Choosing the Best SQE Training Provider for You
The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a high stakes exam, where its success or failure will ultimately make or break your career plans of becoming a qualified solicitor in England and Wales.
The new centralised assessment has an expansive syllabus that covers the English law nearly in its entirety. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has designed the SQE assessments in such a way that, unless you develop and demonstrate the mandatory skills, knowledge, and competence necessary to meet their demanding criteria, you may not pass the assessments.
You will only have three attempts at passing each element of the SQE within a six-year period. As a result, it is imperative that you put a good amount of consideration and planning into how best you can situate yourself in a favourable position to successfully pass the SQE the first time.
Kaplan is the sole provider of the SQE; however, they are not permitted to offer preparation courses for the assessments. This is where working with an SQE training provider comes into play. There are a lot of factors and variables to consider when selecting an SQE training provider. Different providers will offer contrasting courses, varying in cost, scope and quality, flexibility, and so on. So how should one go about selecting the right training provider to meet their undoubtedly different studying needs?
This article will look at some of the questions that you should ask the providers you are considering working with before signing up, as well as offer some suggestions to make sure that you are getting the most out of your courses, putting you in the best position to successfully pass the SQE assessments.
Plan to study early and conscientiously
Preparing for the SQE is no small undertaking, and a significant investment of both time and effort is necessary if you wish to be successful. While every person will have different study needs and preferences, given the scope of the syllabus, QLTS School recommends that candidates study for the SQE1 exam for roughly five to six months, spending between 15-20 hours per week studying. For the SQE2 exam, a candidate will likely spend about three to four months, also spending between 15-20 hours per week studying.
Candidates without any legal background will likely spend one to three months longer preparing for the SQE. The training provider that you select should be able to offer a thorough study guide and timetable to all candidates to keep your studies on track.
Ensure that the quality of the course materials meet your specific needs
It is crucial that you clearly understand what a training provider course includes upfront, before you sign on the dotted line. Comparing the offerings of the training providers before selecting an SQE preparation course can help you determine which course is the best for you and your personal needs, and save you time in the long run by making certain that you are ready to pass the first time.
Take some time to make a pro and con list, asking questions similar to these about the training providers you are deciding between:
• Will textbooks be used? If so, how many will there be? In what format will they be offered? (print or digital)
• Will videos be included? If so, how many and what kind?
• Will mock exams be offered? If so, how many and how often can you take them?
• Are other types of study materials included? If so, what kind, how many, and in what format?
• How flexible is the course format? Can you begin at any time, from anywhere, or will there be a specific start and end date and time?
• Will help be available to you throughout your studies, such as being able to communicate or work with a qualified tutor?
• Is the training provider willing to provide samples for each element of the SQE exams before signing up for the course? If so, are the samples of high quality and targeted specifically towards the SQE?
• Are the course materials appropriate for candidates from different backgrounds, such as law graduates and non-law graduates, apprentices, chartered legal executives, paralegals or overseas lawyers?
• How much experience does each provider have in preparing candidates for an SQE-style exam?
• (Add any additional personal questions that you might have to this list and ask the training provider(s) that you are considering.)
Figure out how much it is going to cost
After completing your pro and con list of training providers, the next step is to figure out exactly how much it is going to cost to work with the training provider of your choice. To help you determine the overall cost, you will need to know what exactly you are getting for your money. Is the course comprehensive or à la carte? Are all course materials included or will you need to purchase additional materials as you go? While some providers might seem more economical at first glance, if you do not read the fine print, you can end up spending more than you bargained for. Legal training is no place for mistakes and false economy. You want to make sure you get good value for your money.
Another cost that can be overlooked at first is the price of failing the SQE, resulting in costly retakes fees payable to Kaplan, frustration and emotional stress, and ultimately putting a hold on your career goals and progress. You want to have the best chance you can to pass the SQE the first time, thus working with a qualified and experienced training provider with a proven track record of success is worth the upfront investment in your future.
The benefit of working with an experienced training provider
There is an upside to working with and learning from experience when it comes to your training provider. If your training provider successfully helped prepare candidates to pass the QLTS in the past, then there is a good chance that they can help you pass the SQE.
The design of the SQE assessments is closely modelled to the QLTS exams. Both the QLTS and SQE exams are similar in content, format, and style. The QLTS is made up of two parts, a Multiple Choice Test (MCT) and an Objective Structured Clinical Assessment (OSCE), while the SQE exams are also broken down into two stages. SQE1 focusses on the Functioning Legal Knowledge Assessments (FLK), while SQE2 assesses practical legal skills assessments in the context of several practice areas. As a result of the similarities, there is a clear advantage to deciding to work with an experienced and proven QLTS provider.
If you still are not sure if the provider you are hoping to select is the right choice for you, consider speaking with former candidates to see what their experience was like with the courses, for example on SQE LinkedIn Groups. Ask these candidates if they felt adequately prepared for the exams, whether the course materials were of high quality and comprehensive, if the provider was receptive and helped answer questions, and what their overall experience was like working with the provider as a whole. Getting feedback from peers can be invaluable and help assure you that you are putting your trust, money, and future in the right hands.
How QLTS School can help you prepare for the SQE
QLTS School has trained thousands of candidates for the QLTS exams while providing proven in-depth knowledge, experience, and success helping candidates from the world’s top law firms prepare for an exam, similar to the SQE. The SQE preparation courses have been thoroughly tried, tested, and are regularly updated as needed to meet the needs of every candidate. The programme offered by QLTS School will ensure that you focus on your studies – not on what to study – with confidence that if you put in the time and effort into studying, you will have the tools needed to successfully pass the SQE.
SQE Preparation Courses
QLTS School’s preparation courses for the SQE exams reflect the SQE Assessment Specifications of the SRA and cover all areas of the syllabus required to successfully pass the assessments. The courses are designed and based on over a decade of experience preparing foreign lawyers seeking to qualify as English solicitors for the phased-out QLTS exams. QLTS School offers various SQE course packages to meet your needs and ensure your success.
The courses, offered with three different packages for each stage of the SQE assessments at affordable prices for every need, include textbooks, digital flashcards, mock exams, video tutorials, legal skills workshops, practise questions, revision notes, online resources, and access to extensive tutor support for both the SQE1 and SQE2 assessments. The course materials are accessible through an online training system, SQE Learning, allowing for personal feedback on your progress and performance.