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Students hoping to study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Kaplan Law School will have to sit an admissions test, the first of its kind in the country.
The radical move follows the announcement last year of Kaplan’s controversial decision to introduce an admissions test for students wishing to take its Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).
James Wakefield, head of Kaplan’s BPTC, said: “The admissions test has worked out extremely well, and rolling out similar entrance tests onto our GDL and LPC seems like the next natural step. It shows that we’re only going to be taking on students who we think have a fighting chance of securing a training contract.”
From September 2011 students wishing to study either the GDL or LPC at Kaplan will have to give a presentation, take part in a written examination and then sit through a 10-minute interview.
“It may sound rigorous, but this gives us the opportunity to see the strong candidates in action, because often what’s on paper is very different to what the person is like in real life,” insisted Wakefield.
The move coincides with the Law Society’s confirmation that it would be investigating the viability of introducing an aptitude test, similar to the one being piloted by the Bar Standard Board (BSB) for entry onto the BPTC. A report on whether the LPC aptitude test will get the go-ahead is expected to be conducted by the Law Society by the end of the year.
Such a test has won backing from students who are angry at law schools for taking on candidates who are not academically proficient enough to train as solicitors.
Law student Grace Salmern, who is studying at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “In my opinion there are too many people wasting their money on courses such as the LPC who have no real chance of gaining a training contract.”
The news comes after the BSB extended its pilot aptitude test for entry onto the BPTC in a bid to ensure the exam was fair for all applicants.
Now, following a pilot of the test in 2009 and then again in 2010, the BPTC aptitude test will be made compulsory from September 2012.
The move by Kaplan to introduce an admissions test for GDL and LPC courses is subject to validation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.