BSB ditches bar aptitude test

Regulator says entry examination not an efficient filter of wannabe barristers who will doubtless fail the course

The Bar Requirements Board (BSB) is to scrap the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) after a report discovered that fewer than 1% of wannabe barristers fail to cross it.

Confirming the choice at a board assembly yesterday, the regulator mentioned the entry examination was not “acting as filter for aptitude” and that the evolution of the admission course of, particularly the widespread use of interviews and sensible workout routines on the level of choice, had been far more practical in doing this.

The examination got here into existence in 2013 with the goal of hunting down weaker college students who had been unlikely to succeed on the bar course. The 55-minute evaluation is designed to test essential considering and reasoning, and should be handed with the intention to achieve entry onto the vocational course. It prices £150 a go.

However a report revealed final 12 months discovered that simply 89 out of the 12,663 candidates who tried the examination between 2013 and 2019 had didn’t make the grade — or 0.7%. With retakes excluded, the fail fee sits at roughly 3%.

The choice to ditch the examination comes regardless of the Bar Council and the Inns of Courtroom arguing that it was untimely, given the reforms to bar coaching are comparatively new. In addition they cited current pupil efficiency on the centralised assessments as proof that too many college students are enrolling on bar coaching programs with out the requisite aptitude.

However Professor Mike Molan, the chair of the centralised examination board, and Dr John Foulkes, the BSB’s impartial psychometrician, careworn the examination is only one measure of efficiency.

“These results must be seen as only one reference point in the context of a student’s performance or a particular cohort’s overall performance on the course,” a paper earlier than the BSB board mentioned. “In line with the BSB’s principles for bar training, success is not measured by ability to pass the centralised assessment the first time.”

The examination has are available in for criticism throughout its nine-year existence. In 2015, Authorized Cheek reported that the examination had been briefly suspended amid claims it was “nearly impossible to fail”. The BSB ultimately took motion, upping the cross mark from 37 to 45 (on a scale which ranges from 20 to 80).

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