‘How did everyone find the SQE?’  

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By Legal Cheek on

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One solicitor hopeful says they feel ‘pretty deflated’


In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, an aspiring solicitor is concerned they may not have passed the SQE.

“Hi Legal Cheek. Please keep this anon. I recently sat SQE1 and I am seeking a bit of reassurance more than anything. It was much tougher than I expected, which seems to be a common theme on some of the message boards I have read! I felt like I was guessing the answers to half of the questions and I am feeling pretty deflated tbh. I’d like to know how other people who recently sat SQE1 felt it went? For context, I studied law at undergrad and completed a prep course. Thanks.”

Looking for guidance on all things SQE? Check out Legal Cheek’s SQE Hub.

67 Comments

Anonymous

It was horrible.

Anon

It was a ridiculous exam. Ulaw and BPP did not grasp the difficulty of the questions and thus many were ill prepared to take sqe1. The sheer volume of content is absurd especially when there were many questions on incredibly niche points. Goodbye training contract!

C

I think that’s some city firms are giving future sponsored trainees to resit again given the unknown of this new type of exam

Anon1

Even the study courses for the SQE exams are appalling. The university I am attending cannot even get example SQE question spelling and general wording correct. I don’t think we stand a chance at passing already. Beginning to regret venturing into law

Concerned Third Year

ULaw?

Anon

I don’t work in a law school but I’ve been close to the development of SQE throughout. The law schools are reliant on Kaplan/the SRA sharing enough information about what will be examined and how, to teach the likely content well. It’s more complex than them not being able to ‘grasp’ the difficulty.

Since the SRA’s position is that one does not need a prep course, this dialogue is fraught with difficulty. If we have to accept that the questions are so hard that not only does a prep course not adequately prepare you then maybe we have to accept that people who haven’t taken one, stand very little chance. And then the whole argument for changing the system starts to look a bit wobbly. Because it was about opening up the profession, wasn’t it? Less expensive because look, only exam fees to pay. If we have to accept that people need prep courses then the new system is more expensive and therefore less accessible than the old one. And the SRA says adding more capacity to the assessment system (another major issue) will add to the cost per head.

The issues around capacity, understanding of the content etc all need more discussion and flexibility from the SRA/Kaplan. The SRA’s position so far seems to have been that these are teething problems and they’re learning as they go but human beings are being affected in a pretty serious way. They need to listen more, get better and quickly.

Archibald O'Pomposity

Sorry, what was your role exactly? I am reminded of the phrase that on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

Anon

I’m now retired but ex L&D/legal learning. But thanks for sharing your assumptions.

Belgian+E&W Qualified

As a Belgian (and now also E&W) qualified lawyer (5PQE) who took SQE1 last July and passed (first quintile) after 4 months of self-study, I’d like to add a few thoughts:

1. There seems to be a mismatch between the SQE1 format and the UK legal tradition as well as the way UK students were trained. Clearly, a lot of the distress about the SQE comes from many candidates feeling uncomfortable with MCQs and memorising vast amounts of study material. Reasons why I did well on SQE1 include the fact that I’m used to MCQs (in the first year of law school, I *only* had MCQ exams) and the fact that typically the question at the SQE asks for the “legal position”. Law schools in civil law jurisdictions focus more on memorisation than law schools in the UK. We were trained to process thousands of pages that were being fed to us, so we would memorise what the “legal position” is, whereas training in the UK seems to focus more on teaching students how to find/reason a way to the legal position (e.g., by analysing case law and writing papers about it). Picking the correct legal position in a MCQ exam is a lot easier to do if you were trained to memorise. MCQs reward “knowing” the right answer, not necessarily “finding/reasoning a way” to the right answer. Ironically, it feels the SQE1 is more suited for (EU) civil law than for common law lawyers.

2. I totally agree the SQE is difficult, stressful, and mentally and physically draining. But hey, guess what, so is life as a solicitor! I therefore don’t agree that such exams should be adapted to make it the most enjoyable experience for the largest number of candidates possible. That’s simply just not how life works, unfortunately, and not how the legal sector works, either.

3. I don’t get this fascination with prep schools. It seems lots of candidates stress out about the quantity of study material and the MCQ format (see my first point above) and feel they need a prep school to help them deal with that. I bought the Revise SQE books (they’re excellent) and did 4 months of self-study. Getting E&W admitted cost me about £2,000, which is indeed doable, in case you can do without a prep school.

So concluding, I would recommend the SRA/Kaplan to think of a way to better align the exam format with the UK legal tradition, the way UK students were trained, and the way they are used to being tested. It will allow candidates to prepare by themselves, without expensive prep school, which will in turn allow he SRA to deliver on its promise to lower costs and open up the profession.

Ladder climbing

And if everyone had the legal training of an overseas qualified lawyer, brought up on a diet of MCQs, maybe there would be a lesser need for prep courses…

For everyone else not in that position (so the vast majority) there are… the prep courses which represent an improvement to their chances of passing the exams than without. Maybe you don’t get the fascination because you didn’t need it?

Jane

Yes, I agree. I did the course before SQE and before the LPC i.e. the Finals course in the early 1980s in the UK. That was closed book (as indeed was the LPC until the pandemic) as was my three year LLB before that and I had to learn lots and lots from memory. Even now I know a lot of law which my post pandemic open book LPC children who are now qualified do not have memorised.

In comfort to any SQE1 students this time around the last SQE results study found that if you have a first at university you will do best at SQE1, if a 2/1 next best, if a 2/2 next best so it is very very likely that those sitting SQE21 who have high school and university exam results wll be in the 50% who pass. The LPC has 5% of those sitting passing too as did the Finals course I did.

I do not however support the MCQ approach. In real life as a lawyer you write your argued answers – you don’t choose one solution. MCQ were brought in to help those with poor English (and to make marking cheaper) and it is not worked – those with poor English do even worse in SQE than the LPC so they should revert to the LPC.

Archibald O'Pomposity

Your conclusion rests on the unstated assumption that the “UK legal tradition” is the sole basis upon which the exam ought to be aligned. Why do you think that is the case? The SRA presumably had their reasons for not pursuing an open-answer case-study approach.

And I’m not sure I’d agree that the questions in the SQE can be prepared for by rote memorisation. Many of the questions require evaluation of a scenario and selection of the “single best answer” from a range of technically valid alternatives – which is a much tougher challenge than simply selecting the correct factual answer.

“I totally agree the SQE is difficult, stressful, and mentally and physically draining. But hey, guess what, so is life as a solicitor! I therefore don’t agree that such exams should be adapted to make it the most enjoyable experience for the largest number of candidates possible. That’s simply just not how life works, unfortunately, and not how the legal sector works, either.”

This. One thousand times over. I’ve said this a number of times on these pages but many people just won’t listen.

(Mostly) Civil Tradition

The UK legal tradition? You mean the one where Scots hated the English therefore learned Civil Law from the Dutch? Sure, we’re more blended these days (for same reasons as South Africa – it’s amazing how interchangable some principals are) but it’s hardly UK.

But still… we look at England with their “we do this because that’s what we’ve done before” approach and scream until we’re as blue in the face as Mel Gibson’s Wallace “but why?!?”

Commercial focus

Because it works. England & Wales is a preferred jurisdiction, and English law the preferred governing law, for an overwhelmingly high proportion of commercial transactions globally, because it works. See https://www.thecityuk.com/our-work/legal-excellence-internationally-renowned-uk-legal-services-2022/

Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

Legallybrunnete

Where can we find the Revise SQE books ?

Thank you (self studying ) 😌

Reluctant ULaw defender

As much as I like to complain about ULaw, this is clearly not their fault. There is very little public information about the standard and type of questions, and past papers aren’t released to cross-check difficulty.

It’s hard to see what else they could have done to prep us. That said, it was still bloody difficult

Bishing fishing

Would you have been better not doing the prep course then? Seems like you’re saying those courses were a waste of time?

Is there a better course you could have done?

Optimistic SQE Student

Fearmongering, both by firms and the collective student panic, has created a neverending state of anxiety – nobody knows how they performed; it is a constant unknown in which we await a day that will judge whether we achieve what we have been working for or fall back to square 1. Sponsored students are being led on by a thread as firms give ambiguous and pitiful reassurances with D-Day looming, even setting up contingencies if students fail to give them the flexibility to take away our Training Contracts. With an already uncertain examination process, the lack of support and information is disheartening.

Both the SRA and firms need to treat these exams with a little more humanity.

Jane

I am also very very unhappy about all kinds of issues from Kaplan – like people turning up at 8am and not sitting until afternoon, masses of mess ups over basic exam things. The proposal to allow a more decent system of booking by email for the next sitting rather than having people stay on phone lines for 5 hours on the day booking opens is one tiny change of very many they could make.

r

I get the SQE benefits those who are paralegals and those that are foreign qualified but this whole SQE replacing the LPC because it’s allegedly it’s good for diversity is a big mess

KB

But statistically it has been horrific for diversity. It’s about £££ and efficiency and profit for the providers. That’s all. It’s a terrible way to test trainees – utterly useless at finding good lawyers. AI can pass with top marks, because it’s an exam for a robot. I’d like to see AI managing to handle a complex, emotionally charged legal matter with sensitivity.

Scarfit

AI only managed to pass the SQE1 sample questions which are a piece of cake compared to the real exam. Also, you’re forgetting about the SQE2 which tests the soft skills that AI could not master.

V

Do ppl who are sponsored who have TCs genuinely feel scared?

Anonymous

Yes

RJ

As a previous SQE student who has now passed, I would highly recommend studying through QLTS. The SQE1 exams in particular were based off of the old QLTS scheme and, in my opinion, the mock exams/practice questions absolutely nailed the representation of the difficulty of the actual SQE1 exams.

In addition, my understanding is that QLTS has the most mock questions/exams/practice questions available out of all the providers.

WS

Hi RJ, would you recommend studying with QLTS for the SQE2 exams?

Jim

Would be great if QLTS offered a separate package of just the 30+ mock papers for a few hundred quid. I don’t want to pay for the full course when I’ve already studied under BARBRI.

Anon100

Everybody is looking for their mock tests so I doubt they would offer them so cheaply.

Archibald O'Pomposity

The country is full of mediocre solicitors and many of the comments below are from those who are not fit to make the cut. Others, who cope competently with a tough qualifying exam, will go on to become competent solicitors. You can bet that they are not below the line whining, as we have here, about how “ridiculous” or “horrible” the exam was. Or, worse still, hyperbolic and sophomoric moaning about the clear read-across from the exam to normal practice: “the sheer volume of content is absurd”, “there were many questions on incredibly niche points”, and so on.

I have maintained in the past, and continue to maintain, that this is the correct hurdle for ridding the world of weak practitioners. While I agree that communication and preparation materials for the SQE need to be adequate, I cannot disagree more with those who whimper about the intellectual challenge of the exam.

Former LPC tutor

“Others, who cope competently with a tough qualifying exam, will go on to become competent solicitors. You can bet that they are not below the line whining, as we have here…”

And yet here you are, below the line, whining about other people.

Former LPC tutor

“Others, who cope competently with a tough qualifying exam, will go on to become competent solicitors. You can bet that they are not below the line whining..” and yet here you are, whining about other people’s posts.

SQE is new, and will take time to become a proven reputable qualification for solicitors, just as LPC did, and LSF before that. There are valid criticisms that can currently be made against the SQE and the prep courses, and they’ll take a few years to bed down. In the meantime, SQE students have my sympathy. It’s great that there’s a forum for them to share their thoughts. Let them share, while you go back to your no doubt brilliantly competent work above the line.

Archibald O'Pomposity

Look at you, so eager that you hit Comment before you’d finished writing! At no point did I suggest that there was anything wrong in these flunkers sharing thoughts. The issue is with people whining about the unfairness of the exam purely because it was intellectually challenging. I put it to you that these people are precisely the calibre of candidate whom the exam is intended to weed out.

Former LPC Tutor

People are not complaining that the exam is unfair because it’s “intellectually challenging”. The complaints relate to far more fundamental issues about how SQE is structured and framed than how intellectual it is or isn’t. Being a practice- and procedure-based qualification, it isn’t an intellectual test anyway, and was never intended to be.

The SQE was likewise never intended to “weed out” poorer candidates. That was never the SRA’s purpose. Such candidates tended to weed themselves out under the LPC by failing to get a training contract, and never therefore became a concern to the SRA.

The purpose behind the SQE was to increase access to the profession by removing the requirement to attend and pay for a course before qualifying, and thereby address issues of diversity and inclusion. Given most firms’ insistence that their trainees should attend a preparation course before sitting the SQE, however, the SRA’s purpose appears so far to have been rather undermined. It may be that in fact the SQE ends up limiting access to the profession to those who can get a sponsored training contract in advance, a group who are overwhelmingly white and middle class at the moment. But we’ll see over the next few years how many solicitors qualify without taking a prep course – the proof will be in the pudding .

Archibald O'Pomposity

“It may be that in fact the SQE ends up limiting access to the profession to those who can get a sponsored training contract in advance, a group who are overwhelmingly white and middle class at the moment.”

I hadn’t thought of it this way, and I can see that this is a possible consequence – which I agree is far from ideal.

Jane

Some of the answers are so subtle it is not even clear however which is the right one – MCQ is a ridiculous way to assess potential solicitors.

Archibald O'Pomposity

Of course it’s ridiculous because it’s subtle. The law is always so clear that the “right one” can be identified by any member of the mediocracy. The cheek of these examiners, not making it clear which is the right answer. It almost seems as if they don’t want every student to pass.

anonymous SQE1 sitter

As someone who also sat these exams, I also felt that they went badly. Particularly FLK2 – I have a TC with a top 20 firm and 2 other TC holders I know cried mid paper – all grown adults who have worked INCREDIBLY hard. I’m
talking working 8am -10pm revising for weeks before it every single day. Some of these people were hesitant to even take Christmas Day off.

It feels infuriating to know that you know so much knowledge and be tested on such niche areas continually and have big fields not even touched upon. Having sat the exam now, there is no doubt in my mind that people will fail who have the requisite knowledge.

Respectfully – if you haven’t sat the exam, you cannot understand what it is like. Before I sat the exam, having done a whole prep course, and basically any questions I could find on the Internet, I thought I knew what I was talking about. I did not.

However, we have to remember that when you talk to people who have passed, it seems to be a common theme that everyone thinks that they did badly and failed, even if they actually did well. Ultimately, we have no way of knowing until mid March (in itself, cruel)

Anybody who made it into that exam did well, it is mentally tough. The SRA are asking you to take and pass an exam where they don’t tell you the exact specification, they don’t give you an actual mock paper, all the questions online between providers massively, and they don’t even give you a pass mark. You have your TC and the threat of having to pay back your fees and maintenance loan on the line. Be kind to yourself, if you tried your best that is all anyone can ask.

The real challenge of these prep courses, which nobody seems to be talking about, is that we are now forced to do SQE2 prep without knowing if we have passed. Mentally, it is beyond difficult. it requires you to accept that you could have passed the SQE one, which will make it worse on results day if you haven’t. The structure of the SQE does not seem to work at all logistically.

I really hope that firms take a kinder approach soon. I think a lot of the stress for people I know would be minimised if firms would say the contingency plan for if you fail. Our firm have said nothing.

Archibald O'Pomposity

fwiw you come over as a credible potential pass.

just why?

People who sat the LPC and are defending the SQE are being ridiculous. It is the standard of a day 1 NQ – not a trainee, like the LPC. This is despite most firms still making their cohorts do the full SQE before even starting their TC.

Also – you have to remember that this is a day 1 NQ in ALL areas – so a day 1 NQ practicing in criminal law, a day 1 NQ practicing in wills, a day 1 NQ practicing in litigation. This is what the exam tests. How many NQ’s would be competent in all of these areas? And why would they be? Why are we even testing this? The exam would instantly become a lot better and make so much more sense if you had the ‘Criminal practice SQE’ which you had to take to practise in criminal law and so forth.

hit the nail on the head

agreed – why would a NQ who has just trained for 2 years at a corporate firm need to be competent to practice as a criminal NQ? They just need to be a competent NQ in whatever law they have qualified into. Even if this exam was taken as the SRA intended, the poor NQ would struggle with that. I really feel for NQs who are told they are not fit to qualify because they don’t have the niche knowledge of a solicitor in an area they have never even touched and never intend to. It is illogical.

Don’t agree

I think it is important, considering these examinations qualify you to practise as a “solicitor” (and not as a “solicitor in criminal practice”), that you have a good understanding of all areas. The public would not have great faith in you as a solicitor if you couldn’t answer any legal questions, or draw attention to any legal issues arising, beyond your field.

Would you have trust in a cardiologist who has never been examined in neurology, orthopaedics etc.? I definitely think it’s important that you are competent in all areas, given your practising certificate doesn’t state what field of law you trained and specialised in.

don't agree - your comparison is wrong

Don’t agree – in response to your cardiologist comparison: they do get examined in all the other specialities – in medical school. Their exams after that (after their medical degree) are cardiology-focused only. You don’t doubt their knowledge in everything do you? So actually, the correct comparison would be that we do it all at law school to get our degree, and then exams afterwards at a post-grad level are our speciality focused only. This would be the same as med school. This is not what the SQE does.

Don’t agree

1. The medical degree is the equivalent to the SQE in that those are the final exams that qualify you to practise. An LLB doesn’t make you a solicitor. Therefore the SQE is rightfully holistic.

2. You are wrong. Even after qualification doctors are examined broadly.

Clap trap

With respect, you sound like an LLB student with no actual knowledge of the Code or life in practice.

Solicitors these days specialise. Most practice one two or rarely three areas at most.

You are not supposed to advise on areas outside your expertise. For the protection of clients and consumers. It’s why teams cross refer work. And why you don’t pretend to be competent in all areas. No one can be.

There is no pragmatic purpose to have SQE students show they are NQ competent in so many unconnected areas.

The idea of having ‘a commercial SqE’ or ‘private client SQE’ has merit.. could be the future..

Clap Trap

I suspect the downvoters here are just bystanders who haven’t taken the SQE and don’t intend to..

Anonymous

I feel a law degree should be enough to get the solicitor training underway, and then ‘bag’ specialisms as you go. So much of the day to day work is procedural – and there is so much of it across all the disciplines that it is unfair for it to be examined all at once as it is under the sqe.

Archibald O'Pomposity

Lol. And I wonder how many of these geniuses would casually “bag specialisms” as they plod through their careers, given their presumed inability to study widely for their qualifying exam in the first place.

Anon

Cilex CPQ does just this…

(Hopefully still a) Future Trainee

For many in my cohort, the SQE has been a failure.

Why are we assessed at the level of a newly qualified solicitor when we still need to get two years of qualified work experience under our belts? Those doing the LPC were assessed at the standard of a day-one trainee.

Speaking of which, if one of the ideas behind the SQE was to increase accessibility to the profession, why was the LPC shut down as an avenue for qualification for non-law graduates?

How can a centralised exam expect private prep course providers to know which topics will be included in the next assessment? Yes, a specification is provided, but it does not outline the specific topic areas we need to know. It does not help that past papers are not released. People in my cohort, including myself, saw many questions in the exam which were not part of our study materials. The prep courses, or any materials candidates choose to study with, will always be one step behind the SRA.

The SQE seems to be more about change for change’s sake, than it is about providing a substantial improvement to the experience of individuals seeking to qualify as solicitors.

Archibald O'Pomposity

LIFE, not least legal practice, is all about getting challenges that aren’t telegraphed to you in advance. It is not the SQE that is the failure, it is the cohort.

Disgruntled Future Trainee

It was ridiculous. The exam attempted to trick us, not test our knowledge. Poorly written questions with irrelevant or misleading answers, we all left extremely disheartened as it was the hardest we had ever worked and yet left it feeling the worst we could.

The SQE exams are nothing like the LPC but treated exactly like it by firms ! The SRA themselves have said this is more like the NY Bar, yet it is very common to fail the bar multiple times – something that isn’t accepted by firms as openly here.

Getting a bit sick of this exam being paraded as a route to increase access when all it is doing is reducing it. The SRA conveniently gets more money through this route: it makes the very people it was apparently intended for, pay out of pocket to sit the exams, which wouldn’t have happened with the LPC as it was all under the loan. The pass rates conveniently change every year and no past papers are released and yet we have to sit ethics questions.. see the irony?

anon

absolutely! I felt cheated! It supposed to test the knowledge without having to look up the rules! Some of the questions on both days were impossible to know without having to check the rules unless you have been practising in this particular field for some time. Also the time constrains do not allow to fully read the question yet provide accurate analysis! I wonder if Kaplan tests this when they prep the questions?!

Current Trainee preparing for SQE2

Empathise with all the comments on here – I took SQE1 last July and it felt like an absolute bloodbath. Came straight out of FLK2 and went to the nearest pub to order a double scotch (it was 4pm on a Monday) as I was convinced my career as a lawyer was either in the toilet, or at best on hold for a few years.

I was so sure that I’d failed. I spent the whole of August scheduling my autumn with a view to re-sit in January. I even managed expectations at work, informing both HR and my training supervisor that I had almost definitely failed. I actually wasn’t even nervous come results day in August – so convinced was I that I had failed that I had just accepted it as reality, getting the results was a formality.

Turns out I had passed, and relatively comfortably too.

I can’t stress enough – those papers went worse than any past paper I had done. For the afternoon session of FLK2 there may as well have been a monkey at the keyboard bashing out the answers so lost was I on more than half of the questions.

And yet I passed. My point is to anyone who’s feeling despair is to not give up hope just yet. Everyone (and I mean everyone) will have found it extremely difficult, so there has to be some kind of mark moderation in place. The marks can’t just be the raw percentages you recieve from the mocks . It is the only explanation for how me and many of my peers who were so convinced we’d failed, passed – and comfortably.

In any case, as many have pointed out – these exams are exceedingly tough. Just getting through them in one piece in itself is enough.

Keep the faith – you’ve all got this.

Scarfit

Totally agree re the mark moderation for SQE1. I got 80% in flk1 and there is NO way I got 80% of the answers correct.

Social welfare paralegal

I came out of both SQE1 exams feeling like I hadn’t passed either (genuinely). Ended up top quintile in both. Stay positive!

Anonymous onlooker

As an experienced secondary school teacher and parent of a student on this course, I watched the chaos of these exams unfold in disbelief. I cannot comment on their content but I became very aware of the shockingly poor organisation.
It began with paralegals and SQE students having to take a day off work and classes in order to book their exam places; the process took from 10am until almost 7pm in my family’s case and caused much unnecessary stress. Then the exam centre places were allocated randomly and did not take into account where students were living and this created a lack of a level playing field: some left the comfort of home and family support an hour or two before the exam, others had to travel the day before and stay alone in an hotel room in a place unknown to them: a situation which would not help anxiety and well-being. Surely, the organisers knew how many students would need to sit the exams in each location and should have assigned exam centres accordingly?
The exams were poorly invigilated: invigilators chatted through the first day and forgot to announce the start of the afternoon session on the second day. Offences which could lead to disciplinary action in school exam centres! The two exam centres which my offspring used seemed to interpret the exam room rules differently. Why?
Finally, every teacher knows that multiple choice tests favour the middle-of-the-road students: brighter candidates are apt overthink multiple choice questions and can see nuances which do not fit blunt answers and so suffer. Open questions would separate future stars from the rest and test legal knowledge and reasoning better.
Finally, I would hazard a guess that whoever organised these exams clearly has not taken an exam for a long time and appears to have no interest in safe-guarding the students’ well-being. A shoddy service!

Archibald O'Pomposity

“others had to travel the day before and stay alone in an hotel room in a place unknown to them”

THE PERFECT PREPARATION FOR COURT.

Kaplan enjoyer

I have just sat SQE 2 and hold a TC which is for now in tact. I passed SQE1 with quite a decent buffer above the pass percentages in each exam.

If it has the slightest chance of making anyone feel better. I and many others going to great firms were almost certain we had failed our sittings. We didn’t and we are still going on.

You really cannot predict your results and you would have focused on what you got wrong or didn’t know, rather than what you got right. I made plenty of silly mistakes that were likely a lot more shameful than the ones you got wrong.

It’s over, it’s hard to get it out of your head, but don’t make assumptions. There is no way of working out whether you passed before results day.

Looking for training contract

What about if I do the LPC instead of SQE ? then look for a training contract, at least I will be exempted from Sqe 1.

Former LPC tutor

The LPC remains an excellent option for those who are eligible. If you’re currently in your 3rd year of a law degree, ie you started in Autumn 2021, you’re still eligible for the LPC.

It’ll put you in a better position employment-wise, if you haven’t got a TC in place, as lots of entry-level paralegal jobs ask for LPC rather than simply a law degree. Paralegalling for a year or so would give you good legal work experience, which shows commitment to a legal career and would enhance your chances of getting a TC. (Indeed, a partner at a City firm I know told me recently that they don’t know why the firm doesn’t recruit entirely from paralegals, as they’re “proven”. They know what the job is and are far more useful (and aren’t living out an imagined fantasy of Suits, only to leave disillusioned after 2 years’ qualification). See interview with Sarah Pooley of ULaw elsewhere on this website for similar comments about the paralegal-to-TC trend).
And, you won’t then be limited to applying to firms that sponsor – there are lots of TCs out there at very good firms that don’t sponsor, and that won’t make you wait two years.

Of course it means borrowing the fees from SFE and living on fresh air for a year. But the LPC is a good course for preparing you for legal work; it’s not just geared towards the exams at the end, as SQE prep courses are.

So, yes, go for it if you can.

Anon1

Can you still do the LPC if you graduated with an LLB in 2021? As in, started the undergrad in 2018 and graduated in 2021? I for one have no aspirations to sit this horrible SQE exam and would much rather proceed with the traditional LPC route.

I work in-house and my company are willing to sponsor my further legal education to help me qualify, which I aim to start in 2025. I am hoping I can still sit the LPC..

Law Society Scholarship Student

Agree 100% that several questions were on incredibly niche points and so cannot be said to be a test of general principles which the SQE is said only to test given the huge amount of content which itself is too much. Long time to wait for results also unacceptable when there is no actual human marking of papers needed but the raw result is known beofre we have even left the test centre. Also not helpful that there is not preset general mark pass which should never be above 51% – the civil standard of proof! Which should be have to prove our competence beyond this when the SRA is a civil regulatory body!

Too much one way maybe?

So you’re suggesting you can pass if you get half of all your law wrong?

Just a thought

I do rather think we might have all forgotten something here, law is difficult. The exams are difficult because practicing law is difficult. I sat SQE 1 in July and passed. It was a hard exam and you need to know a lot. But compared to other countries where you are negatively marked for incorrect answers it was not as bad as it could have been

Clap trap

Negative marking? Don’t give the exam writers any ideas please – it’s already enough of a challenge as it stands… unless you want to reduce the pass rate to 1%…?

Archibald O'Pomposity

But failing students who don’t perform well is bad for their mental health. This “law is difficult” excuse doesn’t justify tough qualifying exams. A fairer system would be where most students pass.

Hopeful Law Student

It is said that one objective of SQE was to increase diversity in the profession. Probably best not to read the pass % breakdown by ethnicity on the SRA website, then…

Black 34% pass rate
Asian 49% pass rate
White 66% pass rate

That’s extremely damning and not something I’ve seen reported anywhere else. I’ve also not seen equivalent stats so openly reported for A-levels or GCSEs. The reasons are likely complex.

It’s the same by gender:
Men 61% pass rate
Women 53% pass rate

I can tell you that the men on my SQE prep courses are usually outclassed intellectually by the women. That the opposite is reflected in the results could be down to a (stereotypical) female tendency of overthinking answers, as shown in analysis of other exams, which means men tend to trust their judgement more. Again, whatever the reasons for it, these stats are also damning.

So the exams favour white men. In the context of an exam designed to increase diversity, the irony could not be more cruel.

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