Supervisors’ tips to succeed in the SQE

Guide to the SQEAt The College of Legal Practice, all our supervisors are highly experienced legal professionals. From decades in practice across a multitude of disciplines, to years running law programmes and lecturing at top universities, they’re perfectly placed to guide students through every area of law applicable to England and Wales.

Since joining the College, our supervisors have also been specially trained to support law students through their SQE assessments via remote, online support. So, between their decades of experience and this present-day training, our supervisors know exactly what students need to do to study for the assessments, sail through the SQE, and become a fully-qualified solicitor.

With that in mind, we interviewed a selection of our supervisors to glean their biggest tips on preparing for the SQE assessments. Share them with your prospective SQE candidates to help them succeed. Ready for some invaluable insights? Let’s dive in.

Prepare for the SQE long in advance

From the get-go, have the assessment diarised and plan what you need to learn, what you need to revise, mapped out. This way, as the assessment gets closer, you’ll still have some free personal time, rather than it all being studying.
Jane, Head of Curriculum Design and Development.

1. The first key piece of advice, which almost all of our supervisors made a point of highlighting, is the SQE is not a prep course or assessment that you can cram for. There’s such a breadth of material that you need to work systematically from the beginning. By starting early and knuckling down from the get-go, you can still enjoy plenty of rest and give yourself some time off.

2. Next, our supervisors agreed you need to make sure you’re organised. Plan your studies and allocate your time in advance and, if necessary, negotiate with your employers and family to make sure you can dedicate time to the course. This of course links to the point above—the breadth of content will require long periods of your focus.

3. Thirdly, our supervisors recommend that you break down your studies into bite-sized chunks, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the work you’ve got to get through. Even if you’ve completed a law degree at university, you may still find some of the topics and tasks introduced at SQE level complex and unfamiliar. So, try to simplify everything—if you get the basics right, the details will naturally follow.

Trust the learning materials that you’re given. You’ll be doing a really different style of course, so you’re going to have to adapt to a new style of learning.”
Kathryn, Programme Leader

 Ramp up revision as the assessments approach

Manage your time effectively, and revise on evenings/weekends if you work full-time. The SQE is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make the most of it!
Nabeala, Module Leader

4. A big misconception about the SQE is its standard. It’s important to remember that the SQE isn’t like a typical school or university exam, which simply tests whether you’re ready to move on to the next stage of your education. While the SRA sets the standard for the LPC as someone ready for day one of a training contract, the SQE’s level is set at the first day of a qualified solicitor. Therefore, the exam is not easy—you’ll need to prepare for it with the required skills of a real solicitor in mind.

5. When preparing for the SQE assessments, consider how you best retain knowledge. Is it through visual tools, audio, colour-coding, bite-size chunks, or another method? The College will provide materials that meet all these needs, but it’s up to you and your personal supervisor to select which work best for you. Personalising your study helps to make it more enjoyable, and therefore more effective.

6. When revising, prioritise practising multiple-choice questions (MCQs) for at least a month before the exam. Your time is best spent going over MCQs that are in the style of the SQE exam, rather than lots of reading, as this will prepare you for the actual assessment.

Make sure you get pet plenty of rest, time outside, and time off. Don’t work so hard you feel exhausted, as the SQE exam requires energy and stamina.
Naomi, Module Leader

 Lean on your tutors for personal support

Me and my students use our one-to-one time together to identify the subject areas they feel confident in, and the ones in which they’re struggling. Then, we discuss ways in which they can improve in those areas, from looking at additional resources to allocating more time to its revision.
Sajida, Supervisor

7. Your supervisors are here to support you personally, as well as academically. Their mentoring responsibilities include helping you to manage your time and personal commitments, like work or family care, alongside your studies. So, make sure to attend your one-to-one sessions as often as possible to get the best chance of navigating any issues inside and outside of your learning.

8. If you ever feel a little stressed or overwhelmed by the course, it’s important to take a breath and a step back. Try to remind yourself why you’re doing this, the reasons why you’re putting yourself through this difficult process, and the end goal you will achieve upon completion, as it can be easy to lose sight of this.

9. Ultimately, be kind to yourself. The courses are taxing and difficult, so be realistic with your timings, reward yourself for working so hard, and try to feel proud of everything that you achieve. Solicitors are an irreplicable part of our society, and a career that some only dream of. You’ve done incredibly well to make it this far!

With a process as complex as the SQE, the sheer quantity and depth of learning required can sometimes feel overwhelming, and it becomes hard to see the wood from the trees. It’s my job as a supervisor to help them see the light through the trees, and guide students safely towards it.
Sajida, Supervisor

Meet our team of tutors today

academic supervisors

Our supervisors are a crucial part of the College’s prep courses. With students enjoying regular one-to-one access and tailored advice on their progress, they can discover exactly how they should best prepare for the SQE exams—and benefit from far higher pass rates as a result. Meet our academic leadership team, supervisors, and tutors here, many of whom our students will grow very familiar with as they go through the course.

If you would like to share more tips, guidance, and support with your prospective SQE candidates. Download our Secrets to SQE Success Guide now.


Associate News is provided by Legal Futures Associates.
Find out about becoming an Associate


Loading animation