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student experiences

student experiences

Ruth Ekong

Qualified solicitor and Director at Fitch Solutions

Hi, I’m Ruth. I am a qualified solicitor and Director at Fitch Solutions with a background in legal practice. I originally studied Law with German at Hull University and later worked for Freshfields in London. I completed the LPC about 10 years ago and recognising the challenges of finding a training contract, I then had a number of legal support roles “in house” within commercial companies. In 2022, I found the SQE as an opportunity to complete qualification, as I only needed to sit SQE2. I passed SQE2 after preparing with The College of Legal Practice’s SQE2 prep course and fully enrolled as a solicitor with the SRA in 2023. Here are my experiences. 


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

Initially, considering the high cost of study and undertaking the SQE2 exams, I was not planning to do an SQE2 prep course. After doing some research, I realised that this would have been a mistake. I thought if you’re going to do it, do the course and do it well. That’s when I discovered The College of Legal Practice.

I looked at a few providers and the College’s arrangements were most suitable to me – notably the flexibility, the support; having the opportunity to speak with practising solicitors, who reassured me and told me “Actually, you know this stuff”, “you’re doing it already”, “you can do it”. This was really helpful, too. This really helped boost my confidence - especially when you haven’t been studying for 10 years.


Reflections on the College’s SQE2 preparation course

It’s been great for me! You have a lot of examples and questions around what's required from you in terms of the exam and that can help alleviate a lot of concerns. It’s easy to think ‘I should just read everything in the textbooks’, but that’s not the way to go. It’s not advisable to just ‘inhale’ the knowledge. It doesn’t help and it will confuse you, so getting the guidance from the tutors on what to focus on and structuring your learning to the core elements that will be examined was incredibly important.

What was also really helpful was the mock assessments – they give you a lot on the course, and the assessments can help you identify the areas you’re not so strong in. It was really helpful to have somebody who's in practice telling me “Okay, you're really good at this area”, “focus on this”, “this is what they're looking for in the exam” and then you can have that measure in your head when you're doing it. I found that very beneficial. 

When you’re doing a course like this, it can be very intense, so you need as much support as you can get, which is why at the College, tutors are willing to sit with you to discuss what you’ve recently completed in your assessments, and that’s been really key for me. 


What's the support been like at the College?

You have your own pastoral support and dedicated person to speak to about your overall personal challenges and that, for me, was unmatched. When I compared the College to other providers, none were able to provide that level of guidance or support. Studying alongside work can be challenging and so having that level of guidance up until the day you sit the exams was key to my success. And if you’re someone who is like me, working full-time, if you haven’t been studying for a while and have knowledge gaps, or if you’re busy and have a family, having people who are in practice advising you - I can’t stress enough, is key. I am really, really grateful for the pastoral support.


My SQE2 experience: some tips

Planning and engagement in the course is key. I would be at every session I could. Doing the practice assessments was great, but also getting the advice in the feedback sessions was crucial – as, coming from a LPC background, I didn’t have the immediacy of completing SQE1 and having the knowledge fresh. Being in practice, there is also a misconception that you will be able to sit SQE2 without preparation, and whilst you’re certainly capable, the knowledge needs to be there especially if you are not practised in the areas that will be examined, and I think people underestimate this. You need to understand where your knowledge gaps are, and if you’re not engaging enough, you won’t know. 

Focus on your strengths. Remember, when you are communicating, you're communicating with people. Focus on being a good communicator and giving good advice as a base level. 

Finally – for the exams, make sure to eat well and prepare your physical state. Rest is very important, people forget that it’s a long day. Don’t panic. For SQE2, you really have to have a clear mind to think practically. Your nerves play a big part in how you perform, so just trusting that you've done enough to get yourself to the exam date really helps just to calm yourself and respond with clarity.


"The mock assessments with the College were really helpful, they give you a lot on the course and they can help identify the areas you’re not so strong in. It was also helpful to have somebody who's in practice telling me “You’re really good in this area”, “focus on this”, “this is what they're looking for in the exam” and then you can have that guidance in your head when you're doing the assessments, and ultimately the exams. I found that incredibly beneficial. " - Ruth Ekong, SQE2 student.