[ By Claire Flores , Senior Legal Manager, Americas, BARBRI International ]
Preparing for the QLTS
There is no single right way to simultaneously work and study when becoming dual-qualified as an English solicitor. Every individual is different. With that being said, I am happy to share my personal story of what it has been like to work full-time and study for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) as a licensed Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) attorney.
I will confess upfront that the thought of re-engaging in a study routine was a little unnerving. I sat the state bar exam in 2014―I can’t believe it was half a decade ago! This summer, however, I decided to take the multiple-choice portion of the QLTS, known as the MCT. It had been five busy years since I had taken an exam of any kind.
The MCT exam assesses your knowledge on 11 subjects in English Law. There is a lot of material that can come up. From knowledge of the English and European judicial review process to understanding the European Human Rights Act of 1998. Thankfully, the QLTS Prep by BARBRI Personal Study Plan (PSP) made it easy for me to organize my time and work through the program like a to-do list. My online PSP gave me the right combination of substance and skills learning, so I could expedite my studies while still boosting my understanding and retention.
If you are a working attorney with the desire to take on the QLTS, I’d like to offer a few tips from my own experience to help reintroduce you to studying and exam-taking after some time away.
Set a Routine, and Stick with It
My typical workday runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so I had to make time around these hours for my QLTS studies. The MCT exam started at 8 a.m. sharp, or 7 a.m. in my time zone, and my brain works better in the morning. For this reason, I made a conscious decision to rise at 6 a.m. during the week to complete a couple of hours of study until work began.
This routine might not be your cup of tea. It’s important to find a consistent study pattern that won’t become disruptive to your job or other commitments. Find what works, and stick with it.
Channel Your Best Efficient Self
For me, creating a mini cheat sheet was the best way for me to process and remember the information in a timely fashion. As a kinaesthetic learner, I found it immensely helpful to create my cheat sheet after watching a lecture and reading the outline to internalize the rules in my mind.
When I was asked to “revise” something, I would then quiz myself from my cheat sheet. If I truly didn’t understand a concept, I would go back to the outline to review the chapter again. Afterward, I used practice questions and mixed sets to drill the information into my memory. Seeing the different ways a certain fact or word would distinguish one answer from the next was incredibly helpful.
This was my approach to my bar exam studies using the QLTS Prep by BARBRI PSP, and it worked well for me. Essentially, you want to reflect on your most efficient techniques for reviewing, and keep them up.
Make It Fun
Consider the subjects that you most enjoyed in law school and think about how the English system is different. The differences between the U.S. Constitution and the U.K. “Constitution” (Hint: They don’t actually have a document called the Constitution) was fascinating to me. Learning about those differences felt more like a fun method of discovery than rigorous studying of new subjects. Being curious about the various areas of law helped me better remember topics in the long run for the MCT.
Lean On Your Mentor While Preparing for the QLTS
QLTS Prep by BARBRI provides you with a one-on-one mentor who is available throughout the program to discuss your study habits and how you are doing as you are preparing for the QLTS. They will be honest with you on your progress, good or bad, and provide guidance as to how to improve. My mentor was great at recommending assignments that helped me spend my study time where it would yield the best results. I could tell my mentor was deeply committed to helping me pass the MCT exam―and it paid off.
I recently learned that I passed the MCT portion of the QLTS!! Thank you, BARBRI. Now on to the OSCE.