By Victoria Cromwell,
Head of QLTS Prep by BARBRI
Candidates regularly grapple with the question of how to best prepare for the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (QLTS) while working. There is no single answer that makes sense for everyone looking to become dual-qualified as an English solicitor, but there are some things you will want to consider as you make plans to pass the QLTS.
I always like to point out to candidates seeking to become dual-qualified in England and Wales that they are undertaking a course of study that normally takes domestic students one year full-time or two years part-time, and to approach their preparation accordingly. Unless you are an international lawyer fully versed in the English law knowledge and skills requirements for the QLTS assessments, it will likely be difficult to make a realistic and informed decision as to how and how long to prepare. Use the following information as a guide to help you in the time leading up to sitting the MCT and OSCE.
Sudden and urgent deadlines, workplace distractions, the general demands of a full day on the job, and the commute home, can all take their toll on even the best-laid study plans. For this reason, some QLTS candidates choose full-time study through a planned (or sometimes unplanned) employment break. With full-time study, there is undoubtedly more schedule flexibility and greater opportunity for focused preparation.
Sounds tempting, right? But the reality of work and finance for far more QLTS candidates means they must fit their study in around their full-time or part-time job, as well as meet family and other outside obligations. For this reason, you want to start your QLTS journey by being realistic.
Are you going to be able to sustain preparation for this all-important professional assessment inside three months, studying three or four hours a day during the week and eight hours a day on the weekends? Or, would a shorter amount of study over six months suit you better? Work out how much free time you can truly devote to QLTS study daily, weekly and monthly, in line with your planned assessment date and your personal and professional circumstances.
For many of our candidates, study is interspersed between family commitments or even preparation for other exams or qualifications. Build in some flexibility to account for these as well as the unexpected. Much can be learned by reading blog posts of other professionals who successfully studied for the QLTS while working.
A careful assessment of your own needs, time commitments and timelines should be undertaken early on. This should happen in conjunction with gaining a clear understanding of the course demands, exam dates, registration cut-offs, and potential timetable clashes with your other responsibilities. Careful planning, discipline and time management are critical factors when fitting study in around employment. By adopting a methodical approach to studying, you will become more efficient at juggling everything that’s on your plate.
In my experience talking with QLTS Prep by BARBRI students, most realistically studied over 3-6 months while working full-time. In many cases, the individuals were able to engage the support of their employers to make things a little easier. They also fully utilised the resources available to them, including mock tests and our 1:1 tutor support and guidance.
Let’s face it, a day job can become unexpectedly busy or preparation efforts can fall behind, or both. It’s okay to take some time out to reflect on the task at hand. Know that QLTS Prep by BARBRI will have you covered no matter what.