29 Jun 2020

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published a detailed guide for candidates due to sit the centralised assessments for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and the Bar Transfer Test (BTT) in August. This follows the postponement of the April 2020 sitting and last month’s announcement that the exams will be computer-based.

The guide provides further details about the arrangements which the BSB is putting in place to make sure that the exams are accessible for everyone. Students will either sit the computer-based exams remotely via Pearson VUE’s online proctoring solution or in a physical test centre. The guide explains in detail how both types of sitting will work. Discussions will be had with the small number of students whose needs cannot be met by a computer-based solution. The guide does not apply to these students as their arrangements will be bespoke and tailored to individual needs.

The BSB has been liaising with the BPTC and BTT providers to assess students’ needs in light of the necessary change in arrangements for the August sitting. Any student whose needs are assessed as being best met in a test centre will not need to take their exam remotely via the online solution. Breaks, for example, will be permitted in test centres.

Test centre bookings will be available widely to students, depending on their other needs. Priority will be given to those who require reasonable adjustments or who have a specific need to take their exams in a test centre. Pearson VUE has the largest and most widely available network of local centres in the UK and globally.

BSB Director of Regulatory Operations, Oliver Hanmer, said:

“We fully understand why students have been concerned about the prospect of taking such important examinations under unfamiliar conditions. We hope this guide will explain the arrangements we have put in place for their exams and the steps we have taken to seek to make the arrangements accessible to everyone.”

The full guide is available on the BSB website.

Students will be contacted soon by their BPTC / BTT provider with further instructions regarding examination arrangements. They should liaise directly with their provider about their specific arrangements as the BSB is unable to respond to individual students at this time.



Notes to editors

About the centralised assessments on the BPTC and BTT

The August 2020 centralised assessments on the BPTC and BTT will be computer-based examinations to be held on the following dates:

  • Professional Ethics: 11, 12, 13 and 14 August
  • Civil Litigation: 17 and 18 August
  • Criminal Litigation: 20 and 21 August

It has been agreed that there will be a global increase of 15 minutes to the duration of the Ethics exam (so this is now two hours and 45 minutes long) to allow for some additional time to take into account concerns about typing speed caused by the computer-based delivery. The additional 15 minutes is also granted to students who have already been permitted additional time as part of their learning agreements ie they will have two hours and 45 minutes before any other adjustments are added. The civil and criminal litigation exams are three hours long.

In a communication to be sent from providers, students will be given further instructions about examination arrangements. Subject to availability, they can take their exam on any of the scheduled dates for each subject. Slots will be available at a range of times on the dates listed above. Further information is provided in the guide.

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t


Contact: For all media enquiries call: 020 7611 4691 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk

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