A large proportion of students are still ignorant of the introduction of the new ‘super-exam’ for qualifying solicitors, according to new research. 

Some 44 per cent of law students surveyed didn’t know about the changes that will lead to the introduction of the Solicitors Qualification Exam from 2020, a study commissioned by BPP Law found.

When the changes were explained to them, 43 per cent of the 1,370 student respondents found them worrying.

Quite apart from students, only 44 per cent of law firms say they understand the changes and nearly three quarters (72 per cent) say the intended benefits of the SQE have still not been sufficiently explained to them. 

Only 18 per cent of firms surveyed felt positive about the changes, while just 25 per cent said the changes will help increase diversity in the profession. 

The strategic director of programme design and development at BPP, Jo-Anne Pugh, said: “Law firms, regardless of size, share a general concern about the SQE even if their understanding of the implications is more varied. Interestingly, the more firms said they understood the SQE changes the less positive they felt about it.”

“Many firms do not understand the changes well, are dubious that the SQE will lead to a more diverse profession, one of its main objectives, and remain worried that key skills and practice areas won’t be sufficiently tested by it.” 

The Solicitors Regulation Authority, which is implementing the new exam, argues that it “unlocks choice in routes to qualification, enables apprenticeships, allows universities to to develop courses that work for students and solves the training contract bottleneck.”

The super-exam: how will it affect you?