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LPC students unhappy about return to in-person exams

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Exclusive: SRA has told legal education providers to revert to face-to-face assessments

A number of law students have criticised what they describe as The University of Law’s (ULaw) “sudden” decision to revert back to in-person exams now that lockdown restrictions have been lifted.

Up until Friday, students on the accelerated Legal Practice Course (LPC) at ULaw Moorgate tell us they were given a choice between in-person and remotely proctored exams.

But now they tell us the exams, which are less than three weeks away, have switched from online and typed to in-person and handwritten. Legal Cheek has been told the “last minute” change has apparently caused “huge levels of distress” for some students.

ULaw says it empathises with students but is bound by rules set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

An email sent to students last week and seen by Legal Cheek, informed them that since coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, the “default position” is now that exams for solicitors’ accounts, dispute resolution, and business, will be held in-person on campus, “except in certain limited circumstances”.

The limited circumstances include, for example, where students are in isolation from or vulnerable to Covid-19, or where they are in countries where travel to and from the UK is restricted, according to the email.

Some students claim the switch has “disadvantaged” those who have prepared for months for online exams. Recent mock exams were completed online “rendering the experience far less useful and reflective” of the real assessments.

“Most of us have not completed a written paper since summer ’19,” one disgruntled student told Legal Cheek.

Universities across the country moved to remote teaching and assessment when the nation plunged into lockdown at the start of last year. It has not been without hiccups, with reports detailing the technical difficulties encountered by students.

The 2021 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

Law schools have been accommodating (insofar as the SRA allows), switching to open book exams for the LPC.

A ULaw spokesperson told Legal Cheek:

“We empathise with our students who have undoubtedly had to embrace a great number of changes as we have navigated through the pandemic. As a university we are bound by SRA regulations. Following our representations, the SRA confirmed that, with the lifting of national Covid restrictions, all providers would need to revert to face-to-face assessments on campus, subject to limited exceptions. We will continue to support our students however we can.”

An SRA spokesperson said: “We allowed remote assessments in response to the Covid-19 restrictions. With those restrictions no longer in place, we have said providers should revert to face-to-face assessments, except in exceptional circumstances.”

In May, the SRA made clear that law schools are able to provide remote LPC assessments on a permanent basis so long as they meet regulatory requirements.

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19 Comments

Boomboom

Maybe the snowflakes can do a little dance on TikTok about their feelings.

Jax

Kind of happy with the SQE coming in, the LPC wasn’t exactly thought of with a pandemic in mind. It’s so old fashioned. At least it’s not like in the old days with those Law society finals….exams consecutively over a few days.

Anna

I guess they have forgotten how to use a pen?

Anne O'Nimoughs

Surely there is a lesson on TikTok about how to use a pen. May be there is a dance routine at the end of it too.

yawn excoooses

lol… couldn’t they have waited to revert to in person exams for the next cohort? if the SRA published its guidance the night before an online exam would it have been shifted to in person the next day? come on, it’s guidance, and some flexibility and accommodation is surely required

cri

This isn’t that big a deal at most other universities (including BPP), where ‘open book’ means ‘hard copy only’ and you have to bring all of your books, binders etc into your online exam. It has only become an issue at ULaw because the snowflakes got too used to scrolling through PDFs and Ctrl-Fing.

Anonymous

So you believe that efficiently utilising a computer function to produce a more thorough exam response is ‘snowflake’ behaviour? Because writing by hand with a tool that is less ergonomically comfortable and of swift, is defining of an individual who is more tough? Times change, no doubt you’ve upgraded from horse and cart to a motorised vehicle, what a snowflake.

cri

Kyle, shouldn’t you be spending your time remembering how to write with a pen and printing off your notes? Instead of downvoting strangers on LC?

Anonymous

Oh Kyle, the point is about the knowledge acquired by the student. Ctrl F all you want, but that does not test anyone. Any people that call cars “motorised vehicles” are hardly in a great position to call anyone out on modernity.

Whoosh

Over your head

Madcon

First of all, it’s not the SRA that published anything on wanting to get students back in person. It’s the government. It only applies to international students. Other can still opt to do their course online, if they choose.

Secondly, being a LPC student myself, I prefer in person workshops because we can’t expect to be online for the rest of our lives and need to get used to doing things in person. But each to their own.

Thirdly, we are paying a shit ton of money to these universities, we need to at least get what ever experience we can for that.

Have a great day!

what do they know

Source: Just trust me

.

I can assure you that exams are BBP Manchester we’re not open book at all

Future Incoming Trainee Open Day Watson Glaser Test Attendee

CTRL+F is good training for working in a law firm. Better get used to scrolling through PDFs

Ex ULaw student

3 Weeks’ notice of this kind of change is unacceptable and unfair.

Anonymous

Why? It is hardly a surprise and the blighters moaned enough about online testing before.

A concerned citizens

Tbh the SRA should implement this change earlier and better, which gives everyone more flexibility.
The lift of restrictions have been confirmed a long time ago and the SRA just announced the change now is kind of unfair and needs to be improved in the furture. Those students have paid their tuition fee that isn’t cheap in the first place and they definitely should have a say on what happens in their course.

..................

Strange, 24 May 2021- ‘The SRA board agreed last month that providers of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) can provide remote proctoring – which allows candidates to complete exams on their home computer – on a permanent basis post lockdown, providing they meet regulatory requirements.’

Jane

This is completely in breach of natural justice as they practised omline and did mocks on line.

BPP have issued an email to students on the LPC by the way this week to reassure them thatt BPP DOES have SRA permission to keep on with online proctored exams this academic year (students of BPP have a choice this academic year).

I hope UoL in its marking of handwritten papers for these people who are in a sense conned takes account of the vast difference in preparation and skills due to this last minute change and marks taking account of those effects.

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