A look at some of the key considerations, courtesy of QLTS School
The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the new centralised assessment that is required to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.
The SQE will be introduced in 2021 and delivered by Kaplan, a sole assessment provider, who is not permitted to offer preparation courses for the SQE. The scope of the syllabus that will be assessed by the SQE is very wide and covers English law almost in its entirety. You could spend many hours or even days just trying to understand what and how to learn.
In addition, current law degrees or other conversion courses such as the GDL are not designed to prepare students for the SQE exams as they assess the practical rather than the theoretical aspects of the law.
Moreover, the cost of sitting the SQE exams runs into thousands of pounds, with a limited number of attempts permitted per exam within a six-year period and the full fee for any retake payable to Kaplan.
Therefore, if you are planning to take the SQE exams, you should carefully consider your training options and prepare for the exams with an SQE training provider that has the relevant experience in this field or in a similar exam, such as the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), as well as having a proven track record of successful candidates.
You should also make sure to clearly understand what the training provider will offer you. For example:
• Do you get any textbooks and, if so, how many?
• Are the materials in hard copy format or digital?
• Can you access the courses on your PC, tablet and mobile devices?
• How many questions and mock tests are offered?
• How have the mock tests been compiled?
• Does the training provider offer any videos?
• Is the programme flexible enough so you can start your preparation anytime and study anywhere, from your office, home or on the go?
• Can you see samples of the SQE materials for each element of the SQE exams before you sign up for a course so that you can make an informed decision that the content is of high quality and targeted specifically for the SQE?
• Are the materials appropriate for candidates from different backgrounds such as law graduates and non-law graduates, apprentices, chartered legal executives, paralegals or overseas lawyers?
• Can you communicate with past candidates to ask about their experience with the provider you are considering?
• Is the course fee all-inclusive?
Taking a few days (or more) now to thoroughly research SQE training providers and examine the pros and cons of each will pay off in the long-run by saving you time, money and effort.
QLTS vs. SQE exams
The SQE exams are substantially modelled on the QLTS assessments, the fast-track route for foreign lawyers to qualify as solicitors in England and Wales which will be phased out following the introduction of the SQE in 2021.
Both the SQE and QLTS exams have a very similar structure, format and style. The QLTS is comprised of two parts, a multiple choice test (MCT) and OSCE, that assess the application of legal knowledge and your competency to carry out various skills in several practice areas. The SQE exams are also broken down into two stages: SQE1, the functioning legal knowledge assessments (FLK), which has two multiple choice tests of 180 questions each, and SQE2, the practical legal skills assessments, which tests similar skills and practice as the OSCE does. The MCT must be passed before candidates can attempt the OSCE and, likewise, a SQE candidate must pass SQE1 before taking SQE2. Both QLTS and SQE are delivered by Kaplan.
As such, there is a clear advantage in preparing for the SQE exams with an established QLTS training provider that has a proven track record of successful candidates.
About QLTS School
QLTS School has trained thousands of candidates for the QLTS exams for almost a decade and thus possesses in depth knowledge and experience in preparing candidates from the world’s top law firms for an exam which is very similar to the SQE.
Its SQE preparation courses have been used by thousands of QLTS candidates for almost a decade and, as such, they have been thoroughly tried and tested and further enhanced by the additions and improvements we have made over the last couple of years to cover the entire SQE1 and SQE2 specifications.
With a proven successful offering, there is therefore no need for a trial period in order to check the efficacy of the teaching material and you can thus study the courses with confidence.
The structured study programme offered by QLTS School will ensure that you focus on your studies — not on what to study.
Preparation time and planning
Preparation time and planning for the SQE exams is vital for success.
Based on the recommendations and experience of QLTS School, and factoring in various individual circumstances, on average candidates should study for SQE1 for approximately five to six months for between 15 and 20 hours per week.
For SQE2, a candidate would be most likely to spend between 15 and 20 hours per week studying for about three to four months. Candidates without any legal background should be prepared to spend additional preparation time which could range from between one to three extra months for each stage of the assessments.
SQE preparation courses
QLTS School offers a range of course packages for SQE1 and SQE2 which include textbooks, practice questions, revision notes, digital flashcards, mock exams, video tutorials, legal skills workshops, online resources and extensive tutor support. The course materials are accessible through our online training system which will track the activity of each candidate and provide personal feedback regarding their progress and performance.
QLTS School’s preparation courses for the SQE exams reflect the SQE assessment specification of the SRA 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.
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