples from this year’s intake have been made into Hollywood films starring Sam Worthington.

Anonymous

How can I prep for the Greenberg Glusker video advocacy entrance exam?

Anonymous

You must whip out your cock and helicopter spin it up to 1000RPM at bare minimum minimum, loudly yodelling whilst doing so.

Anonymous

Re BCAT – can LC get the official pass rate? I suspect it is near 100% pass rate.

Loljkm8

“It’s not my connection, it’s yours.”

The epitaph of the failed video advocate.

Prospective student

How is this going to effect disabled students (for example, the visually impaired or hearing impaired), who have strong academic skills, intelligence and good legal knowledge, yet could be held back by their disability? Will reasonable adjustments be put in place for this?

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