Thursday, June 3, 2021

EQE 2022 - preparation and top bugs that need to be fixed

Update 21 Jun 21: I have also made some of these points in epi Information 02/21
EQE 2022 has been announced (OJ 2021, A44), and it has been confirmed that the EQE will be online, it may be taken at any suitable location, and WISEflow will be used again. The exams will take place over two weeks: 
  • Tu 08 Mar 22 - D Exam / Th 10 Mar - A Exam
  • Tu 15 Mar 22 - B Exam / Th 17 Mar - C Exam / Fri 18 Mar - Pre-Exam
No details yet on which other software will be used or whether changes will be made in the room and workspace restrictions. But based on EQE 2021, taking an exam is likely to require: 
  • an exam browser, such as LockDown Browser
  • continuous AI-assisted camera and sound invigilation, so you must be visible in the webcam field of view for long periods
  • online invigilation, such as Zendesk

So, EQE 2022 candidates can already plan ahead:

  • Keep an eye on the EPO’s EQE pages for updated details: EPO e-EQE page, EQE Notices & Downloads, EQE FAQ's
    • don't read through all the details from EQE 2021 - much of the info was provisional, a lot is repeated, and it is likely to change or be consolidated
  • At least one mock should be expected in Jan / Feb. Reserve the time and take part - you must use these opportunities to test your system, and to check for individual problems with your hardware/ software
  • Think digital for taking the exam: 
    • a key skill is now typing speed. Take an online typing course and get a comfortable keyboard / mouse
    • become less dependent on paper. Get comfortable reading work documents electronically, especially PDF.
  • Look for resources that support working digitally
    • websites that allow questions to be viewed and answered digitally, such as Practice EQE
    • EPC and PCT books which are digital – a few, like EPC.App and PCT.App can even be annotated digitally and printed. 
  • But be prepared to have your references availableon paper. During EQE 2021, access was provided to the electronic resources on the EPO website only, but it is not yet clear what will be available in 2022.

There were many issues in 2021 with the new exam platform. These are my top bugs that must be fixed for EQE 2022:

  • Digital highlighting of exam pages
    • this was not available at all for exam pages. Some highlighting was possible for the own answer.
    • it is essential when reading off a screen to be able to keep your place, to note things you have used and/or things you need to use
    • candidates should not be wasting their time copying large parts of the exam to their answer just to apply highlighting
  • Copy/paste into the answer without losing formatting
    • copy/paste was possible, but some or all formatting was often lost,
    • this was especially poor with Apple computers
    • candidates should not be wasting their time reformat excerpts
  • Side-by-side previewing of exam pages, allowing correct copy/paste and highlighting
    • copy/paste was only available between different tabs
    • candidates should be able to answer in the same way that they are used to when working digitally
  • Too-limited digital External References during the exam
    • the EPO website was available, with searching
    • this must be extended to include WIPO to avoid every candidate printing out 2000 pages of the PCT Applicant’s Guide
  • Zendesk automatically logging out during the exam
    • candidates had to keep checking every 20 mins and logging back in
    • this should not be necessary.
  • Camera and microphone, once tested, should function throughout the exam
    • many candidates were interrupted by Zendesk during the exam because LockDown Browser had disabled their webcam. the camera tested during startup of LockDown Browser should not be disabled.
    • there should be an automatic warning if the camera and/or microphone is unexpectedly not working

Other improvements needed for EQE 2022:

  • lnclude an optional "digital exam desktop"
    • so that candidates can prepare PDF's and upload them for use during the exam
    • some EPC/PCT books are already digital, and many recommended EPO / WIPO references are only available digitally 
    • allow searchable text of such PDF's, as you have in real-life, for all digital references. Being able to search broadly does not help as much as you think. Only with knowledge can you search quickly and precisely to pick out what you need.
  • Find a more effective way of communicating with candidates than e-mail
    • where follow-up questions can be posted. For example, a forum, Twitter, or Telegram chat groups 
    • be more open about how the exams will be adapted to the platform
  • Provide a technical helpdesk and forum 
    • to solve network and access problems well before the exam
    • especially for company networks and laptops, where candidates will not have Administrator rights.
    • run an early beta test using a large number of external candidates and/or tutors to iron out the bugs
  • Don't make it harder than it needs to be for those with En/Fr/Ge as a 2nd language. 
    • Since 2017, an extra 30 mins was added to each Main Exam so that mainly non-native speakers would have more time. But this is no longer enforced, and it is clear from the 2021 B and C Exams that this time has just been absorbed by more material. 
    • So, have a non-native review team for each exam from the countries who have a good language level, but not the highest. Sorry - no Dutch, Swedish or Danish etc. doing the English :-). They also need to test whether the exams can be made in time.
  • For exams that are split, like the C Exam, subject-matter must be properly separated between parts
    • The length of the current exams can be reduced by removing overlap and repetition. For example: 
      • A Exam: reduce subject-matter, focus mainly on independent claims, and provide less prior art.
      • B Exam is not realistic with client giving you claims. Go back to the old format, reduce subject-matter, only include a few claims, and provide less prior art.
      • C Exam has much repetition in attacks. Include fewer claims, and provide a lot fewer documents.

120 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for the addition. Did many candidates actually press this by accident during the exam and lock up the browser?

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    2. This happened enough to me during practice that I taped a tack onto my windows key and my alt key to train me to stop using it. Luckily, I only hit alt-tab once during the main D exam and didn't get kicked out.

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    3. (Original anonymous); Not, fortunately in the exam, but couple of times in the mocks. So I "managed" to control myself very well in the Exam. :) I also realized in the mocks that the external resources is the issue which caused for me the use of alt-tab. I.e, transfer between "PDF reader" (= external resource) and "Word" (= answer sheet). So without external resources there would not be any problem with alt-tab!

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    4. Particularly if you have more than one external resource open - the risk is even greater.

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  2. Thanks for taking the time to provide comments and suggestions regarding the e-EQE. I think these are some great suggestions and one can only hope that the EPO will at least consider them.

    Another suggestion is to setup flows for the past papers (at least for the most recent ones) so that candidates can actually practice doing old papers in WiseFlow. One paper and sheer not enough (+ one Mock paper). One can try to mimic the WiseFlow/LockDown browser interface when practising old papers, but it is just not the same. For instance, I completely forgot that when using copy&paste even within the editor that formatting is lost. This was a very painful realisation during the exam, when I had nicely formatted some section to have an easier time structuring my answer but then needed some parts in a different place and all the formatting was gone. Not fun.

    Regarding Paper B, the amendments proposed by the client should be clearly indicated. For instance, I worked from the client’s claims and only realised towards the end of the exam that actually not all the amendments were properly indicated. Not a very fun experience either. Also, in this regard, a strike-through function is essential. Indicating deleted subject matter by [ ] is impractical.

    I am very concerned about the EPO’s apparent lack of understanding how unsuitable the chosen software for the EQE was. Not being able to neither print the entire paper nor annotate it/highlight parts in was terrible. This year’s EQE completely failed its alleged purpose of testing whether candidates are fit to practice. In daily practice, one does have the possibility of printing documents such as instructions from client, prior art etc. It is possible to make notes in a separate document while reading and then use those notes again e.g. in a side-by-side view when drafting or use a split view in word or whatever.

    The only exam that was okay to do in WiseFlow was paper D. So that would have been fine, had there not been the incident of providing the exam paper only in German….

    Without any major improvements to the current software, I am not even going to sign up for 2022 as I do not want to spend another year of pointless studying if I anyway know that I won’t pass as I simply can’t work with a system that does not allow to compare documents in an efficient way and that also does not allow for highlighting/annotating of documents when no printed copies of the documents are available.

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    1. Thanks for the additions. I agree - the lack of recognition and the lack of any announcements makes me worried that nothing will change this year.
      The EPO does not have a great track record in designing user interfaces or making their own software products easy to use.
      It is also worrying that there has been no official announcements about the passing rates for Pre-exam. I realise that individuals have been informed directly, but without the results file that Joeri Beetz used to analyse, we have no idea whether there was any influence due to WISEflow.

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  3. Paper C is a nightmare for me. It is impossible to practice under the current conditions. I practiced 11 C exams straight up using the time limit and didn't score less than high 60's on a single one of them.

    Splitting the exam into two is not a simple matter of doing two mini-Cs. There are too many definitions and common general knowledge that is needed from C-1's prior art to ignore it in C-2. I don't understand why they are testing if we can look at priority dates and added subject matter two seperate times.

    If I failed (likely), I will resit it in 2022. The only way I can think of to practice it is to reduce my practice time to 5 hours and hope for the best.

    Maybe someone else has a better suggestion on how to practice a split C without EPO's guidance on how to change the old exams.

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    1. It would be great if they could provide a clear outline well before the exam.

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  4. Does anyone know when the results of 2021 are available?

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    1. July apparently. It's just cruel. Every time I think of getting the results I feel physically sick.

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  5. I just don't understand how the EQE committee works. The eEQE 2021 was, on the whole, a disaster. That is a fact. So I wonder why Pete has to do the homework for the committee. (Don't get me wrong, Pete, I as many others are totally grateful for your support). They seem to be silent, and we assume they are objectively listening to these chats.
    The eEQE 2022 is for me personally high risk, since nothing so far gives me confidence that it will be less-disasterous than eEQE 2021. My lawfirm has said I can sit this one out if I have no confidence in the integrity of the exam, which currently, I do not.

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  6. I don't understand the silence either. Traditionally they have been secretive about all aspects of the EQE. It was less of a problem when they arranged everything, the exams were relatively stable, and no big changes were anticipated.
    But now candidates have to arrange almost everything. And there are an infinite number of office/computer configurations that could be applicable. It is a lot more important to build confidence, especially when there is a lot to improve.

    To get anything changed in time, it has to be agreed now. I have submitted my comments informally, and they have got a lot of feedback from candidates through the surveys, but everything is invisible. Public discussions can help set priorities for changes, and provide additional support for implementing difficult changes.

    There not even Pre-Exam statistics yet, and no EQE survey results either.

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  7. I fully agree with Anon June 8 that the eEQE 2022 is high risk. I will not take the e-EQE again in 2022 unless some major improvements with respect to the system and the adaptation to the papers are made.

    The silence from the EQE committee/EPO is worrisome and does not install any confidence whatsoever, that improvements will be made to have a fair e-EQE 2022.

    I very much appreciate that the task of transforming a paper-based EQE to an e-EQE in such a short time frame was not an easy one. Nobody expected it to be perfect, but lack of understanding/appreciating the issues/limitation of the system chosen was and still is the problem. I am utterly disappointed in how the EPO has handled the e-EQE. I also miss some sort of statement/comment from the epi. I appreciate the epi’s effort of modernizing the EQE until 2024, but what about the candidates who would like to take the EQE in 2022 or 2023 and would like to have a fair exam?

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  8. I feel badly let down by the EQE 2021 papers and I know I'm not the only one. The whole thing this year was disappointing and the papers were clearly not adapted to the new online format. The mocks have very little or no correlation to the real exams.

    I don't think the EQE committee realises that many candidates had to take their own holidays to do the mocks.

    Overall, I didn't feel the EQE 2021 was a success. The paper spilts,hiding parts of the paper,allowing some text to print and the wiseflow platform created a very confusing and unpleasant experience.

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  9. Paper A this year was confusing and was a bit unfair. Papers B and C were absolutely horrendous in the given circumstances. Candidates were severely disadvantaged this year compared to other years and even compared to each other. Some had no issues but many had many problems with the wiseflow platform and IT, admin in general during the exams.

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  10. The timing of the exams were clearly unreasonable. Many candidates ran out of time for B and C. Paper A was far too confusing along with B and C as well. Not good. Doesn't give me any confidence for future years.

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  11. It feels like the committee have moved the EQE goal post this year. Much more difficult than previous years, Papers(apart from D) were not well equipped and prepared.There was a lot more burden on candidates. They need to simplify the online exams.

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  12. Papers A and C were difficult and a nightmare for me. Paper A - I just found very confusing as there were contradictory and poorly worded statements. I believe a lot of candidates on here and other blogs also found it confusing.

    The split in Paper C created so many problems for me. I ended up reading the prior art twice and it was very confusing reading the documents without the full picture of the claims and description. It is completely unadequate and not fit for purpose the current online Paper C.

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  13. As the results of the eEQE looms, I am getting nervous. Not due to the fear of failing - I know alreayd that I have definititely failed - but due to having to consider next steps once my results are official. Like Anon of 8 June, I too have no faith in the eEQE 2022. Tips such as "learn to speed type" are simply ridiculous to me. Would you ask a trainee pilot to learn karate because the flight sim used for the exam malfunctions repeatedly and karate training will enable him to keep his balance whilst the flight sim throws him about the cockpit? Better to say, wait until the system is repaired than to risk a fail due to factors out of one's control. Once the results are in, I will seriously consider my future in this career path, although I really love all things patents! :-(

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  14. The current online system really puts me off the profession. no care or thought given to candidates who have so much burden on them prior to the examination and the pressure of the exam itself. The online exams this year, for me, was very unfit for purpose and totally unfair to candidates, especially for those who've missed out in 2020. The exam papers were very poor in design, too many confusing and contradictory statements and many errors in them.

    I would rather go through the work experience route, where you are much more likely to gauge whether you are a person fit to practice as an attorney.

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  15. Who thinks the EQE committee will delay the results by another month?

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  16. I will change profession before I learn to speed type! I am not investing my life here to become a secretary who can claim so many words per minute!!

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    1. I am not talking about "padding", but making more relevant/legal points. With the current papers, you greatly improve your chances by being able to generate more. Or at least give yourself more tine to read and think. Most people run out of time at the end when they are typing their answers.
      I don't understand why that is insulting.

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  17. Its really silly - we have an exam committee that prohibits parts of the paper for printing, hiding parts for some sections, created an unfriendly user interface. The exams this year was so confusing and mainly guesswork especially for C, trying to fit together what's missing and what's not - just let everyone print off the all the papers so that there is no confusion. I can't understand how people can cheat a 6 hour exam. The exams this year (apart from D) is not a fit for purpose examination.

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    1. The policy was not the problem - it is just that they did not adapt anything else to compensate or change things when they ran into problems.
      It is perfectly possible for each exam to have a critical part. For C, for example, just the claims and the clients letter.
      But you need to be able to highlight and copy/paste anything that is only available digitally.
      And if you promise to divide it into 2 parts, that should also be done properly. I was surprised that they could not split the prior art for the different claims, but that is also a good proof how artificial all the documents are because of the way they scatter the clues.
      If it was not possible to split this year, then it should just have been left as one part. The whole EQE generation process is out of control.

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  18. Examiner's report for EQE main 2021 is published today.

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    1. That's just evil from the EPO to release this before candidates results. I PROBABLY failed A,B and C looking at these reports and now m worried sick. it's an anxious, nervous wait for the results to come back. Why release them before the results? It's cruel to candidates...

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    2. For me, B and C were the worse. The answers in the report in no way reflects the time and the difficulty of the exams and also the formatting issues of the exams, like copying claims over to the wiseflow text editor.

      I truly think this year's EQE papers are a disgrace. It wouldn't be accepted elsewhere in other professions.

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    3. Don't read too much into these solutions. It does not mean that they marked like this in every case.
      This is the solution that they feel could be expected, and the deductions are usually the maximum possible.
      But they do not apply the same exact marking in all cases - they will look at any argumentation, and marks can be awarded for different solutions and other dependent claims.
      You also cannot be penalised for the same mistake twice (this is applied very strictly when marking A & B to limit any damage.
      - that is why it is called a possible solution and not a model solution.
      - they tried before to list possible alternative solutions, but it ends up very confusing. They now only do it when there are really two major solutions accepted.

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  19. 40 marks loss in paper A for not putting in 25um. That's is a huge amount of marks to lose for this. There should be some marks available to claw back if you this in your dependent claims. This is how the real world works. You can amend your claims. It doesn't have to be and can't always be a perfect claim 1 otherwise you are not protecting clients interest.

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    1. I always thought paper A format is not fit for purpose in the real world. Papers B and C to some extent too. If you work for a reasonable employer, they will know that these exams are not a good reference for your daily job.

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    2. Paper A this year was not well drafted and there was a lot of contradictory statements in them. I would suspect lots of appeals will be coming.

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  20. It's a lack of respect from the EPO once again to candidates. Why do this to candidates. What is gained by releasing reports ahead of results. All it does is create uncertainty and cause thousands of candidates to worry.

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    1. Normally the reports appear at the same time as the results - maybe this means that the results will be available next week?

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    2. Everyone got an email last week to say that results are out in July. So why now release the examiners solutions now. Its horrible to do this to candidates and an inconsiderate act. I'm so frustrated with the EPO.

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    3. These things are not co-ordinated like that - it is more likely that the committees produced the reports and have made them available according to the original schedule which was agreed much earlier. These are actually a copy of the the internal notes used for marking, so they just have to tidy them up before publication.
      Now that the results are delayed, the reports appear earlier.

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    4. Thanks Pete. I find it incredible that the EPO doesn't seem to get themselves organised. It's not good enough. It doesn't look good that the EPO is so disorganised on something so critical for candidates livelihood.

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  21. Massive disappointment by the EPO. Expected much more from them. It doesn't give me confidence in their electronic management of the exams.

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  22. Oh why does the EPO gets it so wrong every time. They certainly know how to rub up the candidates.

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    1. They probably need to finish the press-release first highlighting the success of eEQE before releasing the results ;-)

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    2. Good one Pete. Given the EPO's track record, I wouldn't be surprised at all if they do this.

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  23. The biggest shake up must surely be the eEQE and wiseflow platform along with better communication and coordination from the EPO when sending instructions for exams and results to candidates.

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  24. Terrible timing from the EPO. They just don't learn from their mistakes or is it arrogance. Feels like they keeping putting candidates down.

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  25. How the EPpO has gone about doing things this year for EQae 2021 is highly unsatisfactory

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    1. I do not understand the complete lack of communication. Someone must have a planning.

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    2. Just makes it looks like there was no plan or organisation. Very poor from the EPO. The candidates at the end of the day suffers the most from the underperformance and unprofessionalism by the EPO.

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  26. This year they really know how to torture candidates. Unbelievable.

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  27. Why do I keep doing this to myself?June 19, 2021 at 4:37 PM

    The thing that angers me most about all of this isn't that EQE 2021 was so clearly thrown together at the last minute without so much as a proofreading, executed on a buggy, untested, unfit-for-purpose software Frankenstein's monster held together with chewing gum and baling wire; nor that the content of the papers evidently wasn't vetted beforehand, resulting in an experience much akin to being punched in the balls, over and over, for twenty hours over three days. It's that nobody in Munich seems to give a tinker's damn about the candidates and that nobody is ever going to receive so much as the lightest scolding for the grossly incompetent way this year's exams have been run. There is no transparency, no accountability, and little chance that anything will improve.

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    1. That was one of my points regarding EQE improvements in 2024. The system also needs to be changed - it does not matter what is agreed at a top level, the committees will just produce something in time agreed and no complaints because everyone is a volunteer.

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    2. I think the job should be paid and be made accountable given the importance of the EQE for candidates and employers.

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  28. The reports didn't even mention the impact of online. Paper D language Gate, formatting nightmares for papers B and C. Confusion with the split for paper C and contradictory statements in paper A. These things have a massive impact on performance.

    I've looked at the paper B report and there is no way candidates could produced that answer in just 3.5 hours.

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  29. Thats strange. No comments on compensation for the errors during eEQE?

    I suspect there will be plenty of appeals.

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  30. Slap in the faceJune 19, 2021 at 7:59 PM

    Completely a slap in the face of candidates yet again. How can candidates not get worried. Its common sense not to release any reports until results come out. It's not rocket science.

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  31. Paper A report is the worse. Failed it because I was so confused with the statements in the paper. They really need to proof read their question paper. I know need to resist and be put back another year and waste my family life.

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  32. I now have to resit paper A because of the poor wording of the paper.

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    1. Did you already get your results?

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    2. Can just tell from the Examiners report. Don't think there is any chance of passing this one for me, especially as product claim is worth 40 marks and method claims are only worth 20 marks. It also doesn't take into account the effects of paper D the day before (didn't have the most comfortable of nights with the language fisaco) and the difficulty of online ( I struggled reading 10 pages with no highlighting allowed online).

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  33. I agree here. The online format has a significant impact for many candidates and the papers were clearly not adequately proof read and not suitably adapted for online. I do hope the EPO takes these into consideration. I haven't seen anything in the report that takes these into account.

    The effects of paper D cannot be underestimated. I too was very worried about that the exam and was only comforted when they released an announcement a day afterwards. So it would probably affected candidates doing Paper A.

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  34. Paper C is not looking good for me :(

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  35. No doubt performance have been affected by online compared to other years. Its not a question of whether some sort of compensation should be applied due to the online move but how. I believe papers A,B and C have been hugely disadvantaged as a result of a combination of no printing, no highlighting functionality and poor formatting capabilities of the online exam. Paper D seems to work well although DII could also do with a print of the paper for highlighting.

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    1. Dont forget the cancellation of the EQE2020 candidates. Many were badly affected too.

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    2. In reply to Jack - valid grounds for appeal if you wish to do so after results are released.

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    3. It is the Examination Board that will ultimately decide the pass/fail based on all the info available regarding each individual candidate.
      I assume that the commissions were requested to mark the papers based upon what was handed-in - this is done anonymously, so they can't take individual circumstances into account. It is then up to the Examination Board to decide whether any individual compensations should be applied.

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    4. But they do not consider the compensation for D paper, or? I thought all EN and FR paper would receive compensation.

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    5. Yes, they will.
      In general, if someone already passes on what they handed in, the Examination Board will not look to see if they need more marks. They will only look at situations where the compensation could make a difference. Those decisions are made for each individual separately.

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    6. Then they will need a lot of time.....we would not get the results soon...

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    7. But the impact for paper D is not just limited to that paper. It affects the candidates the day after and also the rest of the week.

      I suspect that's why they have changed and spreaded the exams in 2022

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    8. I second that. It was a horrible experience. It's extremely frustrating how badly the papers were drafted and inadequate the software was. On top of that the stress to file complaints the same day instead of trying to relax and mentally prepare for the next paper.

      I am glad that the papers will be spread over more days in 2022. However, unless some major improvements are made in terms of exam papers as well as software, I see no reason to even bother taking the exam again. I won't waste another year studying instead of spending quality time with family and friends.

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    9. This is true. Like many candidates, I was surprised at how bad the software is and the badly the exams were drafted. There needs to be huge improvements but there is no doubt that candidates in 2020 have been adversely affected.

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    10. Definitely very poorly drafted set of exams this year and the software was "unworkable" with the current papers A,B and C.

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  36. By the way, i think the compensation is important even for the candidates who pass the paper. I heard if some one would like to become EQE committee, the notes of the papers would be taken into account. That is why I don't understand why not find a way to give every EN and FR D paper a compensation.

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    1. That is the normal process - they prioritise those cases where compensation would make a real difference. It could be that you could have scored more if they had considered everything you wrote, or reread certain sections of your answer.
      This year, it will happen a lot more because the compensation process will have to take into account DI and any feedback that given by candidates.

      That was decided in a case 10 yeasr ago - they are not allowed to indiscriminately award extra marks (10 in that case to all C candidates) to everyone, or large groups. A lot of people passed with poor solutions. They have to look at the individual performances, and whether they were disadvantaged.
      It is also impossible to accurately determine who falls under or outside any rules relating to language - they have tried before for non-native speakers. In the end, they gave everyone an extra 30 minutes.
      I am sure that the committees will have many notes from EQE2021 to remember what was going on, and to take it into account ;-)

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    2. Not sure how they can determine how candidates are affected by the online exams. It's clear that papers haven't been appropriately adapted and some will have a bigger impact impact than candidates than others.

      Maybe one way is to look at performance across all papers for a candidate, if there is clearly a significant drop of marks for 1 or 2 papers compared to the other 3 papers, it may be fairer to mark them up for that paper.

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  37. Consideration of compensation should be considered for papers A,B and C. Its clear these papers were not well adapted for online. Paper B was impossible to do online with horrific claim formatting. Paper C with double the amount of work at CI and barely any time for attacks. Paper A too with the impact of paper D language issues and also the confusing nature of the paper itself.

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  38. It's probably fair to give a few marks for each paper, possibly a bit more for Paper D EN and FR candidates.

    You also need to consider whether its fair compared to other previous years and clearly EQE 2021 was very burdensome for candidates compared to previous years. This has an impact on exam preparation and performance.

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  39. Very bizarre action from the EPO to release answers before results. So many things needed to be taken into account this year but nothing to indicate yet. There's been zero communication from the EPO.

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  40. The effects of the language issue in paper D is not just limited to that paper. It significantly affected my paper A as I couldn't relax the night before and I would argue the rest of the week too. It was a very unpleasant experience.

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  41. The reason why they release the examiner's report is that they want candidates to mark their own scripts themselves :-)

    The EPO clearly can't get their act together in 2020-21. They've provided a below-par software for the Finals and unprepared/poor set of exam papers A, B and C.

    Looking very unprofessional from them.

    I do hope they listen to candidates, who many have told them that the wiseflow software, and the e-EQE papers A, B and C at least, are currently not fit for purpose to do online.

    They need major improvements and I hope they listen.

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    1. Far more likely that they'll just publish another self-congratulatory press release and call it a day.

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  42. I wonder if they will ever release candidates feedback on the eEQE. I suspect many did not get on with it. Major improvements and changes needed for EQE 2022.

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  43. The results are in myEQE.

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  44. Convenient how the EPO release the results at the same time the epi is holding an online conference on "Modernising the EQE"

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  45. I am absolutely FURIOUS with the EQE committee having seen my results!!! The fail grades are no surprise, but I have received ABSOLUTELY NO COMPENSATION on any papers due to the infamous technical problems encountered - including paper D. Completely LOST FAITH in the EQE. NO WAY I will be retaking in 2022... Can't believe the lies and empty promises that were officially put out!

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    Replies
    1. They awarded 25 marks for DI-1. What other compensation were you hoping for?

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  46. Apart from D, I don't see any sort of consideration for papers A, B and C.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There may be some compensation built into the marking - for example, if few people attempt or complete a part, they can award more marks to another part.
      It would be nice if they were explicit about it, though.

      Delete
  47. No Pete, I can confirm: no compensation for B or C at all. (I did not take A).

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    Replies
    1. Marking for paper C seems extremely harsh. I've got an alternative solution for some claims - not the right CPA according to their solution but the right combining document. But got zero marks for it.

      Seems extremely harsh and the wiseflow platform was horrendous for claim formatting and copy and pasting.

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    2. Same here. Provided reasoning but zero marks. Are they normally this harsh with Paper C. Seems like there is no built in flexibility this year at all.

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    3. Probably they are p*ssed off that no one appreciates their efforts with the eEQE so they take their frustration out on the candidates now. Fantastico.

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  48. Finally managed to get into the my eqe site! Like trying to book a vaccination appointment...except the wait for the vaccination is worth it!

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  49. Just a quick point - some candidates do not know about the compensable fail. If you score 45 to 49 on a paper, you have failed it, but it can be compensated. You need at least 200 marks in total for the 4 papers, with no more than 2 compensable fails.
    The compensation is applied each time you sit a paper for the first time or resit a paper. You cannot resit a paper that you have passed (50 or more), and if you resit a paper for which you have a compensable fail, the number of marks are overwritten by the new attempt, even if it is less.
    This is particularly useful for C and D - if you have 45-49, you can first resit one or more of the other papers to try and get passes with 55 or more marks. Scores on A and B tend to either be 60-70 marks or 30-40 marks, so this is not unusual. Also, many candidates score more than 60 marks on C (in a normal year).
    If you have a specific case, let me know - it is a little complicated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pete. So I got 62 A, 64 D, 28 B and 47 C - does that mean I only need to retake B next year and assuming I get 50 in B, I can rely on the compensable fail mechanism to pass C.

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    2. To Anonymous 2:41
      With your scores in A and D, you can actually do with 45 points when resitting paper B in 2022.

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    3. Yes. Actually, you are allowed to compensate up to two papers, so scoring 45 or higher for B would be sufficient.
      Congratulations - you have pretty much passed :-). Very little preparation is needed for B.

      Delete
    4. I didn't know that. My marks are A 65, B 41, C 39, D 62
      So is it worth me appealing my B mark, as I am sure I was not compensated for the technical difficulties I had with Wiseflow? I.e. if I can get 45 for B, then I just need to retake C?

      Delete
    5. Also go something similar with D (43 marks) and C (41 marks) under 45 marks but passed A and B (above 60 for A and 55 for B). Will appeal C as the online technical difficulties did affected me (and it was reported) but I don't think I get much more from their neutralisation for D.

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    6. Anon: A 65, B 41, C 39, D 62
      Yes - if you can get 45 or higher in B after appeal, then you only need to take C. But appeal will likely last until after the next EQE before you get a decision.

      Delete
    7. Anon D 43, C 41, 60 A, 55 B
      C and D have to be retaken. If you can get 45 or higher in appeal, you can leave it and retake the other. But appeal can take many months.

      Delete
    8. D 43, C41, 60 A, 55 B

      Thanks Pete. So when I retake D and C and get 45 marks next year for both, I could still pass.

      Delete
  50. When does the appeal time limit end?

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  51. For any non-EPC nationals who have passed, there is an extra step needed for entry on the list.

    You need permission from the President under Article 134(7)(a) EPC demonstrating "special circumstances". This power has been delegated OJ 2012, 13) to the Vice-President in charge of Directorate-General 5 (Legal & International Affairs). It is a little bit more than a formality, as they want to see that you are intending to stay in an EPC state.

    You need to write a letter explaining:
    - you have lived for x number of years in one or more EPC states
    - you are employed in a patent law firm or patent department on a permanent basis
    - you intend to stay in one or more EPC states
    - you intend to work as a European Patent Attorney

    You also need to supply proof, such as
    - statement from your firm
    - copy of your permanent contract (or a statement from your firm)
    - if you are married to an EP national, that always helps. Or if you have children born or growing up in an EP state.

    The eqe secretariat (helpdesk@eqe.org) should be able to help you - I am not sure if you can submit the letter via them, or send it directly to the Vice President. The epi secretariat may also be able to help (info@patentepi.com).

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  52. Hi Pete, are there any issues using the compensable fail when Passes in papers were obtained many years back when a different system for compensable fail applied?

    For example,
    A (2010) 70 B(2009) 73 C(2021) 29 D(2021) 52

    Do I still just need to pass C in 2022 to pass EQE?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think so, but better check with the EQE secretary. Can you see your old scores in the My EQE portal?

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    2. No, I cannot see my old scores in the MyEQE portal.

      I have checked with the EQE secretary and previous results remain valid. So in the example given, a score of at least 45 marks in Paper C would pass the EQE.

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    3. It is good to have the confirmation. But it is strange that you cannot see them in the portal. Hopefully, C will go well in 2022. You now have no other distractions :-)

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  53. "How to appeal against your EQE results" has appeared here: https://kandidatentreff.de/2021/06/how-to-appeal-against-your-eqe-results/

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  54. Dear Pete,
    as I have to resit the C paper in 2022, and mostly struggled with timing and the new (split) format of the exam, I was wandering whether there is a course/webinar specifically focussing or dealing with an adapted methodology for the e-EQE C paper? Thanks for you help!

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  55. Hi Griet,
    without any clear picture of how they will split the exam, I don't think that there will be any course that can prepare you fully.
    I have heard that an epi mock is being planned, but we do not know how close that will be to the final format.
    The best we can hope for is a proper split into two min-C exams - eg one with methods, the other with devices/products. But the artificial nature of the C paper documents means that they cannot just separate the pieces.
    The only way is to prepare to do C electronically using older papers that are in one piece, and then adapt if more information appears form th EQE organisation.
    All the courses should at least explain how you could have done the EQE 2021 C paper within the time.

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  56. For me the split of paper C was unworkable in 2021. I ended up having to read all the prior art documents fully at least twice and wasting so much time. The split also caused significant confusion as to what is relevant or not. Reading irrelevant materials before you know the claims only clouds. Then, the formatting of claims on wiseflow was horrendous. They really need to change paper C 2022.

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  57. should mention - only clouds your thought process. The invention was too confusing for it to be split into 2 parts.

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  58. Yes - the split was very poor with respect to the prior art. You can see it in the attacks they expected you to do.
    And I agree that the second invention was unclear. There was only one cross-sectional drawing which made it difficult to figure out the seal and the tank pieces. I first thought that the vertical lines were reinforcements :-( - it took me a while to figure it out.
    Hopefully, they can improve the split for 2022, but because they artificially scatter the information throughout the annexes, I am afraid that the 2022 C exam will be only slightly better than 2021.

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  59. Dear Pete,
    I will be re-setting some of the EQE papers in 2022. I recently had a look at the EQE-Guide for preparation and regrettably came across "If you fail" section. Weeks have passed and I still cannot get over what I read.

    - "Under the current rules, candidates can resit the examination as often as they wish. However, the historical resit statistics paint a particularly disheartening picture (failure rate for partial resits: 77% (2009), 65% (2008); failure rate for full resits: 100% (2007, 2009), 95% (2008)). No statistics on resitters vs. first sitters are available for 2010 onwards."
    --> what is the point of presenting this ancient statistics? To cultivate anxiety and discourage candidates?

    - "All the more reason, then, to emphasise at this point that
    “100%” preparation is not enough if you are resitting the
    examination. You need an extra reserve of knowledge to
    cope with the possible pitfalls and you must work much
    harder on learning the material and refining your examination strategy than you did the first time round"
    --> It is likely, that those who failed were not well prepared. So why would 100% preparation not be enough for resit? What extra reserve of knowledge do they refer to? Will resitters be singled out and marked harsher?

    - "In terms of career choices, this is a very specialised area and the options for changing direction after a few years are severely limited. It is possible to continue in industry or private practice, carrying out a restricted range of activities."
    --> Is the EPO hinting that it is time to move on and become a cashier or a CEO?

    Finally, is it true that you have not passed the EQE from the first try? Do you have any tips on how to get over this adverse event and focus on the preparation?

    Cheers and thank you for your blog!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words.
      - they tend to emphasise lack of preparation as the main reason for people failing. It is certainly true in a lot of cases, so they want to discourage people from just trying.
      - that holds for countries and bigger firms/companies where training courses, materials, mentoring, and time-off for studying are provided. But in other countries, or at a smaller firm/company, these are not always provided. Language skills play a big role as well.
      - the knowledge requirement and difficulty in resitting mainly applies to Paper D.
      - the career choice advice is nonsense and out-dated. It is specialised, but how you develop is up to you. You are moving in a particular direction, but it is certainly not a dead-end. If you want to sit in an office just drafting applications in exactly the same technical field, then that will happen. But there is a lot more to learn, and it is such a critical part of the business of technical companies, that you develop in the areas that interest you most.
      - Yes, I only passed AC and D at the first attempt after receiving a lot of support/courses and studying hard. Luckily, I managed to pass the B at the second attempt.
      - I passed D with 56, so a good score, but not the highest. I mainly passed due to my ability to score high marks (30) in D2, which was (and still is) much more interesting to me than D1 :-).
      - At the time, I was only focussed on passing - I had no real plans to keep up the legal knowledge in detail. When I started teaching, I had to go back and learn everything again.
      - I always had problems with the B exam to find the right breadth of protection. I also failed the "office action" paper twice in the NL national exams :-).
      - as a resitter, you have to be honest with yourself to figure out what you need to do to pass next time. You should know where marks are mostly awarded and make sure you attempt those as early as possible. All candidates are marked in the same way - there is no difference for resitters.
      - For A, B, C failure can be just related to being on a different wavelength for a particular paper. If you misunderstood the technical part (how the features and effects fit together), you can end up with a strange answer. But don't just throw your exam in the corner and hope for better luck next year - really go through it to see what went wrong. The exams are designed with independent parts, so one mistake is not fatal - usually, more than one thing went wrong.
      - It is impossible to learn all the legal knowledge for D, so you have to learn the subjects that come up regularly very well, and skip parts (or even whole questions) that will take too long to answer.

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  60. Being a resitter myself, and talking to a lot of resitters over the years, the main issue is a lack of confidence during future exams.
    You have to make a thousand micro-decisions about what what to read, what to note, what to write down, when to stop part of an answer, what to do next, what to re-read etc.
    Most first-time sitters are not afraid to make mistakes, they believe they are invincible and will surely pass. So they will take the decisions based on gut feeling, cut corners, skip parts and get to the end without too much thinking.

    If you fail, then you are confronted with the failure, and you start to doubt yourself. So the next time you do the exam, you are afraid to take any micro-decisions without being "certain". Or you avoid the more difficult parts, and concentrate on the more-straightforward parts, which may not be high-scoring.

    Even if you have practiced a different way-of-working, under the stress of the exam, you easily fall back into your old bad practices.

    If you have a general "fear of failing", then you take all exams like a resitter.

    How to deal with this:
    - quickly identify areas to improve after the exam. That is possible with a "post-mortem" - study your answer with a tutor or mentor. Where did you missed the marks (not just why you got few marks for what you did, but also why you did not do get the straight-forward marks).
    - figure out what you did wrong: lack of knowledge, lack of speed, prioritising the wrong parts of their answer, spending too much time on a particular part, not answering in the way that they want, wasting time on irrelevant (safe) parts, etc
    - Set up a practice plan to improve. Track exactly what you are doing at each moment during the practice, and do not just look at how "correct" the answer is. Be honest with yourself.
    - This year, there may also have been EQE-2021 only related issues (e.g. clumsy splitting of exam, technical difficulties), but these could be repeated in 2022. Expect the same uncertainty as last year regarding the exact format - the online platform will be the same, and they will still be splitting the exam into more than one part. - There will probably be a mock, but this will be made again by the epi, and not the examination committees.
    - Prepare for the worst (using EQE 2021 papers), but hope that the 2022 paper will be better made.

    For multiple re-sitters, the problems can just get worse. It is then more about psychology than knowledge. If you hate the exam, or think it is nonsense and should be changed, that can also negatively affect you.
    Also, just increasing your knowledge can make it worse because mentally you have more options to choose from.

    If you are a perfectionist, you can run into a lot of trouble because you will not have time to do things as well as you could outside the exam.

    For resitters, base your preparation around old papers and exam-style questions. This is ultimately what you have to do on your own. For first-time sitters, some studying may be needed, but reserve enough time to properly do at least 4 old exams.

    This is the pragmatic approach we follow at EQELIBRIUM https://eqelibrium.org/ (we are preparing the EQE 2022 program now). Starting with a basic methodology, we guide you with discussions and feedback using old papers, so that you adapt your methodology to cope with your problems and your knowledge gaps. You also learn from other candidates about how they approach and understand the papers. This is the best preparation for first-time sitters and resitters - you will have to deal yourself quickly with new elements and new issues that are likely in the 2022 exams.

    The camps (hopefully in-person, otherwise online) also allow you to get away from daily distractions to concentrate on improving your ability to solve the papers.

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  61. Is the document in the following link the only results of the EQE 2021 survey that we can expect?
    https://www.epi-learning.org/pluginfile.php/4333/mod_resource/content/3/02b_eEQE%20-%20survey.pdf
    rather poor form

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    Replies
    1. what a joke! Judging by the communication from the exam committee so far, eEQE 2022 is going to be just the same...

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