SQE examiner hit by ‘cheating’ outbreak

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Kaplan acknowledges ‘attempted’ cheating on foreign lawyer exam it also runs

The company in charge of the new solicitor super-exam has been rocked by allegations of cheating in the law exams it already oversees.

Kaplan, which has the contract to run the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), said that it was “fully aware that some candidates attempted to cheat” on a separate test for foreign lawyers re-qualifying in England. But it insisted that it had taken “robust action” and there was “no impact on the overall assessment”.

A foreign lawyer who contacted Legal Cheek with concerns about the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) exams told us that the July and August assessments were “absolutely identical” and candidates in the second group were tipped off about what they were going to be asked.

The QLTS exam regulations warn candidates that “disclosing or discussing details of the content of any element of the assessment unless expressly permitted or required” counts as cheating.

Kaplan didn’t deny that the two rounds of exams were the same, but says the results ultimately showed no cause for concern and that details of action taken against individuals are confidential.

The 2021 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

Our tipster passed, and is now qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales. But, they say, “I feel that I shouldn’t have been able to pass that way, that this exam is just not worth anything”.

A Kaplan spokesperson said: “We are fully aware that some candidates attempted to cheat in a QLTS examination and we have taken robust action in response… candidates clearly attempted to gain an advantage by cheating, but they were not successful.”

The company said that there was “no cause for concern in relation to the results of both the July and the August assessments which reached the very high statistical quality standards (in terms of reliability and accuracy) expected of high stakes professional licensing exams. No adjustments were necessary, or were made”.

The spokesperson added that the marks in the August exams were actually lower on average than in July.

Kaplan was put in charge of the SQE in 2018 on an eight-year contract.

Its exams weren’t the only ones to face criticism this year. The Bar Standards Board has commissioned an independent probe into problems with this summer’s online bar exams, which were overseen by Pearson VUE.

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Archibald Pomp O'City

OK, back up now. How the hell can they say it made no difference? They have no idea how shite the responses would have been had the exam been unseen.

You lazy bastards, Kaplan. You’re paid a small fortune to set these exams, in a day and age where cheating has never been so easily facilitated (or lucrative). And yet you set the same exam papers for two completely different diets.

There are enough shite lawyers who passed their exams knocking around without enabling those who might have failed.



Inexcusable to reuse questions so close together. There should be a SRA requirement that questions are not used more than once.


Nezil Samuel

I agree 💯%. The SRA needs to have a boardroom engagement with the Body that they have put in place to set these exams (if they hadn’t done so) discussions should have included rules pertaining to how exams are set, how they should be rotated etc. Any professiobal Body with any hint of competency, would have been fully aware that giving the same set of questions to two different set of groups would produce the consequences that has emerged. We live in a world where everyone is encouraged to network and collaborate, therefore, there should be no expectation from past students who have already taken the exam to remain quiet about questions they had to answer in their exams. There anything that is new, teething problems do make themselves known, so hopefully lessons have been learnt and responsibility has been taken to rectify those problems.



No excuse for reusing questions. Cost cutting strikes again



Typical… trying to cause a stir and point fingers at foreigners. This is disgraceful and something must be done.


Another crybaby?

Where does it even imply any guilt being apportioned to foreign lawyers??? From my reading, the the whistle blower is being met with gratitude and serious considerations from the regulators are hopefully going to push for some positive changes to be made. Not a single word of blame there… I would suggest that you stop being so paranoid and read what’s actually written instead of crying wolf.. next will hear about how SQE is fundamentally racist against BAME applicants. Now THAT, my dear friend, indeed must stop immediately. #stopfakeracism



That quite simply isn’t true. The marks in August were lower than in July, which would not be the case had foreign lawyers cheated.



The August results may have been even lower had new questions been used…..


Archibald Pomp O'City

Eight more years of these numpties.



This is not true . I know a girl who got the question from July group but no action has been taken against her and she passed . I’m sure if she was in july she would have failed



This is just a promo for what is coming next from the SRA. Students (solicitors-to-be!) form whasapp groups, share course materials of training providers and infringe copyrights. This is the type of people our legal profession is going to get!



Universities are moving to coursework models with no work being conducted under controlled conditions.

Dangerous move


Nezil Samuel

It is concerning what generation of solicitors are being produced.


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