Pass rates for all candidates taking the Final Diploma (FD) papers in the PEB 2018 exams improved for FD1, FD2 and FD3, but for FD4 fell to a twenty year low.
The FD1 pass rate was 70% for those attending JDD FD1 courses in 2018. This compared to a pass rate of 53% for other candidates. And 46% of the other candidates who did pass in 2018 had attended a JDD FD1 course in 2017 or before.
The FD3 pass rate was 81% for those attending JDD FD3 courses in 2018 – as against 69% for other candidates.
The FD4 pass rate for those attending JDD FD4 courses in 2018 was 37% – as against 32% for other candidates. And 43% of the other candidates who passed FD4 in 2018 had attended a JDD FD4 course in 2017 or before.
For the Foundation Certificate (FC) papers pass rates for all candidates remained high, but for FC5 the pass rate fell significantly. In the case of FC4 (D&C), the pass rates for candidates who attended a JDD FC4 (D&C) course in 2018 was 87% as against 62% for other candidates.
Our Analysis of PEB 2018 results shows that, overall, 253 candidates passed one or more FD paper in PEB 2018. This included 64 who passed two papers, 19 who passed three papers and 10 who passed all four FD papers. Nearly a half (45%) of the successful candidates attended one or more JDD course in 2018. As in earlier years, on average, candidates who attended our FD courses had higher pass rates than those who did not. The differential was particularly large in the cases of FD1, FD3 and FD4. We would like to congratulate our tutors and, above all, commend the effort put in by the trainees who attended the 2018 courses. Commiserations for those who fell short of the 50% pass mark in 2018 (47% in the case of FD4) – hopefully you will have success in 2019.
Looking ahead, there are two suggestions we think would make sense for future exams:
- For FD4, we think it would make sense if the PEB considered extending the length of the FD4 exam from 5 hours to 5.5 hours (as the EPO recently did for EQE Papers C and D) or even to 6 hours. This is because time pressure appears to be a key factor in FD4’s low pass rate. From our experience of candidates attempting past papers each year in the revision period running up to the exams, many more candidates show a good understanding and the ability to pass FD4 than is being reflected in the results. Time pressure may well be a key factor.
- For the FC papers (and, indeed, all papers), we can see arguments for applying the system used in the EQE’s and making the UK exams open book, i.e. allowing candidates to bring into the exam (annotated) copies of the Acts and Rules (but not revision notes/handouts). The argument for this is that, sensibly there has been an increasing shift in the FC exams towards critical analysis and application of understanding of the law rather than recital/recall, but Part A answers still require accurate statement of statutory wording. Having access to the key sources of law also mirrors real life.