17 June 2019

BPTC Centralised Examinations

Overview of the BPTC Centralised Examinations

BPTC centralised examinations are set on behalf of the BSB by the central examination board (CEB). The CEB consists of a group of senior examiners, including experienced legal practitioners and academics. Psychometric and examination experts support the work of the CEB.

Centralised examinations were introduced to ensure consistency across course providers, and closer regulatory oversight of standards in knowledge subjects. The following subjects are centrally examined:

  • Professional Ethics;
  • Civil Litigation and Evidence
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing.

All BPTC candidates sit centralised examinations on the same day at the same time. 

Exam                      Duration   No of questions                        How marked

Professional Ethics 2.5 hours   6 Short Answer Questions      Centrally by the BSB

Civil Litigation          3 hours     75 Multiple Choice Questions  Electronically by the BSB

Criminal Litigation   3 hours     75 Multiple Choice Questions  Electronically by the BSB

The standard for success is determined at each sitting based on the difficulty of the questions (using a criterion-referenced standard setting technique) and so may differ between sittings. For further information about standard setting please click the link in the resources box on the right.

The dates for the 2018/19 centralised examinations are as follows:

Spring Sit:

Professional Ethics              Monday, 8 April 2019, 2pm

Civil Litigation                     Tuesday, 16 April 2019, 2pm

Criminal Litigation               Thursday, 18 April 2019, 2pm

Summer Sit:

Professional Ethics              Friday, 16 August 2019, 2pm

Civil Litigation                      Monday, 19 August 2019, 2pm

Criminal Litigation                Wednesday, 21 August 2019, 2pm

The dates for the 2019/20 centralised examinations are as follows:

Spring Sit:

Professional Ethics              Monday, 6 April 2020, 2pm

Civil Litigation                     Friday, 17 April 2020, 2pm

Criminal Litigation               Monday, 20 April 2020, 2pm

Summer Sit:

Professional Ethics              Monday, 17 August 2020, 2pm

Civil Litigation                      Wednesday, 19 August 2020, 2pm

Criminal Litigation                Friday, 21 August 2020, 2pm 

If you are currently on the BPTC, have yet to complete the course, or are planning to start the BPTC in September 2019, then you will have the opportunity to complete the course as normal, with three attempts at each assessment as set out in the BPTC Handbook. However, if after Spring 2021 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 here. All current and prospective BPTC students should read this statement to find out how they may be affected.

For students who intend to start vocational training on one of the new approved pathways which will replace the BPTC from September 2020, more information will be published on the BSB website in due course. The process of authorising education and training organisations to deliver the new pathways will commence in April 2019 and courses will be advertised as "subject to authorisation" during this process.

Future Bar Training (FBT) - What's changing?

Our review of Curriculum and Assessments has led to a number of important changes. There will continue to be centralised examinations in the same subject areas as at present. Further details about exactly how and when these areas will be assessed, and when the changes will be introduced, will appear here in due course.