Pass rates for all candidates taking the Final Diploma (FD) papers in the PEB 2019 exams fell significantly for FD1, FD2 and FD3. The pass rate rose marginally for FD4 but remained near its twenty year low.
The FD1 pass rate was 57% for those attending JDD FD1 courses in 2019. This compared to a pass rate of 39% for other candidates. And 14% of the other candidates who did pass in 2019 had attended a JDD FD1 course in 2018.
The FD2 pass rate was 48% for those attending JDD FD2 courses in 2019 – as against 29% for other candidates.
The FD3 pass rate was 69% for those attending JDD FD3 courses in 2019 – as against 47% for other candidates.
The FD4 pass rate for those attending JDD FD4 courses in 2019 was 40% – as against 33% for other candidates. And 30% of the other candidates who passed FD4 in 2019 had attended a JDD FD4 course in 2018.
For the Foundation Certificate (FC) papers pass rates for all candidates remained high. In the case of FC5 (Trade Mark Law), the pass rates for candidates who attended a JDD FC5 course in 2019 was 86% as against 63% for other candidates.
Our Analysis of PEB 2019 results shows that, overall, 210 candidates passed one or more FD paper in PEB 2019. This included 52 who passed two papers, 13 who passed three papers and 5 who passed all four FD papers. A half of the successful candidates attended one or more JDD course in 2019. As in earlier years, on average, candidates who attended our FD courses had higher pass rates than those who did not. We would like to congratulate our tutors and, above all, commend the effort put in by the trainees who attended the 2019 courses. Commiserations for those who fell short of the 50% pass mark in 2019 – hopefully you will have success in 2020.
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 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.