EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Instructions to candidates concerning the conduct of the European qualifying examination
The Examination Secretariat,
Having regard to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives (REE) which entered into force on 1 January 2009 (OJ EPO 2009, 9), and in particular Article 9, paragraph 2, letter b, thereof, has decided with effect from 1 January 2020 as follows:
1. These instructions shall apply to both the pre-examination and the main examination, which consists of the four papers A, B, C and D.
2. For the conduct of the pre-examination and the main examination, invigilators appointed by the Examination Secretariat pursuant to Rule 18(2) of the Regulation on the European qualifying examination (IPREE) shall be referred to hereinafter as "examination officers".
3. After they have taken their seats in the hall, but before the starting signal has been given, candidates may ask questions orally regarding the conduct of the pre-examination or the main examination. After the starting signal has been given, any questions must be put in writing. Questions relating to the wording of the papers will normally not be answered.
4. For each paper, candidates shall occupy the seat they have been allocated in the hall for that paper, unless otherwise advised.
5. Candidates are advised to bring to the pre-examination or the main examination any books and documents they consider useful for answering the examination papers.1
6. Candidates may also bring additional materials, with the exception of the items mentioned under point 9(a) to (c) below. They may not, however, append any of these materials and documents mentioned under point 5, or any sections thereof, to their answer paper.
7. When the starting signal is given, candidates shall check that the examination paper is complete and sign on the coloured labelled cover sheet. They shall not write their name or initials on any of the sheets of EQE lined paper nor shall they use their name or initials in their answers.
8. Candidates who arrive after the starting signal may not make up the lost time after the closing signal unless, in exceptional cases, the examination officer decides otherwise.
9. Candidates are not permitted to:
(a) bring to the pre-examination or the main examination any electronic devices other than an analogue wrist watch with no additional options, unless express prior permission to use such devices has been given by the Examination Secretariat;
(b) bring scissors with blades longer than 6 cm (as measured from the fulcrum); therefore to cut out parts of the examination paper, only blunt-tipped scissors with a blade length of no more than 6 cm are allowed;
(c) use staplers or other materials that may disturb other candidates;
(d) include in their answer paper any prepared material (e.g. lists of abbreviations and/or time lines);
(e) paste or staple sheets of their answer paper together;
(f) open the envelope containing the examination paper before the starting signal has been given, unless instructed to do so by the examination officer;
(g) communicate with each other during the period between the starting signal and the closing signal;
(h) smoke in the hall or in any other part of the examination centre.
10. Eating and drinking are allowed as long as this does not disturb the other candidates.
11. Only with the explicit consent of the examination officer or his deputies, and provided that they hand in the question paper and their answer paper, candidates may leave the hall before the end of the time allotted for the paper. Candidates shall not be allowed to leave the hall during the last 30 minutes of the paper.
12. If a candidate disturbs other candidates during a paper, the examination officer shall be empowered to suspend him at once from the paper during which this occurs. The examination officer shall then draw up a report including any evidence of the disturbance.
13. If a candidate wants to file a complaint concerning the conduct of the pre-examination or the main examination, he shall submit it to the examination officer, together with a written statement of the facts, at the latest 30 minutes after the closing signal of the paper concerned has been given.
14. The examination officer and his deputies shall take the names of candidates who do not comply with these instructions and report to the Examination Board any other relevant circumstances.
15. Candidates shall bring a black medium soft HB pencil and suitable eraser as well as a pencil sharpener.
16. In the hall, each candidate will be supplied with:
(a) a single copy of the examination paper in the three official languages of the European Patent Office;
(b) a personal answer sheet consisting of the coloured labelled cover sheet and answer page on the reverse side.
17. When giving their answers, candidates shall use the black medium soft HB pencil to fill in accurately and clearly the circles on their personal answer sheet.
18. The end of the paper will be announced ten minutes before the closing signal.
19. At the closing signal, candidates must:
(a) stop writing immediately;
(b) place the signed answer sheet to one side of their desk and remain seated until the personal answer sheet is collected by the examination officer or his deputies.
20. Should a candidate not stop writing, his answer cannot be collected. In this case, the candidate must contact the examination officer, who will advise him of the consequences.
21. Answer sheets are corrected in the form in which they are handed in by candidates on the day of the pre-examination. Therefore any subsequent objections will not be considered.
III. Main examination
22. Candidates shall bring a black or blue pen.
23. In the hall, each candidate will be supplied with:
(a) a single copy of the relevant examination paper in the three official languages of the European Patent Office;
(b) a sufficient supply of lined DIN A4 labelled paper ("EQE lined paper"), to be used for writing their answers;
(c) a coloured labelled cover sheet.
24. When preparing their answers,
(a) candidates shall write legibly; illegible scripts will not be marked;
(b) they shall write with a black or blue pen only and not use any highlighter pens on the answer papers (the answer papers will be photocopied for marking);
(c) they shall write their answers on the EQE lined paper or on entire sheets of the examination paper only;
(d) they shall write on the lined side of the EQE lined paper only and number each sheet at the top in consecutive Arabic numerals;
(e) they may also cut out parts of the examination paper and paste them on the EQE lined paper.
25. It is the sole responsibility of candidates to ensure that any cut and pasted parts are properly fixed to the EQE lined paper as answer papers will be photocopied for marking. Any cut and pasted parts not properly fixed and which might become unstuck or go missing during the photocopying process will not be considered for marking.
26. The end of the paper will be announced five minutes before the closing signal. If not already the case, during the time remaining candidates should sign the cover sheet, number the pages and place their answer in the envelope. No other documents may be placed in the envelope.
27. At the closing signal candidates must place their envelope to one side of their desk and remain seated until the envelope is collected by the examination officer or his deputies.
28. Under no circumstances may candidates write after the closing signal.
29. If a candidate does not stop writing, his answer cannot be collected. In this case, the candidate must contact the examination officer, who will advise him of the consequences.
30. Should a candidate realise, before leaving the examination hall, that he has forgotten to place part of his answer paper in the envelope, he should inform the examination officer, immediately. The part concerned must be placed in a separate envelope indicating the candidate's name as well as the date and time when the missing part was handed in and must be signed by the candidate. The Examination Board shall decide whether or not any such late-filed pages are to be deemed part of the answer paper and marked accordingly.
31. Answer papers are corrected in the form in which they are handed in by candidates on the day of the paper in question. Therefore any subsequent objections concerning the numbering or sequence of the answer papers, as well as comments on the content of the answer papers, shall not be taken into account.