The new centralized system of assessment that every aspiring solicitor must pass, the SQE, comprises two parts: SQE1 and SQE2. The SQE1 which is the first part is an assessment of a candidate’s functioning legal knowledge (FLK) and is further divided into two parts: FLK1 and FLK2. The SQE2 is an assessment which will take a participant five days to complete and assesses six practical skills (including ethics and professional conduct).
Both parts are assessments and not a course of study, as such aspiring solicitors can choose to undertake them without any recourse to preparatory courses. The SRA’s official position is that candidates’ education and training should give them the knowledge and skills to pass both parts of the assessments. So if this is the official position why has Congrapps undertaken to write an article on this subject?
Organisations Providing Preparatory Courses for the SQE
Though the official position of the SRA is that there’s no need for preparatory courses it does, however, accept that there will be candidates who will prefer to have taken part in a preparatory course before embarking on the SQE. Our position is backed by the fact that the SRA has published a list of organisations that will offer one form of SQE educational resource/course or the other. The non-exhaustive list:
- Advance@ Preptackle
- Al Meezan Law Firm
- Arden University
- Barking & Brighton Law Firm
- Bath Spa University
- Blakewells Solicitors
- Bloomsbury Professional
- BPP University Law School
- Brightlink Learning
- BRILLIANCE SOLICITORS
- British Institute of Technology
- British Law Academy
- Chancery Lane Institute for Professionals
- Chinese-English Legal Education Limited
- City Career Series
- City, University of London
- Claire de Than
- College of Legal Practice
- Coventry University
- Data Law Limited
- DC LEGAL SERVICES LTD
- De Montfort University
- Dundee University
- E-Preparation UK
- Ewelina anna
- Excel Legal Education Limited / TA Master Law Tutors
- Flex Legal Limited
- Freedom Law Clinic Community Interest Company
- Fresh Professional Development
- Goldsmiths, University of London
- Helena Demetriou
- Hertfordshire Law School
- Kinch Robinson
- Law Answered
- Law Pundits
- Law Training Centre
- Lawyers On Demand Limited
- Legal Advice Centre, University of East London
- Legal Study Skills
- Leopinion Pte ltd (OSCEsmart)
- London Centre for Advanced Training & Education
- London Centre for Advanced Training & Education Ltd
- London College of Business and Law
- London Law Tutor Ltd
- London Metropolitan University
- Marie-Jo Djedje
- MBL (Seminars) Limited
- Metexam Ltd
- New Heights Training
- Nexter Law
- Northumbria University
- Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University
- Oxford University Press
- QLTS Geek (Cerebral Ventures, LLC)
- QLTS Private Tutor
- QLTS School
- Queen Mary Law School Lahore
- R & A Solicitors Ltd
- Rijo Legal
- RocketFin Consulting Ltd
- RT Coopers Solicitors
- Solent Law School
- Staffordshire University
- The Holborn Tutoring Company Limited
- The Law Office of Adekunle Osibogun Ltd
- The Law Simplified
- The Law Tutors
- The Open University
- Tuckers Solicitors
- UK Law School Limited
- University of Bolton
- University of Central Lancashire
- University of Chichester
- University of Kent – Kent Law School
- University of Law
- University of South Wales
- University of West of England
- University of Westminster
- University of Wolverhampton
- University of Worcester
- Zenab Chouhdry
- Zhong Lun Law Firm Ltd
The SRA offers the disclaimer that it does not in any way accredit or endorse the above-mentioned training providers or organisations. The list is just a compilation of organisations that have asked the SRA to be on the list. Further, the SRA states that it is also not involved in approving, endorsing or overseeing the training courses or materials, or their quality.
The list is intended to help potential SQE candidates to find training. While a very good place to find preparatory course providers, candidates are called to make their enquiries to satisfy themselves as to the quality and suitability of training, and the products and services that organisations on the list offer.
Factors to consider when choosing a course provider
To contribute to making sure that candidates choose the best course providers possible the SRA also released guidelines that candidates should consider. The first and most important is that the course provider’s preparatory course must cover all of the topics that you will be tested on in the SQE1 and/or SQE2 assessments. When choosing, it also makes sense to choose a provider that will offer a course that suits your circumstances (e.g. work and family commitments), learning and career goals (are there particular areas of law that you would like to specialize in, does the course incorporate your preferred learning style and the structure of the course.
You should also consider the flexibility of the course. Is there the possibility of doing it full-time or part-time? Can you complete the course via self-study? Must there be physical contact or can it be done online? Does the course use more lectures, workshops, group work or written assignments? Does the course simulate or replicate real legal practice environments and reflect the tasks that practising solicitors need to complete? Will there be any difference in approach when offering courses for SQE1 and SQE2? If you have a disability or the like, also consider if the course provider will support you. What are the payment plans available to you?
One of the best ways to arrive at a good decision is to look at the SQE1 and SQE2 pass rates of the provider if available. If you can also get in contact with people that have done a course with the provider (or their reviews) you will be better informed before you make your decision. If you are considering a university provider what is their ranking on the list of universities in the UK as provided by reputable organisations. The lists published by Times Higher Education, The Guardian and the Complete University Guide are good places to start.
Different Methods of Approaching SQE Preparatory Courses
The first approach is to consider taking your SQE preparatory course as part of your LLB. Some universities say that they can help candidates prepare for the SQE assessments in their undergraduate law degree (LLB) programme. For example, the University of Buckingham has stated that they are offering a two-year LLB programme that helps their students to embrace the SQE qualification pathway by connecting the academic law and the practice reality of the legal profession.
The second approach is to take standalone preparatory courses specifically for either the SQE1 or SQE2 assessments. This approach might hold more appeal to those who have done a standard (non-SQE) law degree, a non-law degree or other equivalent qualification.
Costs of SQE Preparatory Courses
The costs involved in obtaining a preparatory course will depend on a host of factors: is the course part of a degree, is the course for one part of the SQE or will it take care of the two parts of the SQE. So far the cheapest price Congrapps has found is £1,800 being offered by The College of Legal Practice. This offer is just for the SQE1. At QLTS School, a candidate can get an SQE1 preparatory course from £1,690-£2,690. The basic SQE1 package – the cheapest –at this institution only offers participants with textbooks, revision materials, multiple-choice questions and 10 mock tests for the FLK assessments (five on each of the FLK1 & FLK2).
For the SQE2, packages are going for as low as £2,300 – this is the lowest price we have been able to verify. This package is also at The College of Legal Practice.
Choosing whether to take on a preparatory course will depend on various factors: how confident are you about your familiarity with the content you will be tested on in the SQE assessments, can you afford the costs and so on. While we do agree that you are not mandated to take on a preparatory course, it might be a very good option to take if you can afford it. The most recent data available for the pass rate of the SQE1 is that only 53% passed.
Charles is a writer, practising lawyer and personal trainer who loves learning and developing himself. He graduated from Middlesex University, London with eight first-class grades in the second and third years of his law degree, and received a postgraduate offer from Cambridge University. He loves strength training, boxing and encouraging people to succeed in their pursuits (legal ones)
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