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Proctoring problems: Bar students urinate in bottles and buckets over fears online exams will be terminated

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One barrister hopeful is said to have worn an adult diaper

A bucket of urine, a bottle of urine and adult diapers

A number of Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students resorted to urinating in bottles and buckets over fears their online proctored exams would be terminated if they went to the toilet, it emerged yesterday.

Taking to Twitter, aspiring barrister Tian Juin See claims he was forced to urinate in a bottle in front of his laptop at home after he was told he could fail the two-hour and 45 minute professional ethics exam if he did not maintain eye contact with the screen.

The London law student has since changed his bio on Twitter to “the guy who peed in a bottle during a bar exam”.

Another bar student, again sitting the assessment from home, said she resorted to “having to wee in a bucket in my own kitchen” amid similar fears.

Shockingly, a third BPTC student claimed a friend wore adult diapers “so she could relieve herself” during the exam.

In response to the pandemic, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) announced in May that bar students would sit their centralised assessments — civil litigation, criminal litigation and professional ethics — using an online proctoring system or in a physical test centre.

Legal Cheek understands that under the proctoring rules, students may have their assessment terminated if they move away from their laptop or leave the room. The BSB has been approached for comment.

Legal Cheek reported yesterday that the online assessments, which began this week, had run into technical difficulties, with Twitter flooded with reports of students being locked out of the proctoring system. The BSB admitted that “some students did face technical issues” but the “great majority” did manage to complete the assessment.

UPDATE: 13 August at 2:19pm

A BSB spokesperson told Legal Cheek:

“All students sitting their exams in test centres can visit the lavatory. Students who opted to take the exams at home using Pearson VUE’s online remote proctoring system, in which they are invigilated remotely, have been provided with guidance which makes clear that, to protect the integrity of the exams — in the absence of a secure location and invigilators who are physically present — those taking the exam via online proctoring are not allowed to leave the room during the exam. Our guide therefore urges students to ‘prepare yourself for not being able to leave the room for the duration of your exam, for example by going to the toilet as close to the start of the exam as possible’. Students who have told us that they did not think they could meet this rule have been advised to sit their exams in a test centre or an alternative venue supplied by their BPTC provider.”

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