The multiple choice test (MCT) is the first hoop to jump in your path to becoming a solicitor in England and Wales.
Here’s a quick note on the MCT and my prep strategy:
Registering for the MCT
The MCT is a computer-based assessment administered across various test centers around the world including China, New York, India, London, Scotland, UAE, Qatar and selected cities in mainland Europe. You do not have to travel to London to take this test.
Bear in mind that spaces in the test centers are limited so please be sure to register well in advance to secure a seat.
You may register for the MCT here.
The MCT comprises 180 multiple choice questions equally spread over the below 11 subjects:
(i) The English Legal System and EU Law
(ii) Constitutional Law and Judicial Review
(iii) Professional Conduct Rules and SRA Account Rules
(iv) Money Laundering, Financial Services, and Taxation
(v) Contract Law
(vii) Criminal Law
(viii) Property Law
(x) Human Rights
(xi) Business Law
As such, the detailed syllabus of the test is set out under Part A of the SRA Day One Outcomes.
Note that the questions are not that straightforward, and so you will have to prepare and take the test seriously in order to pass with ease. Try the sample MCT questions on the Kaplan website which will help you gauge the nature of the questions for the test.
Format of Assessment
The assessment is divided into 2 sessions of 2 hours 45 minutes each, with 90 questions in each session. There is a break of 60 minutes between the sessions during which you may leave the test centre.
Following recommendations from friends, I decided to take the MCT Advantage Package from QLTS School. I found QLTS School to be pretty good for the MCT because they provide you with:
- video lectures on each of the subjects – so useful when you don’t want to read once you’re back from office;
- practice questions for each subjects – again useful to test your knowledge once you’ve completed reviewing a subject;
- mock tests – QLTS School offers about 15 mocks which is plenty practice for the assessment.
I took the February 2017 MCT sitting and I started preparing towards the end of November 2016. Looking back, I think I should have started earlier because I remember getting a bit stressed during December and January when I couldn’t clear the QLTS School mock tests. I found the questions to be a bit tricky – they do require you to have deeper knowledge of the subjects than just a cursory understanding. Because Indian law is derived from English law, I thought I would find it easy, but I was wrong.
Bottom line, prep time varies from person to person. To be on the safer side and to leave some buffer, it may be a good idea to start about four months before the test.
It’s always better to balance reading the books, watching the videos, and practising questions, rather than focus on only one of the three. For instance, I used to watch videos a day and then focus on practising questions the next. This way you can tailor your study strategy as per the type of questions that appear in the exam. You also figure out the important topics under each subject.
I did not read the books threadbare, I only focused on the topics that I deemed important, after having viewed the videos and practised some of the subject practice questions.
If there is a particular topic in a subject that is consuming too much time, then perhaps you could just get a cursory knowledge of that topic and not spend too much time on that particular topic at the expense of the others. For instance, as I started my preparations a bit late, I realized I couldn’t spend too much time with all those tax calculations. I am generally good at math, but trying to grasp the concepts were time-consuming – so I decided to understand the concept in general, but otherwise, guess during the test and move on to the next question.
The objective is to pass the assessments and the pass mark is set by the SRA. There is no negative marking and you are scored on the basis of the number of correct answers, regardless of your performance on each subject.
Test Day Strategy
Keep to yourself and just focus on keeping a calm mind during the test.
Calculate how much time you should spend on each question – you have about a minute and a half for each question. If you find yourself delving too much on a question, guess the answer, flag it, and move on to the next. You can always get back to the question later. Just make sure you pick an answer, lest you are not able to get back at it later – at least you will have a 1/5th chance of having picked the right answer.
I hope you found the above useful.
All the best,