These sample questions will not appear on the exam.
Please refer to Section 8 of the Bylaws of the PBA Workers' Compensation Law Section for details on the exam and scoring.
In summary, the exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and two essays. If an applicant scores 80 or better on the multiple choice questions, the essay questions will not be read. A score of 80 on the multiple-choice is in effect an automatic passing of the exam. The essays are worth ten (10) points each. Thus, if the examinee scores at least 60, he or she may potentially pass by achieving a 10 on each essay. In order to receive a passing grade, an applicant must score 80 or more points on the entire examination.
The exam focuses on familiar portions of the law and rules, as well as leading case law, and not on obscure points. Still, the individual taking the exam must prepare by way of reviewing the statute, Rules, and court precedents. A review of the appellate rules is also recommended. The multiple-choice questions are based on the subject areas detailed in Article IX, Section 8. The potential examinee should review the act and the Rules of Practice before both WCJs and the Appeal Board.
Each multiple-choice question sets forth a hypothetical scenario followed by a directive that the examinee should identify the critical issues and then posit what are, in the examinee's view, the most likely result(s) under Pennsylvania law. Two mock questions appear below as examples. The essays, meanwhile, follow the pattern of the narrative questions with which all are familiar from LSAT, law school, and bar examination.
Consistent with the Bylaws, the time frames for completion are as follow: Multiple Choice Questions: 2½ hours; Essay Question A: 45 minutes; Essay Question B: 45 minutes. The maximum period for taking the exam is four hours.
Sample question: The law governing recovery in a "mental stress causing mental disability case" is best described as follows:
A. Under a statutory provision, the claimant must prove that "abnormal working conditions" caused claimant's injury; what is abnormal must be considered vis-à-vis claimant's occupation.
B. Under case law, the claimant must prove that "abnormal working conditions" caused his injury; what is abnormal must be considered vis-à-vis claimant's occupation.
C. Under a statutory provision, such claims are not compensable: "For the purposes of this chapter, no alleged injury or disease shall be recognized as a compensable injury or disease which was solely caused by nonphysical means and which did not result in any physical injury or disease to the person claiming benefits. It is the purpose of this section to clarify that so-called mental-mental claims are not compensable. …"
D. Under case law, such claims are not compensable. According to the court, "The business-friendly reforms of Act 57 of 1996 cause us to believe that we can no longer infer that mental stress causing mental disability injuries, with their inherent subjectivity, are to be compensated in the Commonwealth."
Sample question: The law surrounding determination of whether an injured worker is an employee or independent contractor can best be described as follows:
A. The definitions of these work categories are governed entirely by the common law (i.e., court decisions).
B. The definitions of these work categories are governed entirely by provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act.
C. The definitions of these work categories are governed by a combination of provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act, another statute of recent enactment addressing the construction industry, and the common law (i.e., court decisions).
D. The definitions of these work categories are governed by federal law, and necessarily, because of preemption, mirror the rules surrounding the employee/independent contractor distinction for federal income tax purposes.
Get the answers to the sample questions.