21 December 2011

BARRISTERS’ REGULATOR SEEKS TO ADD AN APTITUDE TEST TO ENTRY REQUIREMENT FOR BAR TRAINING COURSE

The Bar Standards Board (BSB), the regulator of barristers in England and Wales, is consulting on the introduction of an Aptitude Test for all prospective students wishing to enter the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

The BPTC is the vocational stage of a barrister's training which follows on from academic training and precedes the practical stage of training - known as pupillage.

The Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) is based on the established and recognised Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Test which is used by some law firms in recruitment assessment and by the Graduate Management Admissions Council. It assesses five areas of critical thinking:

• Inference
• Recognition of assumptions
• Deduction
• Interpretation
• Evaluation of arguments

It is proposed that the aptitude test should commence with the cohort of candidates applying from November 2012 to start the course in September 2013. Further, it is also proposed that students will be allowed to take an unlimited number of re-sits.

This consultation follows two pilots of the aptitude test, which were carried out between September 2009 and July 2011. The results have shown a strong correlation with successful completion of the course.

Commenting on the consultation Chair of the BSB, Baroness Ruth Deech, said:

"We are pleased to be consulting on the introduction of an aptitude test for the BPTC which seeks to ensure a fair and equitable process for all applicants, whilst preventing those without the necessary skills spending up to £16,000 undertaking the course."

A copy of the consultation can be downloaded here