BPP students’ frustration over exam clash with winter vac scheme dates

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Exclusive: Law school says it’s ‘unfortunate’ and they ‘have the opportunity to attend a 2021 scheme’

BPP Law School students have expressed their frustration at exams being scheduled during winter vacation scheme season.

The law school said in response that although the timetabling is “unfortunate”, students have the opportunity to attend a scheme next year.

Students on BPP’s law conversion course will sit public and tort law exams during the week commencing 7 December, and contract and company law exams the following week, beginning 14 December. The winter vacation scheme period is generally one week at most City law firms and falls between 7–11 or 14–18 December, though these dates can vary.

The clash affects students enrolled on BPP’s new PGDL law conversion course, which launched at the start of last month, and runs until April next year. Legal Cheek understands that exams on BPP’s old conversion course, the GDL, were held at the end of the academic year.

Some students have raised concerns about the clash, telling Legal Cheek that 2020 winter vacation schemes are their “gateway” to a 2022 training contract. Law firms tend to target finalists and graduates for these schemes, and because they recruit two years in advance, this allows students to complete the GDL and LPC before starting their TC.

The 2021 Legal Cheek GDL Most List

We reached out to graduate recruiters at City law firms that offer winter vacation schemes to see whether they could reasonably accommodate students with exams. Some said the situation is “not ideal”, that “students should prioritise their exams”, and that given the typically shorter length of the winter vacation scheme, it would be difficult to accommodate students that have to take time out for revision and exams, which could be detrimental if the scheme is assessed.

They recommended students apply for the next scheme they’re able to attend, which in this case would be a spring or summer programme in 2021.

A BPP spokesperson said:

“We recognise the importance for students to attend a vacation scheme. Whilst it is unfortunate that BPP PGDL examinations do fall across the winter scheme dates, students do have the opportunity to attend a 2021 scheme.”

The spokesperson continued: “Students who attend a summer vacation scheme have a longer period of time to gain the valuable experience required to prepare for their future legal career.”

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What the hell are they thinking?


Do The VAC scheme!!

If you have a vac scheme, DO IT. Even if that means getting a lower GDL grade, keep your eyes on the prize. The vac is your gateway to the job, don’t pass it by if you landed one, for anything.



This looks really bad



BPP have just restructured their GDL so that students don’t have to sit all of their exams at the end of the year. I have not heard of any other university where exams are held in December instead of January. Given that BPP have deals with law firms that will send their trainees to do their GDL/LPC course with BPP, they should be well aware of the vac scheme dates. Their response is wholly inadequate and they should reflect on when exams are held.



Even if we give the benefit of the doubt to BPP for a second and say that this is unfortunate, unavoidable clash – that BPP Spokesperson is seriously bad. If I was an affected student that quote would really wind me up. It just screams “we don’t give a toss”.


Dangerous Dave

I’m enrolled on the PGDL, and as a law school, I can confirm BPP is both chaotic and incompetent. Feel like they gear their course towards and favour those with a TC (such as myself) rather than those without.


Col. Sanders

This is right on the money. I attended the GDL at BPP Waterloo as someone with a TC and it immediately became apparent that the course was geared for the “haves” rather than the “have nots”.

It didn’t help that half of my tutorial group were Oxbridge-educated turbokh*nts with TCs at A&O who looked down upon the five or so students without TCs, and our tutor openly admitting that attending the GDL without a TC is “a foolish gamble”.



Chaz, is this you?



Utterly unbelievable – what’s the point of doing a GDL if you can’t do a winter VS (and potentially get a TC from it) while you’re doing it?!



If you’re planning on going to a city firm, of the type which does winter vac schemes, surely you should have got a TC before embarking on the v. pricey GDL?



Time to share the following reddit thread on the performance of BPP’s PGDL:

” 1. No lectures – after starting the course we were told they had moved from a ‘teaching’ to a ‘facilitation’ role in which we have no lectures, just 1 tutorial per week where tutors literally just ask us questions about the reading to make sure we’ve done it

2. Teaching quality – 2 out of my 4 tutors are completely incompetent, they frequently make mistakes MCQ answers they put up for us to do, cannot answer basic question on the content of our pre-reading, take days/weeks to reply to emails

3. Content mistakes – the content is all online and is littered with mistakes, spelling errors, MCQ’s with the wrong answer, sentences which stop halfway though

4. Onboarding – BPP didnt give us a timetable until the day before the course started, they also failed to provide about 25% of students with login details so they missed induction week and could not access the significant pre-reading we were required to do before the course started

5. Physical materials – we were told we would be provided physical materials (textbooks, notes etc) as part of the course fees, but suddenly during induction week BPP announced this would all be delivered online, they say however the exam is still open book and exams are proctored so we an use a second screen – so how is it open book? I have to print off 10 textbooks at my own cost?

6. Exams – they have completely changed the format of exams from the old GDL, we now dont have ‘essays’ but ‘tasks’ in the form of an email from a fake ‘supervsior’ in a law firm usking us to do something – BPP have provided no guidance on how to structure answers, the tutors do not know and say it is ‘still being worked out’

7. Overall organisation – the tutors readily concede that they dont know what is happening with exams, mock exams, whether things will be online / in person.”


BPP are bull

I would have to agree with all 7 points. If you’re looking to do a conversion degree, avoid bpp like the plague


Just go to ULaw and save yourselves the hassle

The new PGDL has been an absolute disaster from start to finish and reeks of a course that had not been finished before being rolled out. The exam structure and format has been changed and the tutors have no idea what the new marking criteria or exam technique is. Also physical materials were promised and then sent as a pdf and students advised just to get a second screen.

More on this reddit post:



I hate BPP


PE Buyout

They used to have a really good GDL then all the best tutors left over last 2 years.


BPP GDL Waterloo

Karl the Con/Ad Law tutor and that Land Law dude Mr Clore were absolute legends.



Extremely short sighted and sadly, typical of the self-absorbed Senior Leadership team



Not sure if this has changed but back when I was applying a few years ago, winter schemes were generally geared towards graduates whereas summer schemes were more focused on second years. So how can the BPP spokesperson say ‘just do another scheme’?



Law is so competitive, students need to take all the opportunities they are offered. Unacceptable that the University is depriving them, of this first shot at employment. It reduces their chances.



Hello all,

If you would like to share your grievances and get advice on how to file a formal complaint and hopefully get some recourse, please email me at



I was considering going to BPP next year as they have a February start date which would work well for me.
However, after seeing this post I definitely will not. I did not realise that there was a generally consensus that they were less competent than UofLaw.
I will be applying there, despite the dates being less convenient.



I’ve started at U Law this month and it has been pretty well organised so far. Received physical copies of all the textbooks, manuals, workshop guides etc. quite promptly. We still have in person workshops with the correct social distance measures but at least we can ask questions in person in small groups. I would definitely recommend U Law 🙂



I thought the BPTC at ULaw was also relatively well organised (compared to BPP, anyway). I heard absolute horror stories from a friend who went to BPP and who wasn’t allowed to switch classes/ attend them at another time when they clashed with pupillage interviews. (Most providers will teach the same class on different days with different groups.) She was an academic high achiever and got a lot of interviews, meaning she literally had to miss one or two so as not to fail the course for non-attendance



Please bear in mind they’re both shit.



Yeah do yourself a favour and don’t mate. BPP is the pits but truth being said ULaw isn’t much better.



I read this first sentence without seeing what it was replying to…lack of context can be unfortunate.



I am an International law student and have a training contract begining in 2023. I was just thinking if I will have to do PGDL first or can directly opt for SQE preparation course? BPP has mandated new PGDL for non law students, not sure if they consider International law students as non law students or law students



Wow BPP finally getting taken to task for their callous approach and total incompetence. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end for them.

Prospective students: RUN A MILE TO U OF LAW!



This is the same for LPC students at ULaw too.


Archibald Pomp O'City

I do feel sorry for those students caught up in this mess.



At this rate the firms might just provide their own tutors and support for the SQE



muh “employability”

BPP, be better please



That’s alright, students have the opportunity to go other providers in the future 🙂



What is OfQual doing about this? Where are the Law Society and the SRA?


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