How to win at SQE Preparation

By Freedom Law Clinic | uncategorised | Published on April 24, 2024

Many students approach the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) preparation with trepidation, citing its difficulty and the vast amount of material to master. They often feel caught off guard by the questions, which can be lengthy and filled with extraneous details. However, these challenges reflect a fundamental aspect of the SQE that is often overlooked by conventional SQE1 preparation methods.

The SQE is not your typical exam. It’s not about rote memorisation or simply revising vast quantities of legal content.

Instead, it demands a deeper understanding and application of legal principles. Experienced lawyers often excel at SQE-style questions without specific revision. Why? Because they possess a nuanced grasp of our legal system, allowing them to make informed judgments.

Consider this sample question from the SRA:

A man died leaving a will by which he left all his estate to three trustees to hold on trust for the four children of his best friend. The children are to inherit at the age of 18. Two of the children have reached the age of 18 and have received their share of the trust fund. The other two children are still under the age of 18. The trust fund comprises a portfolio of shares. One of the trustees has just died.

Which of the following best describes whether it is necessary for a replacement trustee to be appointed?

A. A replacement trustee must be appointed because some of the beneficiaries are still under the age of 18.

B. A replacement trustee must be appointed because three trustees were originally appointed and there are now only two trustees.

C. There is no requirement to appoint a replacement trustee because the trust came into effect after the man’s death and not during his lifetime.

D. There is no requirement to appoint a replacement trustee because there is no land in the trust investments.

E. There is no requirement to appoint a replacement trustee because there are two surviving trustees.

What do you need to know to answer this question?

You need to know whether there are any rules requiring the appointment of new trustees when one trustee dies. As a lawyer, you would know that in general the law doesn’t mandate something to happen unless it is necessary. Here, if you know what a trust is and that – in general – the law doesn’t like to mandate unnecessary things -then you can rule out A – B. Of the remaining options, E stands out as the most common-sense answer. Why would the nature of a trust investment effect the number of trustees required? Why would the fact that this is a will trust rather than an inter-vivos trust effect the requirements to appoint trustees?

Once you know what a trust is and how it operates, answers C and D just look wrong.

Questions like this test your legal judgment and your understanding of broad concepts more than it tests your knowledge of the black letter law. Revision is no substitute for experience. 

However, this approach isn’t necessarily fair to students eager to qualify quickly. Many are understandably focused on securing training contracts and advancing in their careers. Yet, the SQE presents an opportunity to revolutionize legal education for the better.

Here are some strategies to optimize your SQE preparation:

Forget Your Timelines:

Legal careers are marathons, not sprints. Everyone’s journey is unique. Take time to gain practical experience and discover your specific interests. Develop a qualification timeline that aligns with your story and ambitions.

Embrace Practical Knowledge:

Real-world legal experience is invaluable. It cultivates the judgment needed to excel in SQE questions. Integrating practical experience with SQE preparation from the outset enhances your understanding and confidence.

Don’t Rush to Sit the Exam:

Many students sit the SQE before they’re truly ready, leading to a high failure rate. At FLC, we emphasize close monitoring and progress assessment throughout your preparation. You’ll only sit the exam when fully prepared.

In essence, the SQE requires a shift in mindset. It’s about developing a robust understanding of legal principles rather than memorizing statutes. Practical experience complements theoretical knowledge, making you better equipped to navigate complex legal scenarios.

As you prepare for the SQE, focus on honing your legal judgment. Immerse yourself in practical experiences that enrich your understanding. Remember, qualifying as a solicitor is a significant milestone—take the time to prepare thoroughly and confidently. Your journey towards qualification is unique; embrace it with patience and determination.

At FLC, we’re committed to preparing you not just for an exam, but for a successful legal career. Our integrated approach emphasizes practical experience alongside comprehensive preparation. Together, let’s redefine legal education for the better.

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