Multiple-choice questions will ensure that SQE is rigorous, says Kaplan academic

updated on 05 October 2018

The presence of multiple-choice questions (MCQ) in the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) will make the assessment more rigorous than critics think, according to the person in charge of designing the SQE framework.

Those critical of MCQs argue that the format lacks intellectual rigour because it tests memory more than knowledge. But as Legal Futures reports, Dr Eileen Fry, senior academic at Kaplan (the organisation appointed to oversee SQE) has said that the assessment will be “better than people think” if the questions are drafted well.

Fry has previously headed Kaplan’s oversight of the Qualifying Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which is widely regarded as a rigorous process and also makes use of MCQs. LawCareers.Net understands that Kaplan is initially drawing from its bank of QLTS questions as it plans the MCQs that will feature in SQE.

Speaking at a roundtable session on the SQE, Fry argued for the benefits of MCQ-based assessments: “Advantages are that you can assess application of fundamental legal principles in realistic situations… you can assess a large number of topics, reducing the likelihood that candidates will pass or fail by luck… [and they are] less open to allegations of subjectivity, bias and discrimination.”

Read this guide to learn more about the SQE