Wednesday, March 3, 2021

e-EQE - D 2021 (EN & DE): copy to try yourself, and many technical problems

Updated: 3 Mar 21 after message from Exam Board
Yesterday was the e-EQE D Exam (still called Paper D even though no paper is used any more πŸ˜‰. If you want to try yourself, see here for combined EN & DE copy. The text was extracted from peoples answers (sorry, no French). The EPO normally makes official copies available in the compendium in the week after the EQE. 

  • I made the exam at the same time as candidates as a bench marker. The Examination Committees have 5 external people per exam, and the answers are used for Committee discussions. They do not directly influence the marking, but allow group discussions on what should and should not be awarded marks
  • See below for more detail. I have not discussed the content of the exam, and avoided any spoilers, but I will try and respond to comments on this post or in the Telegram chat about particular questions. Also check the Telegram groups for discussions and comments

1. Telegram chat groups

  • The main group has 255 members, for general issues and WISEflow + LockDown Browser + Zendesk issues. The (ABC+PE claims analysis) group has 114 members, the (D+PE legal) group has 116 members, and the summer study group for EQE 2022 preparation already has 67 members. Now also a EQE Marketplace if you want to sell or buy EQE materials.
    • Mainly for students to discuss with others, but also open to any tutors. 
    • If you have just done an exam, only discuss the answers if you can really take it. For most people, it is better not to discuss - you can't change your answer, no-one knows what the marking will be for particular answers (Main Exam) and sometimes more than one Pre-Exam answer is accepted. 
    • Group rules: no discussions of ways to cheat, no exchanges of large sections of copyrighted materials (excerpts, annotated examples, WIPO/EPO docs etc. are allowed), no requesting or sharing of exam materials until after the scheduled end of the last part of that exam, no requesting or sharing of invigilator password.

2. WISEflow, before the exam, after the exam
  • Own answers were available 45 mins (could also have been earlier) after the scheduled end of the last part (as promised) πŸ‘
  • At least one person noticed that the pdf of their answer was missing pages. It is not clear how widespread it is, but it is advisable to check (while you remember) whether it is complete

3. LockDown Browser (many comments posted under PE 2021 post and in Telegram chats)

  • After starting LockDown Browser for Part 1 at 0930, the assignment (exam) was only available in German. The selection menu at the top of the thumbnail was missing. So, it was only German in both the preview window and in separate tabs
    • I immediately refreshed the Browser, and the menu reappeared, so I only lost 3-4 minutes.
    • However, refresh did not work for everybody, or it only worked after 20 minutes, or they had to restart the Browser. Someone said that the Zendesk queue was 1100 people 😭
    • At 1020, a message popped up to say that everyone had been given an extra 10 minutes to compensate. My exam countdown clock did not change
    • At 1045 (15 minutes before the scheduled end), a second pop up saying that everyone had been given an extra 30 mins, but that the break was reduced from 30 mins to 20 mins, and Part 2 would start at 1150 instead of 1130. The D2 schedule in the afternoon did not change, so the break after Part 2 was reduced from 45 mins to 25 mins. 
    • I saw that my countdown clock had changed, but I handed-in at 1103 voluntarily because I was benchmarking
  • It is very positive that the EQE organisation were able to react so quickly to help those still working on the exam πŸ‘. However, there were still some issues:
    • not everybody's clocks were extended, so they were forced to hand-in at 1105 ( the scheduled end). Some got reactions from Zendesk that they would be compensated for any issues.
    • Extending a 90 minute session to 120 minutes without breaks was a problem for some
    • It is pretty stressful when the start times change because you need to be there on time to log-in
    • Some people reported the same problem in D1-2 (Part 2)
  • Update: On official e-EQE page, a message from Examination Board (3 Mar 21):
    • The Examination Board of the EQE is aware of a situation that affected paper D1.1. The Examination Board guarantees that the marking process will be conducted so that no candidate will be disadvantaged because of that.πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
  • Problems seen when handing-in answers at the end of D2 (quoted from Telegram chat)
    • Could not submit because of "connection error". System message gets you nowhere as everything is greyed out. 
    • Told by Zendesk to refresh. They said it's a common issue. System overload as everyone submits at the same time (and the D-2 has a larger data volume). 
    • So be aware of this for A,B, C-1 and C-2
  • Screen went white approx, 10mins before end of  Part 1 (quoted from Telegram chat, occurred during Pre-Exam)
    • Browser would not start for Part 2, so 10 mins late to get it to work. 
    • Froze again in the middle of part 2, and again 3 mins before the end of part 2, forced to reinstall lockdown browser each time
    • Both times answers had to be handed in afterwards as missed end time of exam.
    • Managed to get remote assistance from IT over lunch break πŸ‘. They removed loads of programs and checked IP addresses which fixed the issue.
    • Not sure what it was as didn’t happen in any of the mocks. Hope to have passed - it was very disruptive. 
  • Invigilators were very friendly and tried to help.πŸ‘

    4. Reporting complaints & problems to
    • See here for post about Instructions to Candidates
      • ItC 11- email complaints regarding conduct as soon as possible, but no later than end of day of the exam. ItC 39 - email report on any disruptions during exam for which candidates are not responsible or which are beyond their control within 24 hrs of end of exam.
    • The EQE organisation is well aware of many issues, and general issues affecting large numbers of people will be taken into account during the marking. However, they may not be aware how a disruption or incident has affected an individual candidates performance. The idea of reporting is to give them a chance to consider whether to take it into account during the marking. They may also not realise how a positive thing for many (30 mins extension) could have a negative effect on an individual.
    • As an emails need to be sent very quickly, and most candidates are pretty tired after the exam, I worked with Preston Richard (Bardehle Pagenberg) to make a complaint template with some of the possible things you may wish to mention (we collected them from the blogs and chats). It may also reduce the number of emails from each candidate.
      • But don't just copy everything and send it - it must be personalised to explain your situation and experiences.

    5. D Exam (general, impression and methodology)

    • Very happy that the formatting of the exam was much improved πŸ‘, so CTRL-C and CTL-V were sufficient for all Part 1 questions, two Part 2 questions (Q4 question did not paste well) and D2 (most important for those relying on it πŸ‘).
      • When using CTRL-A/CTRL-C, it seems like there is a 3-page limit for each copy
    • The Table of Contents overview and the clickable links to navigate between the different styles worked perfectly πŸ‘
    • I am not a fast typist, but I managed a similar speed to on paper
      • I used CTRL-F in D2 a couple of time
      • on papers where argumentation structure repeats (like D2 and C), copy/paste of parts of your answer, or quickly making a template from the first piece is faster (as long as you don't forget to change all the facts).
      • I like being able to use the explicit questions as a checklist in my answer to make sure I don't forget anything
    • D1 questions seemed designed to keep the stress as low as possible:
      • almost all questions had the facts in chronological order πŸ‘
      • almost everything had been asked before in previous exams, or could be considered from the core of the syllabus
        • small exception: last part of one PCT question 
    • D1 methodology:
      • I copied each question into my answer first. I used a header "Copy of Exam" to label that section. 
      • I did not highlight or underline the facts in my answer. I read the questions using the copy in my answer, and made a rough vertical timeline in each answer by copying the sentences exactly with facts and dates, and pasting them in chronological order
        • I did not waste time making it neat - I used the exact wording from the question, so the dates were not always in the same place, but it was chronological.
      • I copied the last part of the questions ("the explicit questions") as a rough framework for my answer to make sure I didn't forget anything
    • D2 part was very well designed πŸ‘, allowing it to be made in different ways:
      • dates were almost all in chronological order, which makes it a lot easier to analyze. 
      • the "story" was well-written, with a natural flow to it. This helps remembering.
      • simple technology, anyone can understand πŸ‘. I prefer this in D2 because technological understanding is tested anyway in the ABC Exams.
      • abbreviations given πŸ‘ which reduces the amount of typing (it was always possible to us two-letter abbreviation, but it is much easier when they are given and used throughout the exam).
      • classic style questions, but being explicit about which combinations to discuss πŸ‘. So you don't forget anything.
      • I think most people should get close to the end in 3 hours, and pick up quite a few marks explaining what they were doing
        • the 50 marks for D2 is a reduction of 15% compared to previous years. The subject matter to discuss was more limited and fewer loose ends to worry about than before πŸ‘ 
        • the two procedural legal issues could be solved relatively separately, and they did not greatly influence the patentability. In fact, the patentability analysis and the legal issues overlapped such that you could do them in any order and they strengthened each other πŸ‘ 
        • a third substantive legal issue was clearly signaled, which if you did correctly, reduced the amount of work that you needed to do πŸ‘
        • dealing with national rights is sometimes a distraction, but that was cleverly minimised πŸ‘ 
    • D2 methodology: I did it the same as here in my Mock2 - D2 exam post
      • in general, if you see something in an exam that you knows gives marks, you should try and write it (like novelty attacks in C Exam). I know you risk getting lost, but if you stick to a strict step-by-step approach, you may not get to the end. For this D2, you can (and should do that)


    1. The notifications for extra time in Part 1 were not homogeneous. I only received the final notification for the 30min extension.
      Should also point out that the combination of the delay of part 2 and problems submitting answer to that part meant there was less than 15min break before starting D2. In my case this was ca 10min which is inadequate to be able to go to the toilet and prepare for the next exam, let alone eating/drinking.

      1. I am not sure why they did not delay D2 as well, as no-one is allowed just to make D2.

    2. thanks for all your detailed observations Pete.
      I feel "lucky" that many of these problems (blanking out etc) did not occur during my exam and I "only" had to deal with the exam in German and the reduced times for break whereas breaks were urgently needed for problem-solving ..
      Hope that A/B/C will flow without problems for those who have to sit these!

      1. Thanks.
        Hopefully - A has just finished, and it is certainly quieter than yesterday :-)

    3. Alexander BoganderMarch 3, 2021 at 3:16 PM

      Yeah A seemed ok really. No surprises. I ended up doing 2x method claims which was a bit strange, and they were both a bit messy, but the ind apparatus claim seemed straightforward. Also, 20m to print is a bit of a joke. I had almost read both D1 and D2 before the exam had started. Not that I'm complaining ;)

    4. I was notified about a non-working microphone and webcam during the exam. Was asked to disconnect and reconnect a few times. Next, I was asked to exit without hand-in and re-enter the flow using the invigilator password.
      When reentering, the microphone and camera worked just fine.
      I had sufficient time overall to do the paper, but it is still quite time-consuming and disturbing to be asked to unplug, replug, exit and re-enter the flow...
      Never had any issue with this during any of the mocks or during the D-exam yesterday.

    5. On the e-EQE official page:
      Message from the Examination Board (3 Mar 2021)
      The Examination Board of the EQE is aware of a situation that affected paper D1.1. The Examination Board guarantees that the marking process will be conducted so that no candidate will be disadvantaged because of that.

      1. I wonder if they're going to consider any potential impact on the rest of the day too? No harm in looking and analysing to look for statistically significant issues that carried through the day, no?

    6. In D1-1 i answered questions 1, 2 and 3 because i didn't see that they messed up the order of the questions (part 1 had questions 1, 2 and 6- why that?). Was that on purpose?
      Are they not going to give me any points on question 6, because the heading of my answer says question 3? I'm quite desperate.

      1. I did that, too. I doubt it will matter. There were SOOO many other HUGE issues, I think that one is minor :)

      2. They have never marked the exams like that - if the error and correction are obvious, they will ignore it.

      3. Thank you Leigh and Pete! :)

    7. I did not receive the announcement at 10.20 of the extra 10 minutes.
      I received the announcement of the extra 30 minutes, at the stated time. But that was 15 minutes before the scheduled end which I was working to because of the lack of the 10 min extra announcement to me.
      I actually received the 10 minutes extra announcement the next time I logged in to wiseflow on my normal browser (ie when i navigated to the flow for d1-2)
      What a dodgy piece of software.
      I reported this to the helpdesk

    8. My D1-1 paper was not uploaded (no mistake on my part!). After that, I couldn't concentrate anymore because 25 points were already missing. Does anyone at the EPO have any idea what this means for a candidate during the exam? Do I now get special points because the incompetence of the EPO cannot provide a working and user-friendly software?

      1. They will take the D1 issues into account in general. But your missing D1-1 paper is a major issue - are you sure they cannot retrieve it?
        If you have not done so yet, make sure you report all the issue by email and explain how they affected your performance. You can use the template mentioned above in the post.