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BCI ramps up bar exam difficulty, grads fail to finish; AIBE protests in TN

Graduates sitting for the 2012 All India Bar Exam (AIBE) were greeted on Sunday with a tough question paper, as the Bar Council of India (BCI) has said it would slowly increase the standard.

Every one of nine exam takers quizzed by Legally India said that the difficulty of the three-and-a-half-hour 100-question paper had increased in comparison to the sample mock exam.

“It was long and boring,” said one, while another added: “Hardly anyone could finish answering in time. On an average, most of us were able to attempt around 85 questions.” Another exam taker claimed that the exam was “no cakewalk” and that 'part B' of the paper on 'interpretation principles' took most time to complete.

“It was tougher than the model paper,” agreed another on Twitter. “Last year my friends took 2 hrs to complete the paper. This year almost everyone took 3 hrs.”

“We are in the process of slowly increasing the standard of the exam,” confirmed Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Ashok Parija.

One examinee said that the increase in the examiner’s higher standards were a good thing. “It tests you perfectly. It's neither very easy nor very tough. Serves the purpose of allowing a selected gentry into the bar.”

Two predicted that the number of persons passing this year would definitely decrease due to the challenging question paper. In the first two bar exams in 2011, the pass rates were 69 and 75 per cent.

Parija told Legally India that students would not need to worry. “We will take everything into account.”

Several graduates said that the exam was full of mistakes and grammar errors.

One person posted on Facebook that the “question paper was a [mess] with so many mistakes”.

Examinees in one test centre were given two points as grace marks to compensate for the flaws in the question paper, said one lawyer. Questions 11 and 29 both included a word that led to an “unanticipated interpretation”, she said. “By the time BCI informed of the correction most of us had already marked our answers”.

Parija confirmed that if a question was wrong in the paper, all test takers would get full marks.

He added that the exams went very well with almost 25,000 applicants. “It’s already international standard,” he said, “[and] the number of participants are increasing.” This was evidence of a greater number of students now becoming more “motivated” to take the exam, he noted.

Unrest for the third time marked the bar exam in Tamil Nadu, where 21 protesting lawyers were arrested in Coimbature, reported the Times of India. According to IBN, more than 200 police were present at Tamil Nadu exam centres.

Update: According to a press release from the BCI, the results of the exam will be declared on 31 January, with 2,553 candidates who were prevented from taking the exam in Chennai previously now having done so.

Additional reporting by Prachi Shrivastava

Photo by comedynose

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