Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Converting a "paper" methodology to e-EQE digital

Update 10 Feb 21: Ignacio Lobato Holtmann has created a Telegram group for fast exchange of eEQE questions, tips and info. He also proposes forming study groups for the next EQEs.
Updated 30 Jan21 in purple.
Thanks to Thomas Kimpfbeck - he held his "How to cope with the new online EQE" webinar on 21 Jan 20. He was one of the early testers of the WISEflow system, and he makes interesting points. But he did work with an earlier version, so I think one or two technical details have changed. The recording is available here.

  • Updated 4 Feb: read the official docs here: eEQE page and FAQ's page before testing and again before the exam. Many issues are already covered and they are updated regularly.

Below, the things I found interesting in Thomas' webinar and my comments in blue:

1. General

  • Use Wordpad in windows as a simple editor to practice exams digitally.
  • Learn to touch-type - quicker, less switching of attention, reduced neck strain
  • Focus on content
    • Agree. Marks are mostly given for answering the questions, coming to conclusions and showing how you applied the appropriate law to the correctly identified facts given in the exam.

2. Hardware:

  • Notebook or laptop built-in screen is too small. Use an external monitor screen instead.
  • No other computers (or monitor screens) on the desk. 
    • no other electronic devices permitted unless explicitly allowed by Examination Secretariat in advance
  • Use a scroll mouse as you will need to scroll through your answer
3. Software:
  • After browser starts, cannot access or view windows task bar
    • test audio and video before launching Lockdown browser (in operating system)
4. Invigilation:
  • There will be an invigilator chat window
    • Zendesk - separate username and password. Login in Lockdown Browser under External Resources
5. Lockdown Browser:
  • Avoid browser bugs:
    • don't select wrong language as you may have to start exam again!
    • max. 10 tabs to avoid crashing browser
  • Use scroll wheel on mouse instead of clicking on scroll bars
  • Use keyboard shortcuts instead of menus
    • No shortcut for jumping between tabs
  • Available CTRL-A, B, C, F, I, U, V, X, Y, Z 
    • CTRL-SHIFT-V pastes without formatting is also available
  • Use smaller fonts e.g. 8 pt and Headings 3, 4 in your answer to reduce scrolling
  • Use CTRL ↑ and ↓ to jump between paragraphs. CTRL ← and → to jump between words.
  • HOME and END keys jump to top or bottom of answer
  • It is possible to go back to an old version in Revisions tab
    • Try CTRL-Z first. This should only be for disasters, like realising that you deleted half your answer 5 minutes ago.
  • CTRL-F does not work in exam tabs
    • From Mock1, it looks like this does work, but not so well for all exams. Wait for Mock2 to see if anything is improved.
  • Use Table of Contents generated with headers to navigate through your long answer
    • I mentioned in the chat that my entries could not be clicked. Thomas did not have that problem - it worked on his computer.
  • Can use table function to compare text side by side
    • I would not use this. You will waste a lot of time working on this.
    • Also, they do not want to see tables as part of your answer as it is not always clear to the marker what you are trying to show. Better to write short arguments and conclusions.
  • EPO website accessible via external resources
    • EPO Legal Texts be available under external resources. 
    • Note: Pdf versions could not be opened in Mock1. There is an Advanced Search for html versions, but unclear if this will be available. Test it during Mock2.
6. Converting a methodology on paper to e-EQE
  • You can highlight and format in your answer to help you navigate in your own answer
    • Don't waste time just formatting your answer to make it look good. It is the content that gets marks, and the marker understanding the context  of each statement correctly.
  • Open exam in an extra tab and use copy / paste extensively. Use a digital "Scrap sheet" in your answer instead of scrap paper.
    • Try this out. You only have one answer window, so everything you add increases your scrolling. Recommended is to use long lines of text, not short ones.
    • Some things are better on paper, eg overviews and A3 tables. But this is a stepping stone to your typed-in answer - there are no marks for anything on paper.
    • Do it for anything that you may need in your answer as a statement or to support an argument. In Paper A, do it for the claim language, for example. The more exams you practice, the better you become at this - for example, technical effects relating to features.
  • You can re-use the info in the digital scrap sheet, and delete it if you don't need it
    • If you have a header "Initial Analysis" and copy the notes after that, you can just leave it in when you hand it in. The marker reads your answer from start to finish, so I recommend putting initial thoughts at the beginning rather than the end. But you have to decide what you feel comfortable with.
  • Everything you need is in the exam, but you need to structure the chaos. On paper, often done with highlighters. Now collect the same type of info (same categories) together in your digital scrap sheets. Note the source paragraph nr. 
    • Don't waste too much time in organising and sorting information. When you read the exam, you will not understand the context of everything. So you can waste a lot of time deciding which category it might be in and noting all the paragraph numbers.
    • I only got up to exam speed when I stopped analysing the words and phrases so heavily on the first reading - go back to unclear or uncertain parts later when you understand the exam better. Stay away from side issues, where the outcome will not be relevant to the main part of your answer. 
  • It takes time to switch between tabs, so it may not be efficient to copy large portions of text - better to abbreviate or summarise what you found. 
  • Copy portions of exam to your answer and use the highlighting functions 
    • Don't waste too much time making it look nice. Categorising all the facts may get some minor marks, but you will not finish.
    • Be careful copying large sections and working with them as if they are the complete exam. It is easy to accidentally delete something or only copy in part of what you thought you were copying.
  • Have a To DO list
    • on paper or digitally
7. Paper C
  • Proposes to use "cover sheet" method. When you read each prior art document, immediately try to use info in a novelty attack. If it does not work, then you know it is for inventive step. This works better digitally than previously on paper.
    • Also called CEIPI or Chandler Meinders method. Works well on exams with a lot of novelty attacks, but can confuse you when combining for inventive step. 
    • This is a bottom up method - you work with the pieces and at the end, you have the overview. Other methodologies work top down, where you get an overview first, and then complete the pieces. 
    • Neither is perfect - bottom up can eat up your time. Top down is usually quicker, but you can easily miss something or label something wrongly. 
    • The end point is the same (you need to generate enough to be mark within the time available) but try and find a combination of the two techniques. After doing practice exams, be critical of your performance. 

8. My conclusions
  • Yes, it makes sense to copy as much as possible into your answer. But not everyone can work like this, especially with one answer window. If you get lost in the exam, it will not help. 
  • In my previous posts, I relied quite a lot on paper. Use the copy/paste where possible as this is  available and will be faster than making notes on paper. You want to put the things in you will most likely need in your answer. For example, in "Initial Analysis"
    • Paper A: Features and associated technical effects, definitions. Also will have a separate section to collect claim language and phrases for "device/system/product", "method/process", "use".
    • Paper B: "Other objections" by examiner, such as clarity, too many independent claims etc. Also will have separate section with "claims as filed" and "claims as amended" - here useful to apply some highlighting.
    • Paper C: From patent, definitions and technical/effect feature combinations for granted claims. Also will have separate section for "claims as granted"- here useful to apply some highlighting
    • Paper D2: For each patent/application: priority claims, what is described, what is claimed, what is not described, what is not claimed. For a potential public disclosure: facts relating to technical disclosure and availability to the public. Also, for each party, products & services being exploited in each territory.
  • Use headers in your answer - this gives context to the pieces you use.
  • Find the balance. No golden methodology exists that works for everybody or even works on all exams. You have to find the right balance for you and be flexible. 
  • You don't lose marks for incorrect statements (only time). It is better to be wrong quickly, than to waste time trying to fix it. Exams have safeguards built-in to allow anyone making an excusable error to still score well.
  • Concentrate on the parts that give the most marks - look in last years examiners report or candidates solutions for the typical marks per section.
  • After doing practice exams, be critical  of your performance - not just the marks, but also the time. If you run out of time, you will have to take more risks. Did you spend a lot of time on side issues or making your answer perfect? If you make a lot of critical mistakes by going too fast or being chaotic, you have to build in more checks or even double-checks.


  1. Pete,
    thank you so much for all the work you do to help us pass the exam!

  2. Thank you so much Pete !! Hope the exam system could match the characteristics of EQE, i.e. lots of reading and writing, especially for Papers C and D, whereas only limited information (one tab) will be shown on the screen, and some information on the physical paper, which is not convenient and efficient for reading... you need to go back and forth between screen and paper to check and confirm the information and answer the questions... in realy daily life, you can have mutiple windows to show different documents simultaneously on one screen...

    1. You're welcome - I hope it helps. Yes, there are a lot of things that are different and difficult to get used to. It always helps to try and use an advantage, rather than focus on the disadvantages.

      My impression from the webinars is that they chose the software first, and then had to adapt the exams to fit. The main criteria was to be able to take the exam almost anywhere, so they picked the software that allowed that. Hopefully Mock2 will be better, but those are mainly old papers.
      For the actual exams, they have taken the limitations into account. Whenever the exam changes, the exams tend to be relatively straightforward - they will not be "easy", but they will have a very typical style and content.

      So the main thing as a candidate is to get the IT and room sorted out, log in early, print, and generate as much relevant answer as you can for them to mark.

      I have applied to be a benchmarker for paper D, so, if picked, I will also be doing the exam at the same time on 2 March as everybody else. So, I will also be practicing working online and practicing touch typing in the coming weeks.

  3. E-EQE FAQ's updated:
    Paper B:
    - indicate deletions with square brackets “[ ]”. Indicate added text with underlining.
    Paper C:
    - able to print your answer to the first part of paper C during the break. Will have to got to "information on flows" page (see point 6.5 in the user guide) and download your answer before printing it.
    - notice of opposition must comply with EPC, in particular A.99, A.100, R.76 - all relevant info, statement of extent, opposition grounds, evidence, facts and arguments

    1. Thank you Pete. I must admit that I find it hard to find new updates in the Faqs. It would be better if they do what you do u. E. Updates using a different colour and date the update.

    2. Thanks. Changes to webpages is not a great system. The official communication in general is very chaotic and scattered. There are plenty of social media or blog options they could have used.

  4. Thanks Pete. These materials are great but my revision and preparation time are severely affected this year due to school closures. I often find I don't have much time to deal with e_EQE. I suspect this is one reason why so many haven't tried mock 1 yet. There are other external pressures on many candidates at the moment.

    1. I sympathise - I am lucky that my kids are older and the school was able to set up everything online, so I can work uninterrupted.
      But the situation changes every week, so a lot of other things to deal with. I cant imagine how anyone is finding the time to concentrate on study.

  5. Hi Pete, they have also updated the FAQs to include webpages:
    In the LockDown Browser, you will have access to the EPO legal texts as "external resources" (see user guide point 6.4)

    You will be able to navigate the EPO legal texts webpage. No other legal texts will be made available online.

    Can you comment on how best to use these online resources? I guess the PDF versions could be more useful to use cntrl+f for example?


    1. Thanks. I see that the user guide, tips etc have been updated as well, and they have clarified the room requirement.
      Great - another user name and password - now for zendesk!
      I am not sure you can open the pdf versions - it was possible in Mock1 to get to the same pages, but PDF's are blocked (no pdf viewer allowed). So you may be limited to the html versions.
      In Mock 1, you could also use the search at the top, allowing you to search through all html sources, including case law. I do not know if that will be blocked.
      There is also the advanced legal texts search (clickable in Mock 1) where you can specify exactly which documents you want to search in.
      Something to check during Mock2.

    2. ok thanks for your comments.

      Your blog is very useful. I tried mock1 paper C at the weekend, and was quite scared after trying part 1, when I hadn't managed to write any of the answer (just the analysis). After reading your blog, I realised that other candidates had the same issues, and that encouraged me. I then realised that in part 2, I had finished the new claim analysis very quickly (so would have had time to finish that exam if I had sat it under the old conditions).
      Hopefully Mock2 uses a better split up exam (or a new one).

    3. I was surprised to see this update this morning. Having the searchable EPO legal texts will be huge, especially for the pre-EQE for quck reference. Great.

    4. I hope they leave it in place. Being able to search is not always useful as you don't have time to do research.
      But looking for a particular case law in the Guidelines (or key phrase from case law) is very useful.

    5. @UnknownJan 28, 2021
      I hope Mock2 really shows improvement in the structure, especially for B and C. They are still based on old exams, but they have had more time to adapt them.

  6. Has anyone tried setting up an acount on zendesk. I've set one up but the page looks incomplete when you log in.

  7. Make sure that you read the official docs here: eEQE page and FAQ's page. Many issues are already covered.

  8. Make sure that you read the official docs here: eEQE page and FAQ's page. Many issues are already covered.