Tuesday, 9 March 2021

EQE goes digital - the official EPO news message

Yesterday, the EPO issues a news message on the website on the EQE. 

It was a major achievement to move from an EQE that is fully paper based -the exam papers as well as the material you can bring being only on paper, and a handwritten answer- with candidates sitting in about 8, some of them big, exam locations scattered around Europe - to an online e-EQE in a secured browser -the exam papers as pdfs and/or (in full or in part) onscreen, legal texts partially online, a typed answer in a basic editor, online invigilation-. 

But... the level of praise and the absence of reflection as to the growing pains and serious problems in the press release does not really feel justice to how candidates and tutors, as well as other stakeholders, have experienced the preparation phase and the exam itself. The message seems to have been drafted by a Public Relations department and it seems not to have been checked for the sensitivity of the issues that arose in the preparation of and during the exams, of the impact that such a message has on candidates, some of which feel that their voices and experiences have been ignored.

In particular, the press release downgrades the issue at D1-1 to "solved quickly within a few minutes". That does not really reflect the real situation where some candidates were affected for the whole of D1-1, at least, and where an additional 30 minutes was awarded but not received by all candidates (as a Flowlock browser refresh was needed to actually receive the 30 minutes), and where the break schedule was changed with a sever impact on the length of the lunch break (from planned 45 minutes to only 25)... I refer to our Good luck blog, our First impressions blog for many comments from candidates, as well as to our D1 blog.  Luckily, the Examination Board did react in a fast and appropriate way with a message on the e-EQE webpages, on the next day, with the guarantee that no candidate will be disadvantaged as a result during the marking process. , as is also indicated in the press release.

The Press Release is show below in full (no changes made):

EQE goes digital

8 March 2021

Nearly 4 000 candidates, 5 exams split over 11 flows, 130 exam pages in a choice of languages, 24 hours of examination in 5 days, 80 online invigilators, 400 people involved in preparations, a secured examination environment, and audio and image supervision: From 1 to 5 March, the EPO successfully held the inaugural e-EQE. For the first time ever, candidates sat the exam online at a place of their choice anywhere in the world.