Choosing the right SQE provider can be a difficult process as SQE candidates face a bewildering range of courses offered by established Universities to new SQE providers.
Considering the time and financial commitment required to pass the SQE, the last thing you want is to be unhappy with your provider and their course especially as you are unlikely to be able to switch midstream to another SQE provider once you have signed up.
Here are Revision Killer’s top 12 tips in selecting the right SQE provider for you:
1. Select a provider who has published their SQE pass rates
It has been one year since the launch of the SQE and two cohorts of candidates have sat SQE1. SQE providers will have statistical information on how well their students have done and you should ask them for this information to be able to compare pass rates amongst competing providers.
2. Ask to view their online learning platform
All providers will have an online learning platform which will be the main entry point to their SQE course. Ask to see a demonstration of their platform and try to assess if it will help you with your study and work pattern.
3. Do they have a study centre?
For those students who need somewhere to study, ask if they have a study centre or library that you can use. Many students are unable to study at home due to family issues and being able to go somewhere to study and access resources can help them prepare for the SQE.
4. Review sample learning materials (online and print)
Review their sample learning materials. Are they professionally written by experienced law tutor with practice experience? Do the materials look professionally presented or do they have spelling mistakes and other errors?
5. Ask if they will provide you with hard copies of learning materials and books
This has become a real issue with students. Providing online copies is cheaper for the provider but many students prefer a hard copy of the materials which they can they highlight and mark-up. Hard copies should be available but there may be an additional cost to the advertised course fee.
6. Ask about 1:1 tutor support
At some point you are going to have questions which only a law tutor can answer. Tutors are not available 24/7 and may have set office hours when you can contact them. There may also be a limit on contact hours. Try to find out how often and quickly you can contact a tutor should you need 1:1 support.
7. Ensure they have an extensive MCQ question bank with feedback
The more MCQs you can practice the more confidence you will have on passing SQE1. Ask how many questions they have per subject area. Ideally they should have 200 MCQs minimum per subject and each question should have a short explanation to accompany the answer to aid the candidate's learning process.
8. Ask if they offer any financial support, scholarships, discounts or interest free loans
The SQE is expensive. Course fees, Kaplan assessment fees, printing costs and other SQE textbooks you may want to purchase will mean that the final bill will run into the thousands. Therefore, any financial support or discounts a provider can offer will help you in your budgeting.
9. Ask if you have passed SQE1 with them, will they give you an Alumni discount for a SQE2 course?
It may make more sense to attempt SQE1 on a standalone basis before moving onto SQE2. If so, by continuing with the same provider, ask if they will offer you an Alumni discount.
10. What happens if you fail?
With a pass rate of only 53% for SQE1, failing is a real possibility. Candidates should ask what support is available to a student who fails. Will you continue to have access to the online platform and materials? Will they offer revision support? Is this support free or will you have to pay?
11. Speak to other students on social media who have attended the SQE provider
Social media is brilliant to learn about candidate’s first-hand experience of the SQE and their feedback on a SQE provider. However, beware paid influencers who are posting about the SQE and their institutions. Their posts and/or reels may simply be a paid advertisement to draw in students as opposed to a genuine and honest SQE experience.
12. Research the SQE providers on the SRA website
A full list of SQE providers is available on the SRA website and you should have a look through these as part of your research in selecting a provider.
Sunit Tejura is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Roehampton Law School and leads the Law School’s SQE Foundations Course. Prior to joining Roehampton University he worked at Kaplan for seven years teaching on their Legal Practice Course, Graduate Diploma in Law and writing multiple choice questions for the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (the precursor to the SQE). Sunit is a qualified Solicitor (England and Wales) and Attorney at Law (New York).