28 April 2015

BPTC Centralised Assessments and Review Process

Centralised assessments

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 assessments in knowledge subjects in order to ensure consistency across course providers and closer regulatory oversight of standards.

From April 2012 the following papers, have been set by a Central Examinations Board ("CEB") comprised of experienced legal practitioners and academics appointed by the BSB:

  • Civil Litigation, Evidence and Remedies
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing
  • Professional Ethics.

Students at all BPTC providers will attempt the examinations in the knowledge subjects (each comprising a short answer question (SAQ) section and a multiple choice question (MCQ) section) on the same day at the same time (click here for exam dates). SAQs will be marked locally by providers and MCQs will be marked electronically at the BSB.

The CEB 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. Providers will then combine these marks with marks for other parts of the course to give an overall BPTC score for each student.

The CEB 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).


Review Process


The Centralised Assessments 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 an enhanced clerical error check under section 3 of the Regulations must invoke processes concurrently, not consecutively.


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 8 December 2014 . The fee is £250 [per subject area]. 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 by calling the Centralised Assessments Team.

5. Once the process has started, no refunds will be issued, unless it falls within the parameters specified on sections 3.3 and 4.5 of the Centralised Assessments Regulations Governing Student Review.

6. All forms may be sent in hard copy version to Assessments Team, Education and Training Department, Bar Standards Board, 289-293 High Holborn, London, WCIV 7HZ or soft copy version to centralisedassessments@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk.


For any queries please contact centralisedassessments@BarStandardsBoard.org.uk