Our advice to candidates is to submit applications through the central BarSAS system as early as possible. For the 2018-19 academic year, first-round applications opened in December 2017. The closing deadline for first-round applications is 17 January 2018. Offers of places will then be sent out from 7 March 2018, with applicants having until 4 April 2018 to accept a place. Clearing applications will be released to course providers on 13 April 2018, with the clearing round set to close on 3 September 2018. You will also have to have joined an Inn of Court by 31 May 2018. Exact dates for future years are not yet released - you should check well in advance for the new timetable when it becomes available on the Bar Standards Board (BSB) website.

Applications for a place on the BPTC must be made through the central BarSAS system. As well as the additional criteria of individual providers, candidates must satisfy BSB admission requirements. First, students must hold at least a 2.2 degree (either in law or non-law plus a pass in the GDL). Second, if English is not their first language, students must gain a score of at least 7.5 in all subjects of the British Council's IELTS test.

In addition, all candidates must take the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT), designed to examine an applicant's chances of success at the Bar. The BSB has made a practice test available here.