Preparing for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), specifically the SQE1 exam, requires considerable planning and effective time-management. The preparation period is lengthy and demands both time and mental commitment, and as you progress with your study plan, you might not be confident about your readiness and have mixed emotions.
Particularly, when you are nearing the end of your SQE studies, you might be feeling pressure, stress, nervousness, excitement, or a combination of all those feelings.
This is understandable and expected. The SQE is a high-stakes exam with significant importance on your future as a solicitor. After many months of studying and preparing, you will likely have reached the point where you just want to take the exam already!
While that moment will inevitably arrive soon, it is vital to use the remaining weeks you have before the exam itself to your advantage. You want to ensure you are giving yourself the best opportunity to pass the SQE1 assessment on your first attempt.
In this article, we will look at several matters you should consider planning for in the final weeks of your SQE1 preparations. We will look at several constructive ways to control your emotions, review techniques, and explain why taking SQE1 mock tests might just be one of the best methods to prepare for the real exam.
While pressure and stress might be building, it is important to instead remain calm and focused on all the topics that you are comfortable with. Choosing to be confident in all the knowledge you have gained over the past few months will keep your nerves at bay and help you put your final two-week plan into action before you sit the SQE1 exam.
Make a list with these three columns:
Start with the topics that you are confident about. Review them on a regular basis to keep them fresh in your mind. You do not need to go into in-depth detail each time, but a refresher can help. Continue to remind yourself of those certainties to boost your confidence.
Next, try not to worry too much about the topics that you have not yet grasped to this point. While it may be tempting to continue working trying to understand these topics, chances are you may not completely master them if you have not already.
Spending your remaining two weeks trying to learn or grasp new or difficult topics, that in actuality might not even be on the exam or may be only one question that will not make or break your success on the exam, would not be the most efficient use of your time.
The scope of the SQE syllabus is extensive and it is all but impossible to know all the material that will be included on the exam. You do not need to score 100% to pass!
While it may be frustrating to not be able to fully understand certain topics, it is important to focus on the things you are comfortable with and the topics that you can still learn to solidify to memory.
Lastly, review your list of topics that you still want to study or learn more about before exam day. Over the last two weeks, take time to mark off a few topics off your list daily so that by exam day, you should have more topics in the “know” column verses the “maybe” column.
If you can, take some leave so that you can focus full-time on your studies in the two weeks leading up to the SQE1 exam. If you are unable to do this, try to take half days to focus your attention on your studies at this point.
You can use this time to complete your study plan, check items off your to-do-list, and ensure you are adequately prepared with everything you need to know before sitting the SQE1.
Regardless of how much time you are able to take off to focus your attention on the SQE1 materials in the remaining two weeks before sitting the exam, it is imperative that you take the time to do SQE1 mock tests with a time limit, content and format similar to the formal assessment.
Mock tests are a great way to get a feel for what taking the real exam will ultimately be like, and they can be used as an invaluable study tool. Specifically, mock tests can help you measure the progress of your studies from how far you have come to how far you still have yet to go. They can also help you determine your list of topics that you know, do not know, and topics that you still need to focus your studies on.
When deciding on your SQE training provider, it is very important to consider how many mock tests are offered by each provider given how vital this practice is for exam preparation.
QLTS School offers you three course packages for SQE1 with either 10 or 30 mock tests consisting of 90 questions each. Ideally, you should take one or even two SQE1 mock tests daily in the two weeks leading up to the exam.
You can break your time up into FLK1 in the morning and FLK2 in the afternoon, or vice versa. Choosing to do this would require a time commitment of about five hours a day. This is similar to sitting the real exam, because mock tests have a time limit akin to the real SQE1.
When taking SQE1 mock tests, be sure to carefully review the suggested answers, analyse your mistakes, and understand the reasoning behind the correct answer.
This can be done by asking yourself the following questions when you find yourself struggling to find the correct answer:
Reviewing the SQE1 mock tests questions is a very important step. Analysing your responses to these questions will help you visualise more clearly the areas in which there are gaps in your studies, allowing you time to read up and re-focus your efforts on those topics before exam day.
You will want to focus on the questions and subject areas that you answered wrong, but you should also review the questions that came down to deciding between two choices. Those questions give you a 50/50 shot of answering correctly on the real exam if you are not sure of the material. You should focus particularly on why one answer is the correct choice and why the other is not now before getting to exam day.
Another clear benefit of taking SQE1 mock tests is that since they are in a similar format and style to the actual SQE exam, they will allow you to work on your pacing and endurance. Time is going to be one of the biggest challenges of the SQE, and practising your timing through mock tests is the only way you can practise pacing yourself.
Watch our series of videos: SQE1 – Question of the Week, to see how exam questions are structured and analysed by one of our tutors:
If you are struggling to prepare for the SQE1, having trouble understanding certain topics, or even if you just need an added boost of confidence and reassurance that you are on the right track to being prepared for SQE1, consider working with a tutor.
We have experienced tutors to help you succeed on SQE1, whatever your need is.
You should plan on waking up every day in the last two weeks before SQE1 like you will be getting ready to leave for the exam. By keeping a similar schedule to exam day, your actual test day can be less stressful and more familiar. For example, a good routine to get into could be similar to the following:
Be sure to eat healthy food, stay active, and take breaks to relax in the two weeks before the exam. You do not want to stay up late or all night studying and run the risk of becoming run down or fatigued.
Instead, stick to your routine and save your energy for test days so that you can perform optimally on the exam.
Are you allowed to use a calculator (the answer is yes, you will be provided with an on-screen one)? Can you bring snacks and drinks? Have you packed a light jacket or sweater in case the room is cold? Do you know where your testing centre is and what time you will need to leave in order to arrive with ample time to spare? Do you know how to get there?
Figure out the answer to these questions and any others that you might have well before test day arrives so that you can plan ahead of time and be relaxed and focused on test day.
On the day before the SQE1 exam, try not to take any mock tests. Instead, review your notes, take time to relax, and go to sleep early. You do not want to be burned out and exhausted before the exam. Be sure your outfit is laid out, everything you need is packed and ready to go, and be confident in the knowledge that you have gained these past few months.
Preparing for the SQE, you may have put in late nights studying, long hours spent reading, and days spent practising with SQE1 mock tests.
Be proud of yourself for everything that you have accomplished and learnt along the way. Go into test day confidently, knowing that you have put in the time and the work, and that you are going to do your best.
At the end of the day, putting in the time, effort, and doing all the work that you can, will hopefully lead to you passing the SQE1 exam and advancing you closer towards achieving your career goal to become a solicitor.
Watch this video to see our tips for success in the SQE1 assessment:
QLTS School offers a range of course packages for SQE1 which include 18 hard copy textbooks, 2,500+ practice questions, 200+ videos, revision notes, 5,000+ digital flashcards, and 30 SQE1 mock tests. The course material is accessible through our online training system, SQE Learning, which will track your activity and provide you with personal feedback on your progress and performance.