1) Candidates must pass the BCAT before they can enrol on their BPTC in September. We strongly recommend taking the BCAT earlier rather than later in case a re-take is necessary. Also, in previous years the BCAT has been fully booked in the run-up to the closing date. If no slots are available, you will not be able to take the test and will not be admitted to the BPTC, even if you meet all the other requirements.
2) More information about the BCAT can be found in the BCAT Handbook. We also have a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you cannot find the answer to your question, email us at BCAT@barstandardsboard.org.uk.
Opening and closing dates
3) You can register for the BCAT from Thursday, 9 January 2020 to Monday, 1 February 2021. You register for the BCAT online via the Pearson VUE website. Please read the Pearson Vue statement about test delivery information in light of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
4) If you are commencing a vocational component Bar Training Course in September/October 2020 or January 2021, you can schedule to sit the BCAT from Monday, 13 January 2020 to Monday, 8 February 2021. You schedule the BCAT via the Pearson Vue website.
What the test involves
5) The BCAT tests aptitude for critical thinking and reasoning. These are key skills required for the BPTC. The aim of the test is to ensure that those undertaking the BPTC have the aptitude to succeed on the course. The test consists of 60 multiple choice questions, lasts 55 minutes and is completed on a computer at an authorised Pearson VUE test centre. The test costs £150 in the UK and EU or £170 in the rest of the world. The test is in English and does not require any legal knowledge.
6) To familiarise yourself with the BCAT, you should try the free practice test. The practice test is the same length, difficulty and format as the actual test. At the end you will be told if you passed or failed.
7) On the practice test page there is also additional information regarding what the BCAT measures, why the BCAT is being used, the validity study carried out and tips on how to improve your critical thinking skills.
How long is your BCAT pass valid for?
8) BCAT passes before 2016, or from 19 December 2016, are valid for five years.
9) For candidates who took the BCAT between April and August 2016:
- BCAT passes scoring 45 or more are valid for five years.
- BCAT passes scoring 44 or less were only valid to enrol on the BPTC in September 2016.
10) If you passed the BCAT between October 2014 and September 2015, the last BPTC you can enrol on with that pass starts in September 2019.
Booking your test
11) You schedule and pay for the BCAT using the Pearson VUE website. Pearson has test centres in the following countries. For questions about test centres, registering for the test and payment queries please contact the Pearson VUE customer service for your relevant region.
12) If you would like to request reasonable adjustments (accommodations), please create an account on the Pearson VUE website (this will give you a BCAT ID) then read the reasonable adjustment policy and finally complete the reasonable adjustment form.
13) Do NOT book the BCAT online, this will result in you arriving at the test centre to find you are booked for a standard test with no reasonable adjustments.
14) For reasonable adjustments such as a reader, a recorder, or a braille test, the BSB and Pearson VUE require six weeks' notice to put these in place for your test. For reasonable adjustments such as extra time or a separate room, the BSB and Pearson VUE require two weeks' notice to put these in place for your test. The BSB and Pearson VUE will try and accommodate all reasonable adjustment requests but reserve the right to decline requests that do not provide the notice periods indicated above.
16) If you were prevented from attending a booked test due to circumstances outside of your control, you can apply for a free re-take under the extenuating circumstances policy. Please read the extenuating circumstances policy before completing the form.
17) Forms must be submitted no later than five working days after any scheduled test taking that was affected by extenuating circumstances.
18) If you would like to make a complaint about the BCAT, please read the BCAT Complaints Policy before completing the BCAT Stage 2 Complaints Form or BCAT Stage 3 Complaints Form, as directed by the policy.
- If you are currently on the BPTC or have yet to complete the course, then you will have the opportunity to complete the course as normal, with three attempts at each assessment.
- From September 2020, new approved training pathways will replace the BPTC. The process of authorising education and training organisations to deliver the new pathways commenced in April 2019 and courses will be advertised as "subject to authorisation" during this process. More information about new authorised pathways will be published in the Bar Qualification Manual and in our page on Authorised Educations and Training Organisations (AETOs) from 2020 in due course.
- If, after Spring 2021, you are a BPTC student and you have extenuating circumstances which means you have to defer sitting one of the centralised assessments, then you may be affected by the transitional arrangements which we have put in place for centralised assessments.
- We have published a statement which sets out what the transitional arrangements will be for centralised assessments on our website. All current and prospective BPTC students should read this statement to find out how they may be affected.