How to Successfully Prepare for the SQE Assessments
The planning and preparation to become a solicitor from 2021 and beyond will look differently than it has in recent years, with the upcoming implementation of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
The syllabus for the SQE assessments is comprehensive and covers English law almost in its entirety, similar to the content being delivered over several years at UK universities for students looking to gain either a LLB degree or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), plus the content which is taught in the Legal Practise Course (LPC).
However, the syllabus is also substantially modelled on the QLTS assessment, the current fast-track route to become an English solicitor, with both SQE and QLTS exams being similar in content, style, format, and structure. With consideration to your personal circumstances, study needs, career goals, and your past experience with English law, planning your route to ensure that you are successfully prepared for the SQE exams will take some careful thought, time, and proper research, in order to ensure SQE success.
How much time will it take to prepare for the SQE?
Preparing for the SQE requires a serious time commitment. On average, it is likely to take about 9-12 months to be fully prepared for both stages of the SQE. As a general guideline, studying for the SQE1 exam would entail a candidate study for approximately 5-6 months for about 15-20 hours per week, while another candidate might choose to spread out their study time commitment over a period of 12-18 months. For the SQE2 exam, a candidate would most likely spend about 3 to 4 months studying, or up to 8 months, also studying for 15-20 hours per week.
Given the similarities between the SQE and QLTS, there is a clear advantage to working with an established QLTS training provider with a proven track record of successfully preparing candidates for the QLTS, when preparing for the SQE exams. It ultimately can save you both time and money in retakes.
What can I do to be as best prepared for the SQE as possible?
Focus: Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK)
Method of Assessment: Two multiple choice tests of 180 questions each
SQE1 – Preparation Stage One
QLTS School will help you understand the format and style of the multiple choice questions and how best to approach them. Study aides in the form of a course handbook and SQE1 exam day resources will be included.
SQE1 – Preparation Stage Two
At this stage of study, focus will be on substantive and procedural law. Study aides of this stage include (links to sample materials included):
• 18 textbooks with over 3,000 pages whose content covers the complete SRA syllabus and which has been written specifically for SQE1.
• Over 5,000 digital flash cards featuring brief questions and answers on all the topics covered by SQE1, organised into the various areas of practice which align to the syllabus. These cards help you reinforce your learning and fully comprehend the main principles of the law.
• Revision notes feature about 500 pages of concisely written content that summarises the key points of each subject’s main legal principles.
SQE1 – Preparation Stage Three
At this stage, you will begin to work on gaining and developing a deeper understanding of the subject areas covered in the assessment. Study aides include:
• The SQE Question Bank featuring over 2,500 multiple choice questions that cover a comprehensive range of topics and the legal knowledge necessary to achieve each practice objective. Every question offers five possible answers together with a fact pattern and an explanation as to how the correct answer can be arrived at and, where needed, why the remaining four answers are incorrect.
• The SQE Video Library contains over 200 video tutorials covering more than 60 hours of lectures. The videos offer a broad outline of the complete syllabus whilst also focus on more specific topics enabling the syllabus to be comprehensively considered.
SQE1 – Preparation Stage Four
The final area on the to-do list to study for SQE1 requires you to be able to apply the law to realistic fact patterns and preparation for this is enabled by the provision of:
• 30 mock tests featuring 90 questions each for both FLK 1 and FLK 2 thus allowing you to test their progress by attempting realistic test questions within a given time limit, in a similar format to the actual SQE1 assessment.
Should the law change at any time throughout your period of study, course materials are updated regularly, so that you have the most current information available prior to sitting the exam.
Focus: Practical Legal Skills
Method of Assessment: Two parts, oral examination testing interviewing and advocacy skills and the second part tests your written skills on legal drafting, legal research, legal writing and case and matter analysis.
SQE2 – Preparation Stage One
QLTS School will help ensure that you fully understand the format and structure of the assessment by using study aides such as a course guide and SQE2 exam day resources.
SQE2 – Preparation Stage Two
You will study substantive and procedural law, with the help of these aides (links to sample materials included):
• Practice area summaries featuring 200 pages that encapsulate the essentials elements of law with each practice area divided into separate sections that deal with the main topics that the assessment tests.
• Over 2500 digital flash cards, featuring brief questions and answers on all the topics relating to the law covered by the SQE2 syllabus.
• The SQE Video Library contains over 80 video tutorials covering more than 20 hours of lectures relating to law which are disseminated into smaller topic areas covering certain parts of the syllabus in more depth.
SQE2 – Preparation Stage Three
In this stage, you will learn six important skills needed to be successful on SQE2, using study aides such as:
• Practice questions that cover the areas featured in the syllabus and which are based on multiple exercises applied to a case study or scenario. As a further aid, the questions are accompanied by various documents and forms that you may encounter during the formal examination, for example witness statements, letters of claim, bail applications, probate applications, wills, property purchase deeds and so forth.
• SQE Skills Online is an interactive facility featuring over 60 exercises together with a 130-page textbook. These are complemented with video and audio material that deal with aspects of legal drafting and writing, advocacy, interviewing and advising, legal research, and case and matter analysis.
• Legal Skills Video Workshops feature over 100 videos including role-play scenarios that focus on interviewing and advocacy together with content presented by a law tutor that covers legal writing and offers guidance on the drafting of the most common legal documents.
SQE2 – Preparation Stage Four
In the final stage of SQE2 preparation, you will develop and practise your legal skills using study aides like:
• 250 mock exams covering each of the five legal practice areas and the six skills. These mock exams will enable you to strengthen your legal knowledge and perfect your practical legal skills. Samples of various mock exams can be accessed for further evaluation:
• Mock practice stations provide you with the opportunity to partake in one-to-one online client interviewing and advocacy scenarios with an experienced tutor who will also offer personal feedback aligned with the SRA Marking and Moderating Policy as well as Kaplan’s standards.
• English writing exercises which will enable you to practise your skills in producing relevant, clear, and accurate written English at an acceptable standard.
Preparing for the SQE through a structured training programme with an experienced training provider has a clear advantage as it save your time, money and effort, and will increase your prospects of success in the examination. Taking into account exam fees, course fees, retakes, and the many months of study preparation, it is advisable that you be well prepared the first time to give yourself the best chance possible of successfully passing the SQE the first time.
How to get started
QLTS School’s preparation courses for the SQE exams reflect the SRA Assessment Specification and are based on a decade of experience in teaching foreign lawyers for the QLTS exams. This ensures that you will be equipped with all the tools necessary to achieve success in the SQE exams.