GDL providers take different approaches to exams in response to Omicron spread

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Some students given 24 hours to submit each exam, while others have just two hours

Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) providers are taking different approaches to assessments in response to the spread of Covid strain Omicron, with some students given 24 hours to submit each exam while others have just two hours.

The GDL typically involves students sitting a series of two and three hour exams, with course providers largely moving to remote assessments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet, with no compulsory standard approach, some of the students in this year’s cohort will enjoy lengthy submission times for their first term exams.

City Law School, Liverpool John Moores University and Northumbria University will adopt 24-hour online exams.

Two of Northumbria’s seven exams will have a 3,000 word limit and the other five will have a 4,500 word limit, reflecting the fact that in “normal” times its students would be given two hours to complete the former, and three hours to complete the latter, a spokesperson confirmed.

GDL students at London South Bank University will have 24 hours to submit each essay paper, a spokesperson said, but the multiple-choice element will remain timed in online format with a larger pool of questions.

The University of East Anglia has also allowed a 24-hour exam submission window but recommends that its students complete each exam within two hours.

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Nottingham Law School’s law conversion course is not “semesterised” and exams don’t take place until May. At the moment, therefore, “it has no plans to change the mode of delivery,” a spokesperson said.

A source at BPP University Law School told us that they get just two hours to submit each online exam. The exam portal opens on each day of assessment at 10am and they have a three-hour window to complete the two-hour exam, so they can start at 10am and finish by 12pm or from 11am to 1pm.

Interestingly, our insiders tell us that they prefer this approach since “24 hours can feel drawn-out” and “like a sleepless night”.

Legal Cheek has approached The University of Law to find out its approach to GDL exams.

The GDL has been rebranded as the PGDL (Postgraduate Diploma in Law) following the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam. A report by LawCAB, the central applications board for postgraduate law courses, found last summer that enrolment on the law conversion course jumped by over a fifth during the pandemic, with Covid-related disruption a huge contributing factor.

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“A source at BPP University Law School told us that they get just two hours to submit each online exam.”

May the odds ever be in your favour, kids.



It’s a good thing the GDL at BPP is pretty simple. It’s spoon fed and formulaic. Keep the PowerPoints and tutorial solutions by your side and you’ll do fine in the exams.



Omicron is literally nothing. This pandemic is over and people need to get back to work.


Future trainee in Hell

Completely agree. Students are just trying to milk the system now.


Vasily Chapayev

Finally a voice of reason. The sooner the hysteria ends, the better.



In 2020 one university gave GDL students 5 weeks to submit our answers, plus we could ask for a two week extension (no evidence of impact or illness required), and an additional 5 days if we said said we’d been ‘affected by’ covid. We had from the end of March to mid-June to answer two questions (per core subject), each of which was designed to be answered in an hour. A nearby university gave students 24 hours to answer 3 questions.



This is why no one takes the GDL and LPC seriously.

Just go to the easiest university to pass it.

The SRA doesn’t care about consistency so that’s why I don’t really care if students try to “milk it” as has been said in the comments further up.



I’m studying at ULaw but doing the MA Law (rather than the PGDL or whatever it is called nowadays). My experience has been January exams were still sat in standard time limits online, but with 15 minutes added on the end to upload your answer booklet.


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