This week, candidates for the UK patent examination are trialling the online examination system "PEBX". Candidates who are having issues with the trial system should email firstname.lastname@example.org. However, the PEB has already stated that, although they welcome candidate feedback, they will not be able to make any changes to the system before the exams in mid-October.
If you experience major difficulties during the exam itself, such as a complete loss of internet, the essential information for candidates indicates that you should email email@example.com. This Kat wonders how you should go about sending an email to the PEB if you don't have any internet. Perhaps a phone number would be of more use? If a candidate does suffer an internet failure during the exam, the PEB indicates that they should consider applying for Special Consideration.
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Once candidates start the exam, they will be able to download and save the Question paper and Answer sheet. The formatting of the Answer Sheet makes the use of tables a bit unwieldy, but otherwise supports full word functionality. Candidates are allowed to print their question paper. It is not mentioned in the candidate information if you are allowed to print part of you answer for easy reference, e.g. your construction section for FD4/P6 so that you can easily refer to it later.
So what are candidates' experiences of the trial?
The trial exams coincide with a worrying increase of the official coronavirus risk level in the UK. CIPA and many patent firms have encouraged candidates to take the exams at work if possible. It was necessary for candidates to make this decision by the end of August. It seems (anecdotally) that the majority of candidates did elect to take the exams at work. However, in a worrying development today, the new Government guidance is that we should all be working from home if possible (BBC news). According to Michael Gove, "if you can work from home, you should". With coronavirus related restrictions set to increase over the coming weeks, candidates who have elected to take the exams at work may be anxious about what this might mean for their exams in a few weeks' time. The hope is that the PEB will be prepared to be accommodating in response to the rapidly changing situation.