The main skills taught on the Bar Professional Training Course
The main areas of knowledge taught on the Bar Professional
Training Course are:
Assessment takes several forms and may differ from institution
to institution. Key areas of knowledge are often assessed through
multiple choice tests. Written skills are evaluated by means of
written papers, while advocacy, ReDOC and conference skills may be
appraised by videoed performance of practical exercises. From 2012
three examinations will be set by the BSB. These are Civil
Litigation, Criminal Litigation and Ethics.
The Wood Review of the Bar Vocational Course in 2008 led to a
number of changes resulting in the development of the new Bar
Professional Training Course. One of the recommendations of the
review was to introduce centralised examinations in knowledge
subjects in order to ensure consistency across course providers and
closer regulatory oversight of standards.
From April 2012 the following papers, each comprising a short
answer question (SAQ) section and a multiple choice question (MCQ)
section, will be set by a Central Examinations Board comprised of
experienced legal practitioners and academics appointed by the
Students at all BPTC providers will attempt the examinations in
the knowledge subjects (comprising both an SAQ and MCQ element) on
the same day at the same time (dates to be determined by the BSB
and published at the start of the academic year). SAQs will be
marked locally by providers and multiple choice questions will be
marked electronically at the BSB.
The Central Examinations Board will then sample and take an
overview of marks across all providers, making any adjustments that
are deemed necessary. Confirmed marks for the centralised subjects
will then be returned to providers and combined with marks for
other parts of the course to give an overall BPTC score for each
The Central Examinations Board is concerned only with overall
consistency in the three specified knowledge subjects and at no
time will it be involved in discussing the marks of individual
students, or in discussing an individual student's mitigating
circumstances. Providers will continue to operate local processes
for issues pertaining to individual students (e.g. extenuating
circumstances and academic misconduct).
BPTC course providers have been consulted at every stage in the
development of the Centralised Examinations process and we are
grateful for their full co-operation.
The Central Examination Regulations for Student Review have
been designed for students who wish to:
a) clarify the arithmetical transcription of their marks for one
of the three knowledge areas, Professional Ethics, Criminal
Litigation and Civil Litigation, or
b) request a review of a Central Examination Board (CEB)
decision which impacts on a cohort of students.
Candidates should be aware that this process does not involve a
re-mark of the candidate's examination paper.
A candidate requesting a review under section 4 of the
Regulations and a clerical error check to the Provider under
section 2 of the Regulations must invoke processes concurrently,
The procedure is as follows:
1. Students may wish to request a clerical error check and this
must be completed with the relevant Provider.
2. Students may wish to submit a form to the BSB requesting an
enhanced clerical error check. This should be done within a stated
timescale (see regulations section 3.2) and by submission of the
stated fee. The fee is £60 per enhanced clerical error check [per
subject area]. If more than one enhanced clerical error check is
requested the fee will increase appropriately.
3. Students may wish to submit a request for a review in respect
of a decision taken by the CEB in confirming cohort marks for the
centralised assessments in the knowledge areas. The request for
review must be submitted on the appropriate form by the stated
deadline with the appropriate fee. The deadline is 6
December 2013 and the fee is £250. Requests are
unlikely to be accepted after the stated deadline.
4. Fee payment will be accepted by cheque in the first instance
payable to Bar Standards Board or alternatively credit card.
5. All forms must be sent in hard copy version to Bar Standards
Board, BPTC Education Team - Centralised Examinations, 289-293 High
Holborn, London, WCIV 7HZ and may be sent electronically once they
For any queries please contact centralisedassessments@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk