BPTC online exam chaos continues into second week

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By Thomas Connelly on

Twitter flooded with fresh reports of bar students being unable to access today’s civil litigation assessment

Problems with the online bar exams have continued into a second week, with wannabe barristers taking to social media today to report fresh technical issues with the proctoring system.

Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students were due to sit their civil litigation assessment today using the Bar Standards Board (BSB) proctoring system of choice — Pearson VUE.

Unfortunately, some bar hopefuls say they were unable to access the exam and were left staring at an unresponsive check-in screen.

“I have been sitting at my desk for almost 3 hours waiting to start my civil lit exam scheduled for 09:45”, one bar student wrote. “All of us deserve better than this”.

Another said: “I’ve been sat here for an hour… no proctor engaging, no help via customer service on how to resolve the issue. I’m so upset. I don’t know what to do and you’ve made this whole experience worse than it should be.”

Other students even resorted to at-ing in the official Twitter accounts of both the regulator and Pearson VUE in a desperate bid for information.

A spokesperson for the BSB said: “We’re aware that a number of students have experienced technical issues while seeking to take their examinations using Pearson VUE’s remote proctoring system today. We are very sorry that some students have encountered difficulties, and together with Pearson VUE, we are committed to investigating any issues as quickly as possible. We have raised this issue with Pearson VUE and the fact the students are having difficulty contacting them and are seeking an urgent response.”

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The continued:

“We are looking at options with the aim of ensuring that candidates who try to sit a BSB exam through Pearson VUE and experience a technical failure get another opportunity to sit their exams before December.”

The fresh issues come just days after the bar exams made national headlines when students resorted to urinating in bottles and buckets over fears their online assessments would be terminated if they went to the toilet. This came 24-hours after students reported being locked out of the online system while attempting to sit their ethics exam — one of three centralised assessments the BSB shifted online in response to the pandemic.

On Friday the BSB issued a statement apologising for the difficulties encountered by students, and that it was working with Pearson VUE to investigate any issues as quickly as possible. Prior to today, the test provider’s stats showed that 89% of exams had been delivered without any reported incident and 97% had been successfully completed.

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