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LPC provider pass rates vary from 100% to just 23%, latest figures show

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SRA annual report reveals ‘significant differences’ among anonymised law schools

Pass rates on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) ranged from as high as 100% to as low as 23%, new statistics released by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have shown.

The regulator’s annual report on quality assurance in education and training revealed there continue to be “significant differences” in successful completion rates between providers.

LPC pass rates for the academic year to 2019 ranged from 100% to 23% across 25 postgraduate law schools, whose names are anonymised. Four providers scored pass rates higher than 90%, while three fell below the 50% mark.

Meanwhile, pass rates on the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) for the same period ranged from 95% to 0%.

“We are unable to draw firm conclusions about why there is such a broad range in successful completion rates,” the SRA said. “However, pass rates can be influenced by candidate ability and engagement, as well as teaching quality and assessment arrangements.”

The 2021 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

There were also significant variations between providers in the proportion of students who achieve pass, commendation or distinction grades. The SRA said the reasons for such wide disparity were “unclear” but stated a number of factors such as differences in academic ability, size of student intakes, and the quality of teaching, all make it difficult to draw consistent outcomes.

Elsewhere, the report shows the achievement gap between white and ethnic minority students remains large. Over two-thirds (68%) of white students successfully completed the LPC, compared with 49% of asian students and 36% of black students. The report further found white students were significantly more likely to receive distinctions.

“We know there is an attainment gap affecting BAME students in legal education,” the SRA continued. “We are commissioning independent research to look at the societal and structural factors that may be driving this attainment gap, so that we can look at whether we and others can take steps to make a difference.”

These findings come as the LPC and GDL are to be phased out by the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) from 1 September 2021.

Last year’s report found that LPC pass rates for the year to 2018 ranged from 100% to 29% and GDL pass rates varied from 100% to 35%. The SRA dismissed calls to disclose the training providers’ names at the time, noting that the SQE, a new two-part national assessment to be set and examined centrally, will make it easier to compare outcomes.

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83 Comments

Disgraceful

Why is the SRA not disclosing the identities of the law schools? Imagine students paying upwards of £10k to attend a law school where only 23% of candidates are passing!?!

Anonymous

Imagine going somewhere 77% fail! It is only the LPC, it’s not as if it is a hard exam.

Ada

Very disgraceful. Not right at all. This is so unfair too. Most BAME students finance their education without student loans yet SRA are relunctant to disclose such vital information.

Something has to be done about these unfair standards as if the competition in this field is not enough for the BAME students

Former BPP student

I think this has a lot to do with assessment style (just my personal opinion so don’t shoot me down too much).

I worked part-time whilst sitting the LPC and in order to achieve the higher grades the closed book exams took significant amounts of time to revise for properly. Overall — while trying to balance my mental health, work and study — I found that I just didn’t have enough time and achieved merits.

Once the pandemic struck BPP turned switched to open book and received 75+ in the majority of my electives.

Jake

Ulaw exams are supposed to be open book but they have introduced a new software which means you can only access your notes through a Journal which no one used.

Jocasta Master

Although at Ulaw you can still have physical notes in front of you, which is a lifesaver

Hamza

Open book isn’t much help when they throw in obscure topics.

If you did the Real Estate MCQ this month you’ll know what I’m on about

anon

I did the Real Estate MCQ this month and have no idea what topic you’re referring to. There was nothing unconventional in the Real Estate MCQ.

There’s plenty to critique ULaw on, you don’t need to fabricate details about the exams to do so.

@ anon

Undercover ulaw staff strikes again!

Clearly you’re living under a rock. Almost everyone I know struggled with the Real Estate MCQ for the reason mentioned

Campus Dean

Just got my provisional MCQ’s back and got 20/20 so I must be living under that rock along with Spongebob and Patrick

@ campus dean

You wish you got 20/20 loooool

What a loser

Boo BLP and DR Woo RE

lol i think you must be hanging around with the wrong crowd if everyone you know found the real estate MCQs hard

Real estate is the easiest of the CPAs by a country mile

@ Boo BLP and DR Woo RE

if by wrong crowd you mean my entire class and my friends’ class which consists of all sponsored students with a TC at a top firm

@ my friend has a tc at a 'top firm' but i don't

by top firm i’m guessing you mean Payne Hicks Beach? It’s fine you’ll focus on private client work no need for conveyancing

your “entire class” lmao get out of here an exam is an exam, if you didn’t do well its on you

Anonymous ULaw Student

I found the MCQs difficult. I thought the questions were obscure and designed to cause confusion. I would have preferred a closed book MCQ exam on topics we were taught. It was probably just me who found it difficult though.

Eric

BPP basically teach you the exam answers whereas at Ulaw they expect you to know everything because it’s open book.

I know which one I would prefer

Not undercover ULaw staff

Not the journal crap again zzzzzzzzzzzz. My mates did really well on the MCQs that were released today

Joe

Considering the LPC is a professional course it’s very concerning how the “rules” if you like are so different with the various providers.

The fact that exams are closed book with one and open book with another.

The fact that with some providers it’s pretty much an independent ‘teach yourself’ style approach whereas with another provider you get much more hand holding and support.

The fact that with one provider the assessments and exams are marked harshly whereas another is much more lenient.

The fact that one provider has low pass rate whereas another has grade inflation.

The fact that one provider makes you cover all the content whereas another heavily hints at key exam topics and where to focus your revision efforts.

The fact that one provider has a difficult paper whereas another gives an easier paper.

I could go on but you get the gist…

Andrew

The LPC providers which have a base around the UK in different cities, there are disparities in teaching and marking and all the other things you mentioned between the different campuses for the SAME provider.

It’s a JOKE

Jay

Yep.

I’m at Ulaw in London but my mates in the Leeds campus and Manchester campus have different kind of teaching and marking than I do.

FlourPour

Mate BBP was a joke with its open book rules. They teach you the exam answers in the tutorials then allow you to use an elaborate system with all the colours of the rainbow to code those answers into the books.

My companies law book looked like a pride parade had run over it before the exam. Barely needed to learn a thing.

Rianne

This is what I don’t understand.

BPP is closed book but they direct you towards the answers and hint heavily about what’s on the exam.

Whereas Ulaw is open book but you have to learn everything and obscure topics can come up from a random page in the textbook on a minor point.

I’d rather the former than the latter anyway!

Kieran

BPP PCR exam was like that. Because the topic was so easy, they examined you on tiny points try and catch you out. Its ridiculous

Judge Rinder

What do you mean its ridiculous?! It’s an exam, and especially for something like conduct, its something you need to know off the back of your hand!

S’pose we’ll be reading about you and the SDT in later life eh

Plain Flour

I was surprised in modules when I actually need to use my brain… like client interviews

Dan

The LPC has radicalised me. I’ve never had so much hatred for education like I have doing this course.

It’s not the content itself that makes the LPC difficult but it’s the institutions and providers and SRA.

Sam

Honestly, the LPC is the worst experience of education in all my years of schooling.

Just get your qualification and go my friend and don’t look back

My Opinion

BPP and Ulaw LPC providers are both incompetent.

I think the students who end up better off are ones who go to Birmingham City Uni or Nottingham Trent Uni (actual universities basically) to do the LPC – the grades are given leniently and everyone seems to do really well there as there is a lot more support and the teaching seems to be better overall too.

Hannah

I know so many people who scores over 90 and had quite a few 100 full mark scores at BCU.

Charl

BCU hand out high distinction grades on the LPC like free pretzels at the shopping mall.

There was a guy in my class who was very slow (and I mean VERY) and clearly not very bright who left with a high commendation.

You have to REALLY mess up at BCU to not pass the LPC.

Frank

The LPC isnt a highly regarded qualification.

I know many students are stressed over it right now but believe me it’s just a tick box exercise more than anything else. No one cares about it or asks you about it once you leave as long as you pass and get your commendation.

Anonymous

No one cares about the LPC. I am always worried by candidates that think their LPC results mattered. The LPC just exists as a relative simple process to weed out those who are clearly not good enough.

Scraped LPC

I scraped a pass let alone a commendation and still got a Silver Circle TC.

Most firms outside of the MC / elite couldn’t care less about what grade you get.

Charles

It’s a year-long glorified box-ticking exercise.

Lando N

Need to up your throttle if you wanna beat me this season Leclerc!!!

Checo

Let’s see how many podiums you get m8.

Game on

Ricciardo

You think you can beat McLaren this year?

Need to spend less time online and more time practicing behind the wheel Leclerc

Bottas

Worry about yourself ozzie simp

Hamilton

Big talk for a wingman

Ianon

I think we all deserve to know who these universities are. That may help me in deciding where to do my LPC this September.

Elizabeth

When Eve Cornwall said in her YouTube video about LPC reflections that she spent a year feeling depressed and stressed just to get certain grades to impress her firm, I finally understand what she meant.

I get that it’s a blessing to even have a TC in the first place and a firm that’s sponsoring you but we should also acknowledge that law firms are part and parcel of the problem.

They have terms in the TC that future trainees have to get certain grades and pass first time…. well imagine in a pandemic when students are getting ill and having to miss exams through no fault of their own and having to play catch up because they’re fatigued and have long term symptoms.

If I’m being honest I don’t understand why law firms haven’t waived the LPC terms in the TC during the course of the pandemic. It’s ridiculous.

The constant fear of losing your TC because you caught covid.

And not to mention the fact that with exams being online there are so many technical problems with the software and systems in place and the sites crash or human error with wrong papers being released…. do you know how scary it is that you might have missed your first attempt exam option again through no fault of your own but a technical problem.

Harry

My mate is meant to start her TC in August but had to miss her Core Practice Exams due to getting covid and is worried about having to delay the start date and even worse – losing her TC.

It’s ridiculous.

V

I’m in the exact same boat and when I tell you the fear of losing your TC is more stressful than the actual course itself

Anon

Depends on the firm, firms with a good HR team and a collegiate culture will be respectful of their future trainees under current circumstances. Moreover, firms which take the time to properly assess and get to know candidates, rather than using online assessments as a number cutting exercise, might have enough faith in their future cohort to disregard a low LPC mark.
Not trying to bash any specific firms, as an applicant you take what offers you can get. Hopefully applicants or offer holders will read this and think more holistically about their options, rather than simply worrying about the faces their peers will make when they announce the TC with ‘well known firm’.
Finally, before someone jumps in with a comment about mid market firms, this comment holds true for some of the most well regarded firms in the London market and globally. They can work you very hard, be very demanding and also be respectful enough not to doubt you in case you score poorly in a Wills & Trusts assessment during these tough times. Food for thought.

Gigi Goode

Great points. Unfortunately its near impossible to judge culture from firms. Even vac schemes are notoriously unreliable as everyones on their best behaviour

Aiden

For people yet to start their LPC and are wondering what it’s like…

I’m teaching myself through the pre recorded lectures and workshops and doing the readings. There is no indication of what the written exam style should be or exam technique etc you are just expected to figure it out yourself.

I turn up to my classes or “workshops” (as we call them) for attendance and then I close the tab once it’s done and teach myself.

Elliott

Same!!

Everything is pre recorded from years ago they just change the dates and it makes me wonder what on earth the 15k is going towards.

It’s regurgitated content

Connor

Wow we are living the same life. I turn up to my SGS’s as we call them as BPP and once its done just teach myself too. Its a joke.

Currently doing the LLM part of my course in easter break (why bpp??) and have to write two essays one being a fairly hard finance paper with no way to teach yourself other than an outdates textbook.

Wayne

Not to mention the workshops are a complete waste of time because people just find the answers from the recordings.

They don’t even bother to change up the wording they just read out the answers word for word lol

At least be discreet if you’re gonna cheat

Cheater Dan

Why’s that a waste of time for you? No one is making you cheat – its your education you should be worried about, not theirs

Aaron

Clearly that person meant it is a waste of time for students who don’t bother to do the reading and rely on the answers.

Jheez people really need to work on their comprehension skills.

Or they are just looking to troll and spark an argument because they have nothing better to do with their time which speaks volumes

That Guy

but im that guy who says he does no revision and reads all the answers and still gets full marks??

Rach

I’ve had several people in my Ulaw class for the LPC drop out. My friends have had the same thing in their classes.

The teaching is abysmal and there is no support.

Bristol Rioter xoxo

DEFUND THE SRA

Kyle

So many comments in less than an hour….

Always amazes me how much the LPC topic angers and triggers people. Don’t blame them,
It was rubbish when I did it years ago and it seems like nowt has changed

Hot Chip Level Over

A bit depressing to see such disparity across the schools. If the SRA were serious, it would name all parties – good, bad or indifferent. The fact the SQE is coming in to allegedly correct this seems entirely laughable as the same providers will be administering ‘SQE prep courses’ for similar figures.

Can’t wait to finish and have this nonsense behind me. God help those coming after me.

Anon

It was only the LPC. It’s easy. If someone doesn’t pass easily they should take the hint. It is only an exam to weed out the obviously not up to it.

Reece

Gutless swine.

You must feel really low about yourself to spend your day trolling

Pieces

Why take that view? The LPC is a simple process. While tedious, those with the talent to make it in the profession have no difficulty in passing.

Liam

“Because I can cope and I am okay and I am not struggling and my LPC experience has gone smoothly then surely nobody else is going through anything and it is not possible that other people have real issues in their personal lives that impact their academic performance or other people might have experienced technical problems during their exams”

Anonymous

Ain’t no party like your self pity party.

STFU

Stfu

Pieces

Classy. Finding the LPC hard are we? Diddums.

Ed

People like you are so insufferable

Come on guys

No point in releasing this information if you’re not telling us which law schools got what.

Sorry. I’m sure that the SRA has uses for the de-anonymised data but I don’t see how anyone is supposed to find it useful on the outside.

Anonymous

I am someone who thinks the SQE will be terrible and will not accomplish what it is intended to accomplish. However, having a centralised exam where you can compare like for like effectively is a good point of the new regime. These variations among different LPCs are impossible to justify.

AJ

A centralised exam is definitely needed!

John

Surely its more to do the student as well? I have heard Uni of Law is slightly easier because its open book and there are quite a few people that have obtained distinctions.

Bill

Lol.

It’s defo not easier.

You only see the success stories on LinkedIn but you’d be surprised how many people fail.

lol

Blame the student not the course.

A

Closed book exams are better.

With open book they expect you to know EVERYTHING.

Ulaw policy which they emphasise is that “everything is examinable”.

Open book exams are marked more harshly because you don’t have a reason to miss info out or say the law incorrectly when you can access it during an exam.

However, with closed book providers the exams are easier and are marked leniently because it’s closed book. Plus the teaching at closed book providers direct you towards the examinable topics whereas with open book you have to learn everything, there’s no hiding!

I’m at Ulaw but my friends doing closed book Providers have got higher grades than me in every assessment this year.

JDP

Probs because you’re academically challenged.

Open book exams = akin to real life.

Buckle up lad you’re going to have a bumpy career

A

I’m not speaking on behalf of myself, I am talking in regards to statistics.

A higher % of students who took BPP closed book exams got distinctions and generally higher marks than students who took Ulaw Open Book exams.

Mate you sound dodgy af

Mind linking these statistics?

How do you know that BPP marks more leniently? Are you an exam officer for both universities?

Your posts honestly sound like you’re trying to make yourself feel better about ULaw having open book exams. I genuinely don’t know how you’d be able to compare the standards for both unless you had a marked copy of the same paper from each university and compared the marking on it. Even then that would only be representative of one paper, not the entire degree.

Matt

Guys what are your thoughts on the city university LPC?

imtrolling

It’s great for recruiters, so they don’t have to read your full application.

Henry

My honest advice is to go wherever it is easiest to pass and get good grades.

I know a lot of people who chose Ulaw and BPP because of the name and prestige and also due to the fact that most top law firms use both as the provider so they think it will make a difference to their TC and vac scheme application when in reality it doesn’t mean a thing and adds absolutely no prospect to career choice!

Just saying

You do know BPP do open book as well now..so just go where you want lol. If your disciplined, determined and good at self-studying and intelligent you should be good.

I personally prefer Uni of Law cos I find them a bit more relaxed and less stuffy than BPP and had good employability services. They also have much bigger better library and faculty IMO.

At the end of the day, its not a long course and there will always be pros and cons so just bite the bullet and get on with it.

fine

Open or closed books is dependent on your style of learning. I personally found the former a great backup if I forgot a particular term. It was nice to have it as a backup.

Advice

Has anyone ever done the city uni lpc course and could offer their thoughts whether it’s worth doing it there? I understand they are cheaper than other providers.

Easy part-time LPC please

Anyone have any idea which providers have really high pass rates? Preferably part-time ones. Asking for not-a-friend

Ed

Birmingham City University

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