Thursday, 23 July 2020

EQE 2021 online

The Supervisory Board announced that EQE 2021 will be online. See here (and EQE webpage).

The text of the announcement is reproduced integrally below:



23.07.2020
  
EQE 2021 – Important information from the Supervisory Board

The European qualifying examination (EQE) 2021 is planned to be conducted online.

A working group composed of EPO and epi representatives has been set up to work out the arrangements for next year's EQE. Their aim is to ensure that the examination can be conducted in an orderly manner in a safe environment and to guarantee fair conditions for all candidates. The Supervisory Board is in close contact with the working group and oversees all its tasks.

Further details will be announced at a later date, including an option for candidates to test the system in good time before the examination.

The EQE syllabus and the structure of the various examination papers will be as outlined in the REE and IPREE and in line with previous years' examination papers (Compendium).

For the time being, individual questions on the online examination will not be responded to directly. However, they will be collected and used as a basis for FAQs to be published at a later stage.

29 comments:

  1. Nice! Now all of the practice tests I took in my bathrobe count as "under actual test conditions"!

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  2. Does it really mean that the candidates will take the test from home (similar to how the UK CIPA has announced or similar to how bar exams are being conducted in many countries) or will the candidates still be required to go to certain designated test centers on the lines of GRE, TOEFL etc.

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  3. I can not imagine that "online" really means that we will have to sit the EQE at home. I just hope we will get more concrete information very soon, especially in order to "test the system in good time before the examination"!!

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  4. Test centers might again be a bit risky, I sincerely hope they are able to work out a way to do it with everyone staying safe at their own home but also not let cheating of any kind take place.

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  5. Not everyone can work from home, some people have small kids or share the house with other professionals. They need to provide another space other than home for those who can't do it at home.

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  6. I do welcome online exams - about time. However, I am concerned that for some papers, it would be a massive disadvantage. For example, for Paper C - you will need to flick back and forth between the paper and cut out pieces of text.

    Doing Paper C online may be a big disadvantage.

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  7. There will be issues with screen time again like the UK. 10 minutes for a 4 hour exam is NOT enough.

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  8. Whatever they do - it needs to be the same software for all countries. Can they do this. Would all European countries agree to this.

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    Replies
    1. Why would they want/need to make different software for different countries??!!

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  9. A rather positive news which provides certainty to candidates and with sufficient advance. Now, this of course rises lots of doubts on how can this be conducted properly. My concern is the little amount of time available to EQE organizers to develop a stable platform for the online version of the exam. Also, candidates may have to re-think the self-prepared material for the exam if digital format of documents is allowed (this would save a few trees). Hopefully, EPO can tell very soon how this will be organized in more details.

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  10. I think sufficient times will need to be considered for the exams as well. Not everyone can type as quickly as others so consider timings for the exam itself shall be important. Some may struggle because they are not used to typing in EN, FR or DE. Of course, we will need to practice but the problem is that none of the past papers considered typed answers - so having enough time for the exam needs to be taken into account.

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  11. For papers C and DII a certain analysis method including marking and commenting is essential. I can´t imagine how to do this in a pure digital format. For my method I need paper versions which I can mark and comment with colours.

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    1. I totally agree. Printed examination papers are essential in papers C and DII.

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    2. The UK PEB exams will be administered online this October. Each candidate is required to have a printer AND a scanner such that they can print off the question paper and scan the answers/cuttings/clippings they have assembled.

      http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2020/06/the-patent-examination-board-peb.html

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    3. UK PEB <> EQE,
      therefore EQE is not necessarily based on the same technical requirements

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  12. I'm due to sit the pre exam and welcome this development. Hopefully this means that there should be pretty snappy notification of the provisional results! Let us get down to business for the real deal.

    Whether the learning from this will bring in an entirely new regime from 2022 onwards remains to be seen. I won't be unlearning to write by hand for now.

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  13. I think they are proposing this as fallback position to be used if not possible to gather in the same room because of the law constraints (the ones adopted thisyear around Europe).
    Please note that students are supposed to be back to school under "social distancing" rules son, so I think also the old "within room" EQE will be doable. Let see what happens next Spring

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    1. This is not a fallback position. Given the vastly differing local and national responses to local flareups and outbreaks, and that there is no standard response across the EU/EEA & Britain regarding how many people can gather indoors together and under what circumstances, the holding of in-person exams of up to several hundred candidates (in some exam centres), further requiring cross-border travel for many such candidates, simply cannot be guaranteed again until after this Covid19 pandemic is over.

      Even the most optimistic observers/commentators would not speculate that conditions in March 2020 would be such that no intending candidate would be prevented, for potentially the second time, of attending a centrally-held exam.

      As such, the idea here is TO AVOID THE NEED TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER and TO AVOID THE NEED FOR ANY CANDIDATE TO TRAVEL. This makes the online exam not a fallback position, but THE IDEAL POSITION. Nobody needs to leave their home (in theory, at least), and nobody needs to travel to an exam hall where tens or hundreds of others will also be in attendance.

      Of course, candidates who will sit the exam under these new and so-far unexplained circumstances - myself included - may not find this position to be entirely ideal at all.

      As such, there will be no written exams in the old format; the exam will be taken online by all candidates.

      And just like video conference Oral Proceedings became, overnight, the default for the EPO, you can probably assume that remote/online examining will now be the new default for the EQE going forward. They had already indicated, at the time of the definitive cancellation of the EQE2020, that they were looking at ways to administer the exams electronically from 2022. That it happens already in 2021 now looks unavoidable.

      As to whether and if some attorney firms/companies can arrange facilities in-house for their candidates to take the exam at work, rather than at home, that remains to be seen; however, the idea that some candidates will be allowed to gather and write the exam, on paper, in the old style, while the rest are required to do so online, is a non-starter. So too is the idea that they will advance with parallel plans to host the exams on paper in the old fashion (necessitating the booking and reserving of all those halls, and requiring people to book travel, only to perhaps have the whole thing called off again at the last minute; or to have certain candidates from affected areas find at the last minute they are not allowed to travel to the exam). For reasons of equity, they will clearly only administer the exam in a single way, for which each intending candidate will be able to present themselves regardless of local or national conditions at the time of the exam.

      Have a look at this post on the IP Kat website where they discuss similar arrangements that will be used for the PEB exams in the UK; it also includes a link to a video on YouTube from ProctorExam, the company that provides the environment in which exams can be taken online, showing a candidate setting up the necessary connections to validate themselves prior to taking a test. Note that it requires the streaming of two video feeds (the webcam on your laptop/desktop on which you take the exam, as well as the camera in another smartphone/tablet running the Proctor Exam app, and set up and plugged in behind you so that you can be observed from both the front and the back for the entirety of the exam), as well as sharing your desktop and microphone (so they can see if you make any attempt to communicate with outsiders). As such, it will place a rather heavy burden on many candidates' home internet connections, and therefore many will clearly wish to use facilities provided by their employer, assuming that the EQE will be administered in the same/a similar manner (as seems almost certain now).

      http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2020/07/breaking-eqe-to-be-held-online-next.html

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    2. hmmm, you will sit at home or perhaps at your workplace and write the EQE online, or you will not write 2021

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  14. It is ironic considering how freaked out they were in previous year with respect to "elctronic devices" such as an plain old Casio wrist watch. I think an online exam, if not carried out in test centers, will open up many more possibilites for cheating. The people who do not cheat will suffer due to the calibration of the results based on the general level of the candidates.

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  15. Thanks for this elaborated comment - even though I do not completely agree with you - it makes sense to skip the "old format", however there might still be a vast majority of e.g. form EQE-candidates that would raise the flag in relation to cheating.

    Taken into account the number of academic exam in the united states were several reports have stated an increase in cheating through the use if electronic device, it might seems that the paper format exam has a hugh supporting group believing that paper exam is the most simple and safe test to avoid candidate trying to cheat.

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    1. How do you want do raise the flag?
      Now? The SB decides, the REE and IPREE do not exclude this type of event
      After the exams? On which basis?

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  16. I welcome online format in general but I do have concerns especially for papers B, C and DII. Most methods are taught using timelines, cutting parts of the answer out etc...

    People need to highlight this and draw timelines. Paper version is essential but also, copy and paste function is critical. Otherwise, candidates will spend most of their time drawing out a timeline on MS WORD. Not ideal.

    Then there needs to be time added for printing and scanning etc...

    2 exams on the same day is NOT going to work.

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    1. I guess that the online environment will be similar to the one tested in the computer-based EQE pilot programm but only as online version. I do not think, that printing and, in particular, scanning would be necessary.

      Moreover, cut and paste - and even searching - would be easier by using a computer.

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    2. Difference now is that those who were in the EQE pilot were small group and people voluntered and there are clearly lessons that needs to be taken from that. Hence it was just a pilot phase.

      Now everybody is forced to do it so off course more things needs to be considered carefully.

      I really do Not think taking A + B is realistic. You be staring at your computer screen for 7+ hours in 1 day.

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    3. copy and paste must be allowed as candidates can cut pieces of paper out during the normal exam so I don't see why copy and paste should be banned.

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    4. copy + past and searching was already possible in the CB-EQE Pilot.

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  18. Many doubts arise indeed:
    - Will candidates be allowed to use digital documents or books?
    - Will it be possible to consult internet during the exam? (for instance, to check the guidelines or the Case Law)
    - Will it be possible to use "cut and paste" from the paper document? from template documents prepared in advance by the candidate?
    - How will "no cheating" be warranted? (it summarizes mainly on preventing candidates to being in contact with other persons)
    - How to verify the identity of the candidate?
    - Will the exam require the use of a specific text editing software? Or will MS Word be used?
    - Will the candidates receive printed copies of the papers? will they be allowed to print the papers?

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