Saturday, March 7, 2020

EQE-disaster recovery plan

What a nightmare - as far as I know, the EQE has never been cancelled. For those who were ready to take the exam, it feels like the end of the world.
I saw a lot of negative comments about the EPO, but you shouldn't blame the messenger. The Boards are comprised equally of EPO and epi members, and they were working tirelessly until the last moment to find some way to let it go ahead.
Take some time off now: relax in the weekends, do other things, and try to think of positive things you can do. You can certainly take off the days that you were supposed be doing exams, and do some of the things that you postponed due to your intense study schedule.
Prepare your 4-6 week intensive schedule: if it is rescheduled, they should give you 4-6 weeks notice (a reasonable time to book flights/hotels). If you were ready for the exam in 2 weeks time, you can be ready again.
Decide on your low-level schedule: For some people, it may be a good idea to continue studying at some level:

  • Organise your legal materials a little better (a lot of the current legal reference books started life as someone's well-organised EQE notes). 
  • Use your legal knowledge more in your daily work (see if a colleague needs help with an office action or opposition, give a presentation to your office, check whether your office procedures meet "all due care", teach subjects to trainees, write a legal article). 
  • Regularly do papers, and legal questions, even ones you have already done
  • Regularly do A and DII - theses are the two papers that are the closest to real life, and directly benefit your practical skills. For exam preparation, you can never do enough of these papers. And for A, try some of the other technology papers as well.
  • See the great initiative here on LinkedIn for refresher workshops

Think about other improvements: ... and don't forget your physical/mental well-being

  • for example, read this LinkedIn post about meditation & exercise
  • discuss any issues and worries with other candidates, tutors, etc
  • be prepared not to attend any exams (or work) if you are sick or may be contagious

Prepare for three scenarios:
I have no insider information, but I know something about how the exam is organised. There is only one exam for each paper, so they cannot hold the same paper on different days or at different times. But they could try to arrange the papers in different weeks, for example, or at least organise papers with the most preparation for candidates = Pre-Exam & Paper D.
1) Rescheduling for May/June July/August
Earlier than that seems unlikely. A lot of the cancellations and closures are official reactions to increases in cases, but each country has a different philosophy. So the earliest would be about 4-6 weeks after there is a continuous decline in cases (earliest measurable in April). Registration deadlines for EQE 2021 may need to be postponed.
Updated (21/03/20): May/June seems unlikely now. Normally, having exams during the summer would be impossible to arrange, but these are not normal times.
Updated (1/4/20): September seems to be being considered - see separate post
2) Rescheduling for September/October
This seems to be most likely if they are to reschedule. But this may conflict with some national exams, so maybe you have to change the order of preparation. They may have to delay EQE 2021 as well to get everything to fit.
Update (1/4/20): at least Registration deadlines for EQE 2021 will need to be postponed.
3) No Exam in 2020, wait for EQE 2021
I hope not. But even for EQE 2021 to go ahead with some certainty, they will already need to consider a lot of changes and back-up plans. For example: more online sitting of exams, moving the EQE to May each year, having max. 50 people per room, using testing locations outside big cities (plenty of places in central Europe), change system to fewer exams to pass, offer Pre-Exam more frequently, shorter exams
Be prepared for more inconvenience in the future:
All international events, meetings, exams etc will have to have a plan for the future to reduce risk from any virus, not just Corona COVID-19, and have an emergency plan. For example: instructing people not to travel / attend if you are sick, having a policy for visibly sick people = refused access or removed or given a mask or moved to a separate room, temperature measurement, providing masks / soaps / handgels for more cleaning, disinfecting rooms, disinfecting answer papers, no handshaking (like in hospitals) etc.