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student experiences

student experiences

Emma Powell

Associate Solicitor for Morris & Company, Real Estate Company and SQE1 and SQE2 Student

Hi, I’m Emma and I’m an Associate Solicitor for Morris & Company Limited, a real estate company based in Shropshire. I graduated from Coventry University in 2006. In 2008 I began working for a local firm of solicitors and worked in a range of legal positions in Commercial Property until I qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2013. I continued working for the same firm attaining the position of Associate and in 2018 I moved to in-house practice. When I graduated from University I did not go on to complete the GDL/LPC immediately, I had a place to study at the College of Law but the lack of flexibility with work arrangements and studying and ultimately the lack of certainty of a training contract post-LPC meant I decided to work full time and then study part-time for my CILEX qualification.

When the SQE was launched, I felt it was a great opportunity for me to qualify as a solicitor as it would give me the ability to continue working and study at the same time but also the flexibility to sit the exams in sessions that suited me rather than undertaking a two year part-time course and so I made the decision to sit the very first SQE1 assessment in November 2021. I was very fortunate to receive funding support from my employer for both the assessments and the preparation training.


Why did you choose to study with The College of Legal Practice?


In choosing a prep course provider I researched a large number of offerings online. I knew I wanted flexibility to study at my pace throughout the week and found that the scheduling requirements of the College of Legal Practice suited me perfectly but this was not the only reason for choosing them. I called to discuss some queries I had regarding the course content and spoke with their Student Services and Marketing Officer, Matthew. From that phone call and the follow up emails I made my decision to study with COLP. I can honestly say that the warm welcome and assistance I received that day continued with all of the tutors and support teams I dealt with during my studies. I am pleased to say that I passed both the SQE1 and SQE2 exams first time and after receiving the SQE2 results in August 2022 I completed my application to the SRA and became a qualified solicitor in September 2022 as my FCILEx status meant I already held the requisite Qualifying Work Experience.


Reflections on the College’s SQE1 and SQE2 preparation courses


My tips for this course would be to practice, practice, practice. Practice the MCQs until you can not look at another one again! The College’s way of teaching means you would study a module, complete MCQs on that area at which point they bring in the next subject (and another round of MCQs) and so on until they have covered all the material. What you don’t realise is that testing is not only cementing your knowledge but is also familiarising you with the exam format at all times. I really found the surgeries helpful and in particular the final surgeries where the supervisors ran through issues they felt were really examinable. It was helpful to have those last sessions as it enabled us to bring forward points that had arisen from our revision on a live interactive basis. Having the supervisors as people who have been in, or are still in practice, was invaluable. I believe their experience of explaining their area of law on a daily basis to clients meant they could provide examples and explanations which made the reading click and make sense. I don’t think that I would have been well prepared for the exam, had I not done the course.


SQE2 is very different from SQE1 but the course and team prepared us well for the topics and nature of the assessment. You will find you still need to utilise the SQE1 prep resources heavily but SQE2 focuses more on the application and presentation of the knowledge you have acquired. I was constantly going back and using the flashcards and multiple-choice questions to test myself and I found it great that I could revisit the podcasts/videos when I felt like taking a break from reading. The College’s approach for SQE2 is similar to the nature of an SQE2 assessment, the College provided builds, self-practices and graded activities all of which were there to focus on the assessment criteria and also the time limits of the actual assessment. The assessments along the way with feedback from my supervisor also gave me confidence in terms of my performance as I went through the course.

How did SQE1 compare to SQE2?

For SQE1, I felt secure enough in my knowledge that I could pick out the right answer if I was struggling on a question and so it felt a little like there was a safety net. For SQE2 it’s just you applying your SQE1 knowledge to the varying situations of the assessment and this can be a daunting task. The SQE2 assessments were taxing and after two days I felt mentally exhausted and my recommendation to anyone sitting the assessment would be to ensure they give themselves plenty of time to prepare for it. You want to be confident that you can set out your thoughts in a clear and concise manner when under pressure (whether that be due to limited time or general exam stress). Another tip for anyone that gets nervous when presenting would be to practice as much as possible in an effort to iron out those less confident “umms” and if necessary to tame your hands – even if this means giving a lecture to your dog on the merits of your favourite TV show! I was very happy with the College’s preparation courses and would definitely recommend them.


"Having the supervisors as people who have been, or are still in practice was invaluable. The supervisors ran through in detail, made it all click and make sense. I don't think that I would have been prepared for the exam had I not done the course." - Emma Powell, SQE1 and SQE2 student