Mastering SQE1 Preparation – Essential tips to pass first time.

By Freedom Law Clinic | sqe | Published on July 11, 2024

The SQE1 examination is rapidly approaching, and ensuring your revision is well-organised is crucial. Covering every subject in the assessment specification and honing your exam technique are paramount. Feedback from previous exams highlights key issues such as time management, particularly the tendency to spend too long identifying the best possible answer. The SQE is designed to challenge this aspect, often presenting two good answers per question. Identifying the best one requires a level of legal judgement. Therefore, it’s essential to allocate sufficient time to each question while ensuring you can complete the entire paper without lingering too long on any single question.

Understanding the SQE1 Structure

The SQE1 examination comprises 360 multiple-choice questions divided into two sessions: FLK1 and FLK2 (Functioning Legal Knowledge). Each session tests different areas of law, and passing each session separately is necessary to pass the exam as a whole. For more detailed information, refer to the SRA’s guidelines.

Concentration During the Exam

The SQE1 exam is a demanding test of endurance, with each FLK session lasting over five hours. There is a 45-minute break midway through, after completing 90 questions. Maintaining focus throughout this lengthy period can be challenging, especially during the second session when fatigue from the first session sets in. Practising questions under similar timed conditions before the exam can help you prepare and develop strategies to stay focused.

Taking brief breaks during the exam can also aid concentration. For example, looking away from the screen for a couple of minutes every hour can help refocus your mind. While the exam may feel time-pressured, these short breaks can save more time overall by keeping you focused, particularly on challenging questions.

Effective Timing Strategies

Opinions on timing during the exam vary; some candidates feel pressured, while others finish with time to spare. The critical factor is to have a strategy for completing the questions within the time limit. Here are some techniques to help manage your time effectively:

  1. Set Milestones: Before starting the exam, note down on your notepad the points at which you aim to reach specific milestones (e.g., every 30 questions). This can help you stay on track throughout the exam.
  2. Two-Minute Rule: You have approximately two minutes per question. Aim to answer each question within this timeframe. Some questions may take longer, while others may be quicker, so use this as a general guideline rather than a rigid rule.
  3. Triage Difficult Questions: If you encounter a question that you find particularly challenging and cannot answer within a maximum of 4-5 minutes, consider making an educated guess and flagging it for review later. Since all questions are marked equally and there is no negative marking, it may not be worth spending a disproportionate amount of time on a single question. For example, many candidates find tax questions challenging and use this approach.
  4. Review Flagged Questions: Ensure you leave enough time at the end to revisit and review any questions you flagged during the exam.

Final Preparation Tips

As the SQE1 exam day approaches, focus on refining your revision and practising under timed conditions. Here are some final tips to help you prepare:

  • Organise Your Revision: Ensure you have covered every subject in the assessment specification. Use revision schedules and tick off topics as you complete them.
  • Develop Exam Techniques: Practise answering questions under exam conditions to improve your timing and ability to make quick, informed decisions.
  • Take Care of Yourself: Ensure you get adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise in the days leading up to the exam. A clear and focused mind performs better.
  • Use Resources: Utilise all available resources, such as past papers, online forums, and study groups, to reinforce your knowledge and exam strategies.

By following these strategies and tips, you can approach the SQE1 examination with confidence and maximise your chances of success. Good luck!

If you are interested in a comprehensive SQE1 course, please reach out to Freedom Law Clinic.

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