SQE1 Tips

If you are planning on sitting the SQE1 this January, you might be wondering what to focus on in the next few weeks and during the exam itself. Just by way of disclaimer, I did not sit the SQE1, however, I did sit and pass the QLTS MCT on my first attempt. The QLTS MCT is basically the predecessor of the SQE1 and was a multiple choice exam covering a wide range of English law subjects which was required to qualify as a solicitor if you were already a qualified lawyer. The SQE is the new overarching system to qualify as a solicitor and has replaced the QLTS, as well as the traditional routes to qualifying. 

I found the QLTS MCT incredibly challenging, and the SQE1 is a larger exam than the QLTS MCT. The SQE1 consists of two assessments each of 180 questions spread over two days and tests your knowledge on the following subjects: 

  • Business Law and Practice; Dispute Resolution; Contract; Tort; Legal System of England and Wales; Constitutional and Administrative Law and EU Law and Legal Services (Functioning Legal Knowledge (“FLK”) 1); and
  • Property Practice; Wills and the Administration of Estates; Solicitors Accounts; Land Law; Trusts; Criminal Law and Practice (FLK 2).

You will have to select the best answer out of 5 answer choices. 

A couple of tips in terms of revising for and sitting a large multiple choice exam such as the SQE1: 

1. Practise, practise, practise 

The most important revision technique is to practise questions and mock exams as much as possible. I had a very short time to revise for the QLTS MCT and mostly focused on mock exams during that time. You will pick up a lot of legal knowledge just by practising questions. Many people think they have to know the law perfectly before starting questions – that is a big mistake, you learn the law by doing questions. 

In the run up to the exam, try to do as many mock exams as possible. This will enable you to really get used to the style of examination and on the actual exam day, feel like you are doing just another exam. 

Another thing to note that if you are looking for a prep course, be sure to sign up to a provider that gives you a lot of practise questions and mock exams. 

2. Refer to short outlines 

Be sure to have short summaries of the subject areas that you can easily revise from and refer to. If you have time, make your own. If not, try to invest in outlines from previous students or from prep course providers. You can also download the notes I used for the QLTS MCT here for free: https://www.inhousew.com/resource-library/ 

3. Use common sense 

You will never know all the answers. It is virtually impossible to get a perfect score on the SQE1. However, even when you don’t know the answer, it is sometimes possible to guess the correct answer based on common sense. If you don’t know the legal rule asked for, just consider for a moment what would make sense for the law to be. Then answer the question in accordance with what you think the law ought to be. You might be surprised how many questions you can answer correctly with this technique. 

4. Process of elimination 

Another method is going through a process of elimination. If you don’t know the answer, don’t panic. Just eliminate the answers that you are sure cannot be the right answer. Often you will end up with no more than 2 or 3 remaining options which will make it easier to pick the right one. 

5. Don’t dwell 

If you don’t have a clue to a question, skip it and come back to it. Do not waste precious time dwelling on a question. Just leave it and get back to at the end. Generally, time management is very important. You cannot take too much time for each question, you need to be quick and decisive. When you start practising, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, over time you will get quicker. As you get closer to the exam, you should start timing yourself. Ideally you should be able to finish 10-15 minutes early to go through any questions you weren’t sure of or didn’t answer. 

The SQE1 is a very challenging exam, and it is okay to find it difficult or have doubt. (We have all been there, trust me). I was convinced that I failed the QLTS MCT exam when I sat it, because I felt like there was so much I didn’t know. However, low and behold I scored 83% after revising for 6 weeks and by relying on the above techniques. You don’t have to know it all in order to pass. You just need the right techniques and the approach that works for you. Good luck! 🙂

If you have any questions at all about my experience, feel free to message me or e-mail me at madeleine@inhousew.com 

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