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SQE course manuals: An interview with Lecturer Russell Binch

The SQE offers students a step-up into the legal profession but preparing for assessments is never without its challenges. Lecturer Russell Binch shares how students can utilise the SQE course manuals and best prepare for the exams, gaining valuable real-world skills along the way.

By Cara Fielder. Published 30 September 2021. Last updated 12 May 2022.

What books do I need for the SQE?

The authors of the SQE manuals are all lecturers at ULaw who specialise in their respective areas. They are also all qualified lawyers with extensive practical experience. Each author has drawn from that combined educational and professional expertise when drafting the manuals.

The main purpose of the manuals are of course, passing the SQE1 exam but this isn’t all that can be learned from them. As the student progresses to SQE2 and starts their Qualifying Work Experience, the development of key professional skills will become increasingly important. Those skills include clear communication, simplifying complexity and solving problems to meet client outcomes.

As qualified lawyers, the authors of our manuals are all used to the challenges of simplifying complex legal information to solving problems and meeting client outcomes. By actively reading the manuals, students will begin the process of developing these key skills to better prepare for the next stages of their professional journey.

The authors have an in-depth understanding of the topics that students typically find more difficult, and every effort has been made to bring these more challenging topics to life to help aid understanding and get students ‘exam-ready’. The manuals have been mapped against the SQE1 Syllabus and cover all the areas of law and professional practice listed by the SRA.                  

The manuals are aimed at anyone looking to sit the SQE assessments on their way to qualifying as a solicitor of England and Wales and are an excellent study tool for anyone about to sit the SQE1 exams.

They are also useful for students sitting SQE2. While SQE2 assesses professional skills, 50% of the marks are attributable to a thorough understanding of core legal principles, so using the manuals will provide invaluable support to aspiring students.

The manuals also provide an early insight into the SQE1 exam. SQE1 concerns the application of fundamental legal principles and rules to realistic client-based problems and situations. The manuals have worked examples enabling students to grasp how legal principles are applied in practice, and there are sample exam questions throughout.

SQE1 is assessed in a way that is probably quite different to exams students have sat in the past. There are two big MCQ exams, with each exam covering up to eight different subjects. The main challenges for these exams are usually identifying the topics likely to come up and revising the right content accordingly.

The manuals outline the core legal principles and rules in each subject, allowing students to focus on what they really need to know. The worked examples and sample questions provide the opportunity to gain confidence in identifying key topics quickly and accurately.

Where can I buy books for the SQE?

They are available for purchase by anyone from The University of Law’s eStore as well as from many reputable retail and online bookstores, such as Amazon and Blackwell’s. The SQE manuals can be purchased individually but can also be purchased in bundles. For example, you can buy all fifteen manuals or split them by exam topics.

For instance, the Professional Practice study manual bundle includes these Titles:

Property Practice
Business Law and Practice
Dispute Resolution
Legal Services
Wills and Administration of Estates
Solicitors Accounts
Criminal Practice
Ethics & Professional Conduct

The bundle is available to buy at a discount rate of 15% compared to buying the manuals separately.

Hard copy manuals can be shipped to most international countries. Current and past ULaw students benefit from significant discounts and students on our SQE courses get free e-copies.

Each chapter starts with a reference to relevant extracts from the SQE1 Syllabus and the learning outcomes that will be met at the end of each chapter, helping to maintain focus on what’s essential for succeeding in the exams. The chapter then guides through the material in a structured and concise fashion, with various worked examples and flowcharts to help consolidate key learning points, before concluding with a series of sample assessment questions.

Each manual also comes with a QR code which, when scanned, unlocks a mini-bank of additional assessment questions that can be used to test knowledge and allow for more focused revision.

It’s crucial to allow enough time to work through the entire manuals and it’s best to actively complete the sample assessment questions, as opposed to just reading them. When getting things wrong, it’s important to try to identify why and then have another go at finding the correct answer. Students will benefit most from using their own initiative rather than relying on the written explanations. This way, they will ensure they are retaining the key information.

Students with a law degree may have kept their academic textbooks on ‘black-letter law’ subjects such as Contract and Tort. While these are excellent for undergraduate law, these types of books are unlikely to have been designed with the SQE in mind. Therefore, relying on old textbooks can be unhelpful. Purchasing manuals designated to the SQE will inevitably be a useful tool for revision.

Finally, the best way of getting the most out of the manuals is to purchase an SQE course offered by The University of Law. Full details can be found on our eStore. The manuals can be purchased in hard copy, eBook or Kindle formats.

Students shouldn’t underestimate the substantial amount of preparation required for undertaking the SQE. Not only is a good understanding of core legal principles required, but also the ability to demonstrate practical skills of tackling many MCQs.

The manuals are an excellent resource and study tool to help students prepare for the SQE exams. I would heartily recommend the manuals to all students starting their journey to qualification as a solicitor of England and Wales.


Discover more about the ULaw SQE1 and SQE2 Preparation Courses now.