The SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Exam) has replaced the LPC (Legal Practice Course) as the new primary route for becoming a solicitor. The SQE is a two-part assessment (SQE1 and SQE2), that assesses candidates on their knowledge and skills in a range of legal areas. SQE1 is a computer-based multiple-choice test that covers legal knowledge and understanding, while SQE2 is a skills-based assessment that tests candidates on their practical legal skills.
The SQE was introduced with the intention of providing a more flexible and affordable route to qualification as a solicitor as well as to ensure greater uniformity across candidates in meeting standards of competence and professionalism within the legal profession.
Below are a range of texts to point you in the right direction when preparing for SQE exams – each with their own potential strengths and weaknesses.
A strong series to consider is the range of SQE preparation books from the University of Law (who use these books with their own students). They are often sold as a bundle, including topics such as contract, tort, legal systems of England and Wales, constitutional law, EU law, land law, trusts, and criminal law. These texts place an emphasis on clarity and favour a concise approach to the content at hand – essential when dealing with such large quantities of information. Worked examples and practice questions are also included throughout.
Law Express is a Pearson series of legal textbooks covering much of the content within the SQE (although not specifically tailored to the SQE, it should be noted – one potential drawback). These texts have been around for a while (so many cheaper used copies are often available) and have built up a strong reputation. This series includes key information, revision tips, and even access to a companion website with features like sample exam questions, interactive flashcards, and audio explanations.
This relatively new series of books focuses exclusively on SQE-tailored revision. They’re relatively affordable too – many entries in the series are available new for less than £15. The content is examined in some depth (often helpfully broken up into tables, stand-out boxes for super important information, etc), but the real focus here is on course-tailored preparation, which students have suggested is particularly effective within this series.
To finish with, we turn to a slightly different text – a single book by Neeta Halai for Bloomsbury Professional. This book does not focus on exam content itself – instead it focuses on those all-important features of studying which often get unfortunately pushed to the side – sections include tips on how to best prepare for the SQE course, writing in a concise manner suited to legal examinations, and practical elements like writing attendance notes or legal research. If you’re someone looking to ensure you’ve got every base covered, this book may act as a useful supplement to the others.
Once you’ve obtained the necessary books, you’ll need to think about how to retain that information.
The SQE looks set to challenge a new generation of aspiring solicitors in the coming years. It may also feel like uncharted territory for many. With the right resources, study methods, and (of course) a diligent work-rate, however, reaching your goals is certainly achievable.
By Declan Peters
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