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New figures reveal huge provider variation in LPC pass rates

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Solicitor exam success rates range from 100% to 37% at different institutions

SQE super exam students solicitors

Where you learn the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for would-be solicitors has a major impact on your chances of passing, new figures on success rates show.

Data from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) reveals that LPC passes rates in 2016/17 varied widely among providers. A couple of institutions boast a 100% pass rate but the worst got only 37% across the line.

📸 SRA

The regulator comments that “in addition to the variation in successful completion rates, there is significant variation between providers in terms of the proportion of students obtaining pass, commendation and distinction grades”.

The SRA shrugs that “it is unclear what the reasons are for such a wide disparity in performance”. The overall pass rate was 66%, with the rest failing, dropping out or deferring.

Legal education giants BPP University and the University of Law accounted for three quarters of all LPCers last year, whereas several providers took fewer than 50 students. The SRA muses that the big differences in student numbers could account for the huge variation in pass rates, but refuses to say what the tell-all percentages were at each institution.

There has been a rise in the proportion of ethnic minority students passing the LPC, after years of falling pass rates. Around 55% of Asian candidates went home with an LPC last year, up from 52% in 2015/16. Black students were still more likely to fail than pass, with 45% making the grade, but that is at least up from 40% the year before. This is still significantly behind white students, who passed at an unchanged rate of about 80%.

The 2019 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

Men and women were equally likely to pass the LPC, although female candidates picked up a higher proportion of “distinction” grades.

Feedback from external examiners was “largely positive about the LPC overall” — which won’t stop it being replaced by the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in 2021 — although they did raise some concerns. One sharp-eyed examiner noticed that “candidates’ answers matched very closely the answer in the marking scheme”, raising suspicions that “candidates may have been provided with a written answer as part of their course materials”.

Another cynic said that “strong marks on a module were not necessarily reflective of the understanding of students”.

6,600 solicitors qualified in 2016/17, according to the SRA, most of them via the standard LPC route.

The SRA’s director of education and training, Julie Brannan, will be speaking at Legal Cheek’s Future of Legal Education and Training Conference which takes place on Wednesday 22 May 2019 at Kings Place London. Tickets (first release) are available to purchase at the rate of £240 + VAT.

28 Comments

Anonymous

SRA has no problem naming and shaming unfortunate NQs who made regrettable/poor decisions and ended breaking the code by superiors, but won’t name the institution so shit that only a third of candidates even manage PASS via their LPC centre.

Fantastic. Good to know you’re putting in the work for us student lawyers, SRA.

(151)(1)

Anonymous

Naming and shaming and FINING THOUSANDS OF POUNDS!! Wonder how much it costs to go to an institution with a 37% pass rate…

(29)(0)

OP

Sorry for poor grammar/spelling in my initial post! The anger was flowing through me and I didn’t think to proofread before hitting reply.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

MAD RAGE

(1)(2)

Anonymous

As someone set to start an LPC at ULaw Bristol in 2020, I’d absolutely like to have the names of these institutions disclosed.

(18)(1)

Anonymous

Should not they close the programmes with less than 50% pass rates?

(36)(1)

Anonymous

Yes.

End of thread.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Is it possible for a freedom of information article as a follow up Legal cheek?

(22)(0)

37% ... where's the statistics from ?

One sharp-eyed examiner noticed that “candidates’ answers matched very closely the answer in the marking scheme”, raising suspicions that “candidates may have been provided with a written answer as part of their course materials”…..

…. isn’t this how all students pass? By providing answers that are then marked according to ‘ the marking scheme ‘ … surely candidates answers will be similar if the question is asking for a specific answer

Gordon Bennett I’m not sure how this shows students were provided with written answers .

37% pass rate is probably university of law considering they only give 2 hours face to face teaching on the part time LPC, it’s like distant learning but being charged a mortgage for the pleasure.

(47)(3)

Anonymeaningful

Why is everyone concerned with the 37% pass rate? That may indicate that the institution marks papers very seriously.

On the other hand, I think the 100% figure is disturbing!

(14)(8)

Anonymous

Whats a dickfart?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Why are so many blacks people failing the course? Institutional racism or what?

(20)(17)

Anonymenestrel

How is that possible? Papers are assessed anonymously with reference to a candidate number.

I don’t see how racism could be a factor in anything here.

(15)(13)

Anonymous

Getting less support from non ethnic law tutors perhaps and feeling dejected!

(14)(11)

Luke Robinson

Why was my response deleted? My notebook is famous!

(5)(0)

Just saying it how it is

The institution with the lowest pass rate has got to be somewhere like Beckett or Northumbria where no reputable law firm would send future trainees, but an institution that attracts desperado law students with 2:2s and dire career prospects

(6)(8)

Anonymilking

Probably the opposite. A low pass rate is indicative of a solid institution which takes marking papers very seriously.

Plus, a lot of people fail in London ULaw/BPP so they definitely are not the ones boasting the disturbing 100% pass rate!

(10)(5)

Just saying it how it is v2.0

Also I have no issue with one institution rewarding 100%. It’s got to be somewhere like ULaw Moorgate/ Holborn; basically one that teaches future magic circle trainees who would absolutely bomb the LPC

(5)(3)

DRS

When I did the LPC students from the Moorgate branch complained that the business exam was much harder than the workshops and practice exam let on and there was a minor/inconsequential error in one question.
ULaw adjusted everyone’s marks up by a few points. Maybe the London LPC students are just more likely to complain until they pass?!

(1)(0)

Opportunist

At £16,000 for the pleasure, I will be pursuing all avenues to get a pass mark.

If they have the gall to make an error, then I will certainly aim to use that to my advantage for a few freebie marks.

Not happened yet, but you bet I will be a whiny little bitch if necessary.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Anyone roughly where ULaw ranks in here? I have my core module exams in about three weeks and would like to know if I’m fucked.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

I went to the Moorgate ULaw and the only way you can fail is by being very stupid and/or not doing the prep work.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

This is even worse for GDLs. Was the only person with a TC in my group in University of Law, out of 15 people only 3 or 4 people passed exams from first attempt.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

At Brunel a girl did the GDL part time over 2 years for 4500 a year. We were the first cohort paying 9000.

She got away with doing only exams and no coursework. Now she’s an Associate at Charles Russell’s Speechlys

As for Brunel, they now have a 2 year Graduate entry LLB charging 18000 no more GDL

BASTARDS

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Any idea where ULaw fits into this?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Poorly. Tried both ULaw and BPP for GDL and LPC and BPP was much more reliable, well-organised and efficient. Obviously this is subjective.

(0)(0)

Anon

This is not surprising when some institutes have open book exams whilst others don’t. I am aware of friends and colleagues who have failed the LPC worked as paralegals and then passed it with distinction, part time, in a different institution. They are now qualified.

(1)(0)

Deed U No

The first thing we’ll do – lets kill all the lawyers !

(0)(1)

Comments are closed.

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