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My SQE2 experience

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By The Careers Team on

BPP student Ifeoluwa Aderibigbe shares her experience and why legal work can be the key to success

“The Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE) have been interesting,” says Ifeoluwa Aderibigbe, current SQE 1&2 LLM student at BPP University Law School. “I’ve never had to do anything like this before, because all of my exams on my law degree were essay-based. So, it’s taken me some time to get used to the multiple-choice question (MCQ) style.” With this interview coming straight off the back of Aderibigbe finishing her SQE2 exams, Legal Cheek Careers is keen to find out more about her experience so far.

“Even though I’ve done work in a legal clinic, I had never engaged with legal drafting and legal research prior to starting SQE2 preparation, so it has come as somewhat of a challenge,” notes Aderibigbe. “But overall, I’ve found the experience really beneficial because it has taught me so many of the skills that I’ve needed for my work at BPP’s Legal Clinic.”  By working for BPP’s Social Impact team, Aderibigbe is building up her Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). This means that by the time she finishes her six-month placement with BPP, she will have completed 25% of her QWE if she decides to qualify via the QWE portfolio route.


However, she still hopes to secure a two-year traditional training contract at a single employer. “My SQE experience has been really fundamental in helping me to build the skills that I use day-to-day working on cases at the clinic, but also to help build those skills that I’ll need when I ultimately become a qualified solicitor,” she explains.

APPLY NOW for next week’s virtual event: SQE courses: everything you need to know — with BPP and speakers from Norton Rose Fulbright and Stephenson Harwood

Talking on why she chose BPP as a provider, she tells us that it’s undeniable that the pass rate influenced her choice. “It’s significantly higher than the national average at BPP, so I wanted to ensure that I was choosing a provider which would give me the best chance of success,” she explains. “And, I have to say that I have no regrets choosing BPP as a provider for the SQE. We’re provided with revision notes and videos which help you to navigate the knowledge that you need to bring over from a law degree,” she says.

“And aside from this, the structure of teaching at BPP is very good,” she continues. “Before each class, we’re all given a ‘prepare task’, and during the session we’re given an ‘apply task’, which really helped me personally to cement my knowledge.”

So, she says, even during SQE1 preparation, students already have an idea of the types of skills they’ll need for SQE2 — given that most of the knowledge tested is ‘applied’ within the classroom. “The tasks that we’re given throughout, whether these are the tasks during each session or the practice exams, all really resonated with the actual formulation of the exams, so in my opinion BPP’s SQE prep course can’t be faulted,” she explains.

Find out more about studying for the SQE at BPP University Law School

After announcing last year that BPP was taking on five ‘qualifying work experience’ trainees to work within its pro bono clinic, Aderibigbe found herself as one of the law school’s first student recruits. We probed her on the kind of work she’s been undertaking. “I had some previous experience in BPP’s Legal Advice Clinic, so I wanted to explore my legal journey with the Social Impact team,” she explains. “But since I’ve started, I advise on civil litigation matters which really relate to what I’ll be doing in practice. I meet with clients and conduct client interviews with a solicitor supervisor, and afterwards I send letters of advice out to each client on their case,” she says. “So, it helps me both to revise all of the knowledge I’ve learned throughout my undergraduate degree and the SQE exams, but also to put this knowledge into practice.”

Although she’s still planning on going down the traditional training contract route rather than building her QWE across multiple organisations, this experience is guaranteed to help her stand out from the TC-hunting crowd. “Interviewing clients is something which I’ve always wanted to do. I really enjoy the aspect of seeing a case through from start to finish, and I find it so rewarding to be able build my confidence and experience,” she says. Working with a lot of qualified solicitors, she tells us that it’s also been incredible exposure to legal practice.

APPLY NOW for next week’s virtual event: SQE courses: everything you need to know — with BPP and speakers from Norton Rose Fulbright and Stephenson Harwood

Noting how much this experience helped her in the SQE2 exams, she says:

 “I would advise anyone taking SQE2 to gain work experience before they take the exam. It really helps. When I walked into the client interviewing assessment on the SQE2 exam, it felt so natural because this is something that I do every day at work!”

Aderibigbe will be speaking at Legal Cheek’s event, “SQE courses: everything you need to know”, which is just around the corner, on 6 June. With this in mind, we quiz her on her general advice for SQE students. “The first tip I would give is to make the decision not to self-study. Self-study for the SQE is not going to take you as far as with a provider. There are some things my tutors taught me in class which are not in the materials, yet still became fundamental to my success on the exams,” she explains. “Aside from this, as I mentioned previously, work experience really is key to the SQE2 exams. And, finally, although practice exams are key, try not to focus solely on MCQ prep. Broadening your knowledge so that it’s applicable widely to many types of questions prevents students from the path-dependency that comes with over-reliance on previous practice exam answers.”

On a final note, she urges SQE students to prepare for all eventualities. “The SQE exams can surprise you. Choosing to study in a way which is new or unfamiliar to you may be the key to success. Expect the unexpected”.

Ifeoluwa Aderibigbe will be speaking at ‘SQE courses: everything you need to know — with BPP University Law School’, a virtual student event taking place on Thursday 6 June. Apply now to attend.

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