I did quite well in this exam. To bring some credibility to what I’m about to share, I got an 83% when the pass mark was at 63%. This is how I prepared –
As I wrote in the post about how I prepared for the MCT, it doesn’t matter which provider you get. There are so many of them, you can do your own research, and just choose what you’re most comfortable with and whatever fits your budget. I went with QLTS School because I took the MCT with them and they were okay. I have no complaints about them.
The most important thing you want to consider when choosing a provider is the mock tests. These are important not only so you can test yourself and practice (which you can do with one or two tests), but so you can also learn and take notes from what you read.
The OUP Books
I read the OUP Books. I think different providers have recommended these. They are updated in June or July every year. I took the OSCE in 2020 but the books I had was the 2018/2019 version. [I was supposed to take the November 2019 OSCE but decided to delay it to May 2020 because I ended up being on the waitlist, and that was also the same time I was moving to Scotland.]
It was fine though, it wasn’t totally outdated. QLTS School provided updates to the relevant laws. I also knew that tax rates changed every year so I made sure to check the most common ones online nearer the exams.
I was only intending to read the OUP Books once. Reading books a few times is what I was taught was the best way to prepare for exams. I didn’t really have enough time to read them. I was newly married, looking for work, and a pandemic was brewing. It was because of the pandemic that my May 2020 exam was postponed to August 2020. That meant I had time to read the OUP books twice.
I did a couple of mock tests after I read the books once and thought that I didn’t remember anything I read. I thought that I didn’t know enough so I needed to read everything again. I was wrong. Reading the OUP books a second time was a waste of time.
If I had to do it all over again, I would read the OUP books once because they are a useful resource to be able to understand the law for sure, especially if I had the time. If I didn’t have time, I would have chosen important topics from the books to make sure I understood it very well (see my notes on Mock Tests and Cilex past papers below to see how I would figure out what topics were important).
I also would have spent some time studying the notes that the provider gives or the LPC Answered book. That way I can start to memorise the general flow of the processes in the law (e.g. how to dismiss a director, how to complete a property sale when there are concurrent sales, etc.).
Another tip, especially if you are also working and you just don’t have the energy to read anymore after a long day at work, is to listen to any video lectures you may have access to. QLTS School definitely provided this, so check if the provider you’re interested in has them too.
Mock Tests and Cilex Past Papers
I started doing mock tests to practice a couple of weeks before the exam. I was still feeling frustrated because I felt like I couldn’t remember anything I read in the OUP books. About a week before the exam, I realised that I should be reading the mock tests and the Cilex (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) past papers and using them to study, rather than testing my knowledge.
You can find the Cilex past papers here. Use the level 6 assessments and look at the following subjects: Company and Partnership Practice, Conveyancing, Probate Practice, Civil Litigation, and Criminal Litigation. These will show you which topics are important when they assess your legal skills. If you have time, you can look at the other related laws (company and partnership law, criminal law, etc.) but the practice sections are really what you want to focus on. I read the last 3 past papers per subject.
When I read the mock tests and the Cilex papers, I realised that there were recurring topics. So I took note of the topics (e.g. application for bail, partnership v corporation), wrote down the laws mentioned (or researched the relevant law either through Google or in the OUP Books), and focused my studying on that. In other words, I used the mock tests and Cilex papers to figure out where to focus my study, and then used the internet and OUP Books to augment that. I also made sure to memorise the important laws mentioned.
I’m not saying that everything that came out in my OSCE were topics from the mock test and Cilex papers, but a lot of it was.
If you did not study in a UK law school, you probably wouldn’t know which general areas of law are important enough to be covered by exams. Everything in the book looked important to me. The coverage of the OSCE (and the OUP books) is so broad that it was difficult to focus on anything. I couldn’t figure out what was important.
This is probably why a lot of people found the LPC Answered book really helpful. I think it’s like a summary of the OUP books. I didn’t know that existed at the time, so I’ve never used it.
Alternatively, you can also use the notes that your provider might have. QLTS School had notes for each subject. I found it a bit difficult to understand and quite long, though. And reading someone else’s notes is always a bit difficult, especially if you don’t know the person and you don’t have any background on the subject.
A note about the mock tests – these are ideal responses that were made without any time limit. Don’t think that you need to write or say everything that’s written in them to pass because it’s impossible. They are there to help you with your revision by providing model suggested answers. You don’t need to mention all the points to pass.
I also used the mock tests to study the skills part of the OSCE, which we know is a practical test. If you look at the marking criteria, half your mark will be based on legal content, and half will be on skills or non-legal aspects – clear structure, correct and comprehensive facts, if the client was able to trust you, etc. I’ll write about how I prepared for the non-legal aspects of the OSCE in another post.