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How I found my SQE prep course with The University of Law

updated on 27 February 2024

Reading time: five minutes

This article has been produced in collaboration with The University of Law.

We spoke to Rachel Hii, a future trainee who’s taken and passed the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) having completed a preparation course with The University of Law. Find out how Rachel found the SQE prep, the assessments themselves and Rachel's top tips for you!

What SQE preparation course did you study and how did you find it?

I did the LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&2) with The University of Law, which was an interesting but challenging course. The time we had to prepare for the SQE exams felt tight but it was, in my opinion, ultimately enough time to get us ready for the assessments.

How did it prepare you for the SQE assessments?

The prep course for SQE1 was very well structured. Every week, we were assigned a few chapters to read with accompanying practice questions to help us prepare for the exam. There were also weekly drop-in sessions with the tutors so we could ask any questions we might have about the reading. This saved me the work of breaking down the syllabus for myself, as I could just focus on doing my best to complete all the reading before the end of the week. Everything was contained in the SQE prep books, so it was just about digesting that information thoroughly and quickly.  

When it came to SQE2, it was much more about practising the skills and it was down to us to be proactive in keeping up with the knowledge. Some tutors were generous enough to offer their office hours so we could practise with them, which allowed me to gain personal feedback on my work – an essential element to the course that helped me improve.

Overall, the prep course sufficiently prepared me for the assessments, but proactivity and hard work was key to ensuring that I’d pass.

How did you choose which SQE preparation course to do?

I have a training contract with a law firm so my prep course provider was chosen for me.

How did you find SQE1?

In my opinion, SQE1 was the hardest part. The content was quite straightforward; the challenge is needing to consume such a large amount of content within such a short period of time. Although the exam is seemingly multiple choice, it was actually single best answer questions. This means that there may be more than one right answer, but one answer may be more suitable than the other depending on the question’s context. As such, it was important to have a very thorough understanding of the content because the reasoning behind the answers could get quite pedantic.

How did you find SQE2?

In my opinion, the SQE2 was a little easier to get through than the SQE1. The difficulty with SQE2 was that there’d be only one question for each skill and area of law, so you just had to know the answer when it came up. Whereas, if you got a question wrong during the SQE1 assessment, you could still rely on the next one.

Personally, SQE2 was also easier to handle because for certain skills, such as advocacy, there was a more limited number of things that they’d test you on. There was also an assessment criteria, so you could create a good structure for certain skills.

What would your advice be for students due to complete SQE1 or SQE2?

For SQE1, I’d advise students to get their hands on any practice questions and practise over and over again, even if they’ve already completed it before. It’s just as important to know why some answers are wrong, as it is to know why some are right.

For SQE2, the best advice is to practise, practise and practise again. I’d advise students to practise the skills with their tutors first for quality feedback, and then with fellow students for repetition and correcting flaws. Consuming the content isn’t enough, they must practise how they’re going to filter through and apply that information on their feet.

Is there anything you wish you’d known about either assessment that you now know that you’d like to pass down to future SQE students?

I wish I’d known that everyone else taking the exam was just as nervous as I was. While doing the SQE, I found some ‘study buddies’ online. Some of them were qualified lawyers in other jurisdictions, yet they were just as anxious about the exam as I was. I wish I’d known that I’m not at a disadvantage being a fresh grad. As long as I did the preparation, I’d do just fine in the exam.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you had the chance to prepare/take the assessments again?

I think I’d take more opportunities to study with others. Having ‘study buddies’ who take the exam just as seriously as you do can allow you to spot and strengthen each other’s weaknesses if you’re open to showing them. I struggle with perfectionism so looking unsure in front of others wasn’t easy. However, my study buddies guided me through it and helped me improve and eventually pass!

Had you done any qualifying work experience to help you with the SQE2 assessment?


Are there any myths you’d like to bust about the SQE in general?

I heard from some people early on that the SQE is an easier version of the Legal Practice Course. In my experience, I’d say that’s not the case at all. Both exams should be taken very seriously and have your full attention as they’re both rigorous exams. If anything, given the shorter time constraints in the exams and the time given in the prep course to consume the content, the SQE might be slightly harder in my opinion (don’t shoot me!).

Rachel Hii completed The University of Law’s LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&2) and is a future trainee solicitor.