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eEQE: Modular Set-up of the EQE

eEQE: Modular Set-up of the EQE

by - Anonymous -
Number of replies: 3

In the discussion paper it has been outlined that "there is a strong desire amongst different stakeholders to move towards a multi-level modular approach" instead of the current structure of EQE. Not knowing who the stakeholders are that have this desire, it seems that this design is a burden to most users of the system. On the one hand, who shall do invigilation for those tests, when they can be sat at any time? Who shall do the marking? Presently, EQE examiner, most of them epi members doing it in their free time, plan some time in spring/early summer for marking. When they will have to do it all over the year will there be enough markers? Most important, the highest effort in this examination lies in drafting the papers. When you multiply the number of tests at the same time you mulitply the work of the drafters. Is there enough (wo)man power to do this? It seems that the proposed changes have not been discussed with EQE examiners although they will have to do the work. 

Furthermore, the proposed design will also be a burden for the supervisors. When candidates are "in examination" every 4 months this might change working routines a lot. Many patent attorney offices/patent departments offer regular courses and workshops for their candidates. This will all have to be newly organized. Therefore, the question is what do you gain by changing to a multi-level format?  

In reply to - Anonymous

Re: eEQE: Modular Set-up of the EQE

by - Anonymous -
Dear All,
I agree with the poster above that there is a need to rationalize the modular approach. For this reason, I will post a humble proposal to rationalize the modular approach of future EQE.

As a first point, splitting the total contents of the EQE into two "tracks", the Legal Track and the Practical Track makes sense.

At the same time, for the sake of simplicity, it would make sense to further split each track into a maximum of 2 sub-modules, with a pre-exam and a final exam for each track.

This, from my very humble point of view, would look more streamlined, and may be summarized as follows:

Legal Track (2 modules) = pre-Legal (module 1) + final-Legal (module 2), and
Practical Track (2 modules) = pre-Practical (module 1) + final-Practical (module 2)

In summary: a rational modularization of EQE, using some common sense and some symmetry, could simplify life to people.

my 2 cents
In reply to - Anonymous

Re: eEQE: Modular Set-up of the EQE

by - Anonymous -
The motivation and advantages for switching to the proposed modular setup is not clear to me. A general motivation given in the discussion paper is making the candidates more “fit-to-practice”. I do not believe that this goal can be achieved by distributing multiple choice exams over a year. The candidates will have to do their everyday work and, in addition to that, sit more exams, which increases the workload on the candidates but does not improve the training and support of the candidates.

In my view, a good way to improve the training and support would be providing obligatory training courses which may also include some kind of MCQ tests helping the candidates to assess their current level of skills and knowledge. However, these MCQ tests should not be a part of the EQE and passing not be a re-requisite for sitting the EQE.

Also some kind of supervision of the employers/trainers of the candidates could be introduced to ensure that adequate training and enough spare time is provided so that the candidates can properly prepare for the EQE.

Further, with the existing pre-exam, the current EQE already comprises a modular MCQ part. However, according to the comments of the chairman of the examination committee of the pre-exam, Stefan Kastel, and the former chairman of examination committee III, Dimitrios Roukounas, the current pre-exam has neither proven that MCQ exams are suitable for testing “fit-to-practice” nor proven that the training of the candidates can be improved by the additional exam. Thus, the goals to be achieved by the proposed modular MCQ-exams seem not to have been achieved by the existing modular MCQ pre-exam.

Thus, I suggest as a first step scrutinizing in an objective and transparent way the pros and cons of the existing modular MCQ pre-exam and based on these results, as a second step, developing proposals for improving the pre-exam and the EQE as a whole.
In reply to - Anonymous

Re: eEQE: Modular Set-up of the EQE

by Hendrik Promies -
In addition to the reasons already outlined above (increased workload for the creators of papers/questions, increased workload for the markers) I would like to point out that there will also be increased workload for the EQE secretariat.

And I would like to elaborate on the employer's perspective: as the EQE is known to be challenging, candidates tend to spend a lot of time preparing for it and I expect that the sum of time spent preparing for a total of seven modules spread over time is higher than the time spent for preparing for four papers. That may perhaps balance out by candidates not having to resit as often as they do today because the 2-hour papers would necessarily be easier, but this would be an unwanted effect.

Looking at Annex A of the discussion paper I can already see candidates beginning to prepare for P1/L1 about 3-4 months prior to the test date, for P2/L2 directly thereafter and for P3/final legal directly thereafter and for final practical thereafter, meaning that candidates are in constant preparation for 16 months (assuming the pass everything on the 1st attempt), during which period they will be under constant EQE-related stress which will negatively affect their job performance.

Employers have learned to deal with this effect for the EQE in the present format (for which the reduced job performance is limited to about 4 months), and candidates can use their vacation time to some extent to compensate this negative effect on job performance, often combining vacation days from the old year with vacation days from the new year and the Christmas / End of Year holidays. A similarly beneficial allocation of study time will simply not be possible for the fast-paced modular approach, and it is unlikely that employers will accept reduced work performance over a long period, thus limiting the time candidates will have to study, with adverse effects on exam performance.

In short: I feel that the disadvantages of the modular system by far outweigh its advantages. And that is not even taking into account the rather complex resitting scheme.