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

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By Aishah Hussain on

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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