Essential Advice for SQE1

You will often be tempted to make unnecessary assumptions. Don’t fall into this trap. You should select the answer based on the information given in the question. Making unnecessary assumptions out of context will almost always result in selecting the wrong answer.

You should make necessary assumptions as some obvious information may not be given. For example, unless specified otherwise, you should always assume that the law of England and Wales will apply to the situation in the question because the SQE is the centralised assessment for anyone who wishes to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. Another example is that if the person in question is a man or a woman, you should assume that he or she is an adult. If the person in question is a boy or girl, you should assume that he or she is a minor below 18.

Although the SRA claims that they will give ‘normally’ you the figures, rates, and percentages for calculation, you should memorise some obvious and factual information such as tax rates, thresholds, reliefs and exemptions. There are some sample questions offered by the SRA asking you to calculate how much tax is payable without giving you the tax rates. In this case, you should assume that the current tax rates will apply.

You should be aware that the laws that apply in England may be different from the laws that apply in Wales. For example, SDLT is the stamp duty land tax in England and Northern Ireland, while LTT is the land transaction tax in Wales. In Wales, the Welsh language has official status and can be used in proceedings in Wales. These factors have consequences for how the law operates in Wales.

You should remember certain case names, statutory provisions, regulatory authorities, and what they mean because they can be the terms directly used in the questions. These terms normally used to describe a legal principle or an area of law or a rule or procedural step. If you don’t remember them, you will not be able to select the correct answers. Examples include Rylands v Fletcher, Saunders v Vautier, Section 25 notice, Section 8 notice, Section 21 notice, Part 36 offer, Part 20 claim, and Part 8 claim.

There is only one correct answer out of five for each question, but the other wrong answers are carefully designed to mislead you. Nevertheless, if you are careful enough, you should easily find that one of the answers is obviously wrong. Very often, there will be two options which are likely to be the correct answer. Most likely, one of these two options is correct.

Don’t aim to answer all the questions correctly. It is impossible and unrealistic even for the brightest candidates. In fact, you don’t need to answer all the questions correctly to pass. Previous statistics show that you need to answer 99–103 questions correctly out of 180 questions to pass the FLK1 or FLK2. This means you only need to answer 55%–57% of the questions correctly to pass the assessment.

You only have on average 1 minute and 42 seconds to answer a question, so don’t spend too much time on any single question. For some questions, the situations are more complex and will require you to spend more time. If you spend more time on a question, you need to work faster on another question to make up for the lost time. Alternatively, you can simply make your best guess and move on because you just need to answer 55%–57% of the questions correctly to pass.

However, this does not mean that you can study only 55%–57% of the SQE1 syllabus because you will likely fail. The 360 questions you are going to answer cover the entire or almost the entire SQE1 syllabus. Therefore, you are advised to study the whole syllabus, but if this is not possible or you think you are hopeless in some topics, you should make sure that you have covered at least 90% of the syllabus.

Aim to answer as many questions correctly as possible because your marks will be expressed as a scaled score out of 500. Individual marks will also be given for each practice area. Additionally, you will be assigned to one of five quintiles to indicate how your performance compares with that of other candidates in the assessment. This allows potential employers to compare your ability with other job applicants, and will therefore affect your employability.
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