Exam waiver ‘not an option now or in the future’, says BSB

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Fallout between regulator and students rumbles on

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has doubled-down on its decision not to offer waivers to students who encountered technical difficulties during their online exams, telling them it’s “not an option now or in the future”.

In a letter to bar students, the BSB’s director general Mark Neale apologised once again to students who were adversely affected but stressed it was unable to offer waivers without “compromising standards and our public duties”.

Neale said: “We must retain the academic rigour of these examinations — even in these difficult and extraordinary times and even when that means extra work for students, for course providers, and for the BSB.”

The decision comes after bar student body, Students Against the BSB Exam Regulations (SABER), urged the regulator to waive the centralised assessments following reports of students being locked out of the remote proctoring system and urinating in buckets over fears their online assessments would be terminated if they went to the toilet.

The BSB has also come under fire in recent days over its decision to offer students the opportunity to undertake ‘pen and paper’ resists from 5 until 12 October, despite the results of the August assessments not being released until mid-October/November.

Neale added: “I am afraid it is simply not logistically possible to complete the grading process and release the marks, even provisionally, in advance of the requirement to register for the examinations if appropriate quality assurance processes are to be followed.”

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The entirety of postgrad legal education training is an utter scam


Just Anonymous

I agree with the BSB. Waiving these exams is unrealistic, and not an option.

In my view, SABER’s time would be more productively spent identifying those students who actually have suffered injustice in these exams (whether by way of a disability for which reasonable adjustments have not been given, or otherwise) and seeking appropriate redress for those particular individuals.



ALL of them, if asked, will plead injustice, even if this is simply bruised feelings.



Whilst I can quite understand the frustration of people affected by the less than stellar way the initial exams were conducted, and the ongoing stress and uncertainty, the option to have two goes at the exams with the best score being the one that counts does seem a not totally unreasonable remedy.



Posh entitled snowflakes using alleged discrimination to try to avoid doing an exam.



Not what’s happening. Read the article.


City Trainee Anon

I’ve learned more as a trainee in three months than I did in my 9 months on the LPC. These postgrad courses are a scam!



Use the time to learn the Tube map, get drunk and get laid. The exams are just a distraction.



Dirty, dirty buggers. Peeing in buckets in their homes. No wonder manners have suffered and standards at the bar are slipping.


Lord bond

I’m currently on the BPTC and sat the exams in August; I have also read the barristers’ proposal to the BSB, which I thought was a reasonable compromise and I think the BSB’s refusal to entertain the barrister formulated alternative was disingenuous. However, I do not think that a waiver for the Centrals is appropriate. It seems to me that those calling for a waiver on Twitter are looking for an easy way out; indeed I have come across some of these people at my Inn, QS’ and at my provider – they strike me as very sensitive and will find any opportunity to whinge and moan, very much snowflake behaviour. I dread to think how they will cope with the intense pressures of the Bar.

The argument that some people have jobs and have to support themselves in October holds weight ( I count myself as one of those people). However, for the majority of people, they should have covered the content for the Centrals for the August exam period. Therefore, the amount of work required to complete the October sit is minimal and can be done alongside full time work. No reasonable employer should disallow a holiday request for an exam sitting provided sufficient notice has been given, which is satisfied in this case. In the circumstances, BPTC students have been given a ‘second bite of the cherry’ which seldom happens in practice; it is not ideal but there is no better offer on the table. Time to get on with it.



“which seldom happens in practice”

To make the Bar exams a realistic facsimile of practice they should give candidates thirty minutes notice and tell them they’re sitting them in Uxbridge.


Lord Bond

Unsure from your comment whether you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me or not, but it’s very unlikely any Judge will allow your renewed dismissed application for Strike Out seconds after dismissing it. That is what I mean by the second bite of the cherry comment.

I do agree with you that the BPTC does not equip you for practice and is need for reform.



The reply was a witty way to point out that you used the noun instead of the verb.


Bob Ross

We’d be able to sit them with an outdated copy of The white book open on the desk though.

Closed book exams are a waste.



Good. The moaning of these students has been awful.


Proper London Counsel

Quite so. Imagine my horror when I found out we had taken one of the SABER whingers as a pupil.


Pupillage Committee Head

Common sense prevails!



I have to wonder how a person intends to succeed at the Bar when at this stage they are experiencing exam phobia


Lord Bond

Quite. The whinging has already started in respect of the Oct sitting – see twitter, especially the SABER twitter page.


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