Petition for the Bar Standards Board (UK) to make centralised exams open book.
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It is not doubt that the route to become a Barrister in the United Kingdom is tough. However, having commenced the course, it is evident that it is a "memory" game.
You are required (alongside other Institutional exams) to practically memorise the White Book, and Blackstone's Criminal Practice for the centralised exams set by the BSB.
This seems disadvantageous, as those practising, or currently studying will realise that each of those "books" are over 3,000 pages. Furthermore, in practice, barristers lodge around the White Book or Blackstone's (depending on their practice) with them, and I have seen for myself that each time they need procedural guidance, they all refer to the book.
Barrister's already practicing have commented how the exams should not be the way they are, as you will have the mentioned books with you during practice, which you can refer to at any time. Therefore, it is absurd that the exams be closed book.
I am aware that this may seem counter-productive, making the exams open-book, claiming that everyone would then be able to pass. However, that is not true; those studying right now will appreciate that even if they were open book, the exams will continue to be difficult, as not many can guide themselves through the books.
Additionally, LPC students (those who wish to be come solicitors) in some institutions have open-book exams, including for civil, and criminal; LPC students learn the same law as us, as the civil procedure, or criminal procedure does not change for anyone, albeit maybe at a more "summarised" level. However, it is unjust to allow one group of lawyers-to-be to have their exams open book, and not the rest.
Further, the BSB decide to put the bar exams close together, which in the long run has resulted in some institutions having 7 exams in a space of a month (that is a lot of memorisation).
Therefore, it is argued that the exams are counter-productive; they do not assist students in learning the law, they assist in them memorising it; whereas, if the exams were to be open book, students will be able to mirror practice, where at times they will have to refer to the mentioned books.
Therefore, I plead current, past, and future students to sign this petition, so that we can forward it to the BSB; every year the fail rate is higher than the pass rate for the course, and it is simply down to the draconian system of exams set by the BSB, and institutions.
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