Currently, the USPTO has developed a computerized and randomized exam which is administered by prometric. In the past, the exam was all paper-based and was offered a limited amount of times through the year. Thus, the "pool" of questions remained somewhat stable. However, with the computerized exam, questions are selected randomly (from an ever increasing database of questions). In an attempt to administer exams that are fair across the board, each question on the exam is giving a "hardness" ranking. This means, questions are ranked from 1 to 10 in their difficulty factor, so that each exam "created" can have the same difficulty level based on the questions pulled.
That being said, from past history, when the USPTO implements changes to the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) and to the exam, they often draw a larger proportion of questions from this new material, meaning anywhere from 15-20 questions are likely to be "brand new" covering this material. That's 1/5th of the exam, that if individuals do not know, probably means a guaranteed failing grade on the exam.
While many of the AIA Phase II material questions are appearing on exams, everyone is still anticipating the changes to come April 2nd and the types of questions that will be added to the exam database. Specifically, the entire patent landscape is changing, with "first-to-file" changing many definitions and rules, including what is/isn't prior art. These seemingly small changes have far reached implications, as the definition of what prior art is directly influences many, many, rules and guidelines (for instance, determining cases of obviousness). But probably more drastic, is that the date of invention will no longer be
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