Law students barred from using the toilet during exams say they were forced to urinate in bottles and buckets.
Prospective barristers taking Bar exams online this week were told that they must face the camera on their computer at all times, or the test would be terminated and they could fail.
This forced several to relieve themselves in bottles or buckets under their desk during two-and-a-half hour sittings, in sight and hearing of the online invigilators.
Tian Juin See, 23, studying at City University in London, told The Telegraph that he “begged” to be allowed to go to the lavatory, but was not allowed. He claims the invigilator just told him not to turn away from the camera or he would be forced to end the exam.
He said: “I had to empty my water bottle on the floor and pee blindly while facing the camera.
Despite trying to see the funny side, he said the experience affected his performance, and he was annoyed by the “heartlessness” of the rule and felt “degraded”.
Sophie Lamb, 28 and a part time student at BPP in Leeds, was forced to use a bucket under her chair.
She said: “It was 28 degrees in my kitchen and given there’s a need to stay hydrated I knew I wouldn’t last. So I took a bucket with me, placed it under my seat and wore a long maxi dress, meaning that I could squat down with my face still in view of the screen.”
Pete Kennedy, 30, studying at the University of Law, in London, who “stealthily” relieved himself into a bottle, said: “It’s pretty outrageous to force students into this dilemma.
“This is the culmination of years of study and we are forced to terminate our exams to use the bathroom or wee in a bucket.”
He said students had raised the issue in advance, but were told that the only alternative was to attend a physical exam centre, which would force them to travel during the pandemic.
Covid meant the exams, which are usually taken in April, were postponed to August.
A spokesman for the Bar Standards Board, which regulates barristers’ training and practice, said: “We quite appreciate that some people need to visit the lavatory more often and our guidance was clear that anyone who might need a lavatory break during their exams was offered the opportunity to apply to go to a test centre.”
He said 2,130 students are sitting the exams in August, of which 1,774 opted to take them remotely and 356 chose to sit them in test centres.
The Bar Standards Board's professional ethics exam is one of three tests students must sit as part of the Bar Professional Training Course.