I took the QLTS MCT in January 2019, well before any restrictions were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The QLTS MCT is a one-day exam covering the following subjects:
- The English Legal System & EU Law
- Constitutional Law & Judicial Review
- Professional Conduct & Solicitors’ Accounts
- Financial Regulation
- Contracts Law
- Criminal Law
- Equity & Trusts
- Business Law
- Human Rights
The MCT is a computer-based exam. You just sit in front of the computer, the questions are shown to you one at a time, and you click on whatever choice you think is right.
You can check here to see the pass rates and pass marks throughout the years. Pass rates refer to the percentage of people who have passed the exams, and pass marks refer to the grade you needed to have gotten to pass. If you go here, you’ll see how pass marks are reached and how they grade the exams. I’m not sure how this information is helpful, other than for you to know more or less what you need to get to pass.
I took the QLTS MCT at the Pentagon Centre in Glasgow. We were only two who took the MCT that day.
When I arrived, I was asked to leave all my things in a locker. They checked my ID and took my photo. There are specific rules about what kind of ID you need to present, so make sure you bring the right one (and read all of Kaplan’s/ Pearson Vue’s emails very carefully for things like this).
After registration, we entered the room where all the computers were. Other people were there taking other exams (it looked like driving tests to me). The staff were all really nice and friendly, so that was comforting.
The First 90 QUESTIONS
The first part of the exam was 2 hours and 45 minutes long. You’ll be asked to answer 90 questions and it covers all the subjects listed above. I didn’t need the whole time to finish the exam, but I went over the answers I wasn’t sure of again until time was up. Often, I would be able to eliminate some of the choices and I would be left with two viable options. I guess that gave me a 50/50 chance of getting it right. I remember being really annoyed because I knew the answer, I just couldn’t get my brain to recall it with great specificity and conviction.
Then, we had a lunch break. I think it was an hour, but I’m not sure anymore. I sat at a cafe downstairs and did some practice questions with the mock tests provided by QLTS School (the provider I signed up with).
I only realised later on that the mock tests were really helpful. Many people say that mock tests are important. But when I tried doing them, I thought I didn’t know enough so I decided to go through all the materials first and then did the mock tests nearer the date of the exam. I know now that this was the wrong strategy.
Since the coverage of the exams is so broad and having no previous experience of studying law in the U.K., it was difficult to figure out which topics I needed to focus on. It is impossible to remember every single detail so you really need to study smart and choose the right areas of law under each subject.
The mock tests are helpful because the topics they cover (as well as the questions and explanations given for the answers) are more or less what’s considered important and therefore will probably appear in the exams. Of course they don’t cover everything and they don’t appear as the exact questions that will be asked, but the information you learn from them will be extremely helpful. So if I had to take the MCT again (and thank goodness, I don’t), I would have done more mock tests earlier, and I would have paid more attention to the explanations and answers.
The Second set of 90 questions
After lunch, we had another 2 hours and 45 minutes to finish the second set of questions. By this time, I was just feeling really sleepy (despite all the coffee I drank). I knew that time limit was more than enough time for me to through all the questions — so I took a quick nap. I just couldn’t focus anymore, and I wanted to be able to be alive and awake as I answered questions to make sure I didn’t make any careless mistakes. I needed to make sure I chose the answers I knew were correct because there were a number of questions I had no clue about.
I finished well before the time was up. I think by that time, I just wanted to go out and celebrate. As soon as I left the building, I forgot all about the questions asked and the answers I had chosen. I felt like I had done what I could at the time, and I just needed to let it all go.
The thought that comforted me most was – if I failed, I can just take it again. I don’t understand why there is a stigma about failing an exam. In the Philippines, it’s a “thing” to have been able to pass the bar in your first take. I’m not sure if it’s the same elsewhere, but I think it shouldn’t be an issue at all. Passing an exam on your first take does not necessarily reflect a person’s knowledge and skill. A lot of it is luck. I think people shouldn’t be judged by the number of times they take an exam. The fact that they pass is all that matters.
I received my results in February (one month later). I passed! Woo!
I’ll write about how I prepared for the MCT next.