In the past, the compensation system has changed regularly. In the early years, you had to pass all four papers in the same year. Later, you were allowed save the results of your passed papers for later years, but still had to score 50 marks for every paper. When a compensation system was first introduced, it was only applicable to your first attempt on all four papers - with a complex arrangement for candidates who wanted to split the effort in two (Papers A and B first, C and D next year).
Since 2010, you only have to re-sit the papers you failed. However, if you end up with more than two compensable fails (45-49 marks) or a total score of less than 200, you have to redo at least one paper you have not yet passed. Re-sitting a paper resets your score for that paper.
'Full-sitters' are candidates who enroll for all four papers in one year, usually but not necessarily for the first time.
In the statistics shown here, also returning full-sitters are included. Zero scores are counted too, but are likely to be no-shows which cannot be distinguished from not handing in your work or actually scoring 0 marks (scores of 1 have been awarded).
On average, a candidate sits 5.34 exams in 2.13 years, before qualifying as a European Patent Attorney. The longest and hardest route to that desired title (since 2010) took 26 exams and 10 years.
In total, 80.5% of the candidates who sat all four papers since 2010 have eventually passed the exam and 19.5% is still struggling.
I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.- Benjamin Franklin