11 Jul 2022

Following the Legal Services Board’s approval of the Bar Standards Board’s application to change its rules, the BSB will abolish the requirement that students should pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) before starting vocational training with effect from 31 July.

The BSB’s decision to seek the LSB’s approval for this change was published on 1 April and followed a review of the Test’s effectiveness as a test of suitability for enrolment on the vocational component of Bar training and an extensive consultation exercise.

BSB Director General, Mark Neale, said:

“As I said in April, we no longer think that the Bar Course Aptitude Test serves a useful purpose. Bar training providers must comply fully with the requirements of the Authorisation Framework when selecting their students, and that includes their obligations to maintain high standards and to promote accessibility. We shall continue to monitor providers carefully to ensure that their own selection of students is fair and rigorous.  

To practise as a barrister, those who have completed their vocational training must also complete a period of work- based training, known as pupillage. We want to ensure that training for the Bar is accessible to people from all backgrounds but obtaining a pupillage remains highly competitive so students entering Bar training must have the aptitude to succeed.”

Notes to editors

About the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

The BCAT was introduced in 2013 as a prerequisite for all students who have completed the academic component of Bar training – an undergraduate law degree, or a non-law degree and Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) – and intend to go on to study for the vocational component of training.  The course is a computerised 55-minute test which consisted of 60 multiple choice questions. It is based on a Watson-Glaser psychometric test, designed to assess critical thinking and understanding of arguments – identifying different perspectives and the ability to distinguish facts from opinions and assumptions. The BCAT is delivered by Pearson VUE and costs £150 in the UK and £170 for students sitting the test abroad.

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: 07432 713 328 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

More on