BSB says the ‘nice majority’ did handle to complete their evaluation

On-line bar exams happening this week have been beset by technical gremlins, college students say, with the authorities telling a few of these affected that they’ll need to resit in December.

College students on the Bar Skilled Coaching Course (BPTC) took to social media to complain that points with the proctoring software program prevented them from sitting or finishing yesterday’s ethics examination. The Bar Requirements Board (BSB), which oversees centralised assessments in three topics that have been moved online because of the pandemic, admitted that “some college students did face technical points”.

Some will have the ability to resit immediately or later this week, however the regulator added that those that had caught a glimpse of the questions earlier than the system went down must anticipate the subsequent sitting in December.

Complaints from college students, each in their very own names and submitted anonymously to a marketing campaign group, flooded Twitter yesterday.

One BPTC scholar wrote: “I used to be scheduled to take my examination at 10am this morning… I logged in at 9.30 as instructed and accomplished the verify in course of. The proctor instructed me that my examination was going to be launched and she or he requested if I may see the welcome display screen. As [I began] to sort to say I couldn’t, the chat field disappeared. My complete laptop computer display screen went clean… I used to be not capable of contact the proctor”.

One other stated: “Similar factor occurred to me; software program crashed and blacked out whereas ready for the examination to begin, after 10 minutes I made a decision to pressure restart my PC and redo the steps”. A 3rd scholar tweeted “I by no means even received to see the ethics examination paper”.

Anger flared as college students blamed the BSB and examination supplier Pearson VUE for the fiasco. Referencing earlier controversies about examination preparations, a bar candidate stated:

“Imagining cancelling your whole summer season plans and holidays to spend it revising by way of a worldwide pandemic, preventing along with your examination supplier for over every week simply to get your self booked onto an examination, warning the @barstandardsboard about your very respectable considerations with the intrusive proctoring system… oh have a look at that, the @pearsonvue system crashes half manner by way of, you ring their helpline and oh – since you began the take a look at – you’ll need to miss this sit out and the subsequent time is DECEMBER?!”

Barristers weighed in to help their future colleagues. Kirsten Sjøvoll of Matrix Chambers branded it an “appalling debacle”, whereas Sarah Forshaw QC from 5KBW opted for “canine’s breakfast”. Caspar Glyn QC stated “the occupation would really like delivered options for candidates ASAP from our regulator”.

Secure your place: The Legal Cheek Virtual Pupillage Fairs 2020

Writing for Authorized Cheek in June, BSB director of regulatory operations Oliver Hanmer confirmed that college students could be allowed to start pupillage before passing their centralised exams — assuming their chambers are up for it.

A BSB spokesperson instructed Authorized Cheek: “The BSB has labored exhausting to make sure that college students are capable of sit the centralised BPTC assessments this 12 months, which have been initially as a result of happen in April, however which have been delayed because of COVID-19. Pearson VUE is liable for delivering the examinations and we perceive that the nice majority of scholars’ exams which occurred yesterday have been accomplished efficiently”.

They added:

Inevitably with any on-line primarily based examination, some college students did face technical points that prevented them from accessing their exams. Pearson VUE will attempt to rearrange their examination to happen on one other scheduled sitting date topic to availability. College students who’ve accessed the examination however skilled a technical failure in the course of the course of it will likely be allowed to defer to December with out penalty in the event that they haven’t efficiently accomplished sufficient of the examination to attain a cross.

Pearson VUE has been approached for remark.