The Bar Standards Board has finally got its way, and will be allowed to introduce a compulsory aptitude test for the Bar Professional Training Course starting this September.

Discussions over some kind of entry exam for the BPTC (or BVC, as was) have been running for several years, with over-recruitment being described as a "great concern". Two years ago, after much moaning from the OFT, law schools and others, a pilot test was introduced for prospective barristers as an "advisory tool" before they were asked to hand over £16,450 in BPTC fees. Now the test is finally compulsory, and should see the weakest 10% of candidates weeded out (although 78% of BPTC grads will be weeded out later by the slim chances of pupillage and even slimmer chances of tenancy).

The new test will be called the Bar Course Aptitude Test, or BCAT. As usual in legal education, there's a fee, which is £67 to sit the test. Although candidates can warm up for free with these example questions which will test "critical and analytical reasoning".

    90% of these students will be allowed on the BPTC. 12% will practice as a barrister.

The Legal Services Board gave its cautious blessing to the new test earlier this week. However it said that the impact of the test was “impossible to verify in absolute terms at this stage by the very fact that the test has not operated in practice, other than in limited pilot circumstances".

So congratulations to the LSB and the BSB for finally making entry to the BPTC a bit more rigorous. Next up: will the other branch of the profession do something about the iniquitous system which allows complete no-hopers to start the almost equally expensive LPC? College of Law owners Montagu Private Equity will presumably be hoping not.*

* although there's clearly some money to be made by creating a course to tutor students through the BCAT. Nigel Savage can have that idea on RollOnFriday.

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Anonymous 27 July 12 10:36

The first example "question" strikes me as weird already. As far as I can see the example had nothing to do with logical reasoning considering that they rely on "common knowledge" ? While I believe this test is a step in the right direction I am worried about the content of it (since it has to apply to non-law students too)

Anonymous 27 July 12 11:36

Poor BPTC students - the answers to question 1 seem rather arbitrary! However, I think it is a good idea to have an entry test as it is grossly unfair to ask students to cough up vast sums if they will never make it, especially now that they cannot cross qualify as solicitors so easily if they do not get a golden ticket (sorry, pupillage).

Anonymous 27 July 12 13:44

Yeah, the answer to the first question is definitely off. No judge would take judicial notice of that so-called common knowledge.

Anonymous 27 July 12 16:32

They're standard questions from the Watson-Glaser test - I had to do it as a weeding process for an NQ solicitor application to a city firm recently.

Anonymous 14 August 12 15:58

The content of the tests could easily apply to a (criminal) investigator. If this is the only test to weed out it only tests for a restricted aptitude. What about mooting and thinking on the feet.

The answer to Q3 is wrong "3. some holidays are not boring. (The conclusion does not follow, even though you
may know that some holidays are very pleasant.){End box}"

If rainy days are boring and only some holidays are rainy then some of the rest are not boring, they are either good or indifferent of a variant of the two but not boring.The conclusion follows !