Do first-year exams matter for vacation scheme and training contract applications?

Dear Oracle

My first-year exams don’t count toward my final degree – does this mean that law firms won’t see my first-year results as important?

The Oracle replies

Brace yourself for some sobering news – most law firms care about applicants’ first-year exam results.

This is because there are many more applicants than there are training contract vacancies, so the whole process is highly competitive, meaning that recruiters ask for a complete breakdown of your module results, including those from your first year, in order to be able to decide which applications to reject and which ones to progress to the next stage.

For example, if a recruiter is considering two candidates with equally high 2:1s, but one has much better first-year marks than the other, the candidate with the more consistent track record will win on academics. That isn’t to say that exam results are the only things that matter – work experience, extracurricular achievements and interests, and the overall of quality of your application (how well it is researched and tailored to the individual firm) will all influence the recruiter’s decision. But give yourself the best chance – taking your first-year exams seriously will benefit you in the future.

This blog provides good advice on successfully coping with the exam season.

Meanwhile, Bar students should head to this post on revising for the BPTC centralised exams.

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Recent comments

Anonymous | 24/07/2018 17:23 PM

My first year results where not very good basically average of 2:2 is all hope lost for a legal career?

Anonymous | 25/07/2018 09:19 AM

Hi Anonymous, maybe take a look at our recent Oracle about getting a 2.2: https://www.lawcareers.net/Information/Oracle/16012018-I-got-a-22-after-taking-on-too-many-extra-curricular-activities - and don't forget that you still have time left at university to pull your overall grade up to a 2.1 which is most firms' minimum academic requirements.