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BARBRI candidates outperform SRA average by 13%

BARBRI candidates outperform SRA average by 13%


Global legal education provider BARBRI has announced that it is tracking at a 66% reported pass rate for the latest SQE1 exam, a staggering 13% higher than the average SRA pass rate (53%)

Held in July with results announced at the end of last month in England and Wales, the SQE1 assessment saw 3,400 hopeful candidates enrolled, more than 800 of which undertook a preparation course with BARBRI.

  • Over 800 BARBRI candidates were enrolled on the July assessment
  • 66% of BARBRI candidates reported passing compared to the 53% industry average
  • For those who completed 90% of their Personal Study Plan (PSP) with BARBRI, the pass rate was 77%

In the lead-up to the exam, BARBRI offered a range of 40-, 20- and 10-week SQE1 Prep courses to cater to aspiring lawyers from diverse backgrounds. Now, the provider is reporting a 66% first-time pass rate, as confirmed by its students, compared to the SRA’s 56% average.

Key SQE1 results from BARBRI indicate:

  • For those who completed 90% of their Personal Study Plan (PSP) with BARBRI, the pass rate was 77% (for the July 2023 sitting)
  • Candidates who had completed some Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) achieved a 70% average pass rate 
  • 67% pass rate for candidates from public schools with fee-paying school candidates just slightly higher (69%)

Lucie Allen, managing director for BARBRI, said: "This is a momentous occasion for aspiring lawyers pursuing the SQE route to qualification, and we’re proud to play our part. With over 800 candidates preparing for the SQE1 with BARBRI ahead of the July exam, we’re currently tracking at an average 66% pass rate, although we appreciate final figures may vary slightly depending on candidate feedback. 

“Our candidates have continued to exceed the average industry pass rate and not only does this highlight that our tried-and-tested preparation methods can be successfully applied to the SQE, but also that our students have confidence in us - our tutors, resources, and technology.

"We would now encourage those who passed to consider proceeding directly to SQE2 ready for the April 2024 exam, especially if they're in the flow of exam preparation and study. Those choosing to prepare with BARBRI will benefit from one-to-one mentorship support and a personal study plan to help them navigate this learning journey."

However, SRA official figures continue to show worrying attainment gaps which have been prevalent across SQE sittings. While the pass rate for the SQE1 assessment in July 2023 for White candidates was 66%, the pass rate for Black/ Black British candidates was almost half that at 34%. Data shows that 49% of Asian candidates passed, and there was a 55% pass rate for Mixed/Multiple Ethnic Groups also. 

Yet ethnicity data from BARBRI SQE1 sitters to date paints a more promising picture (for those who have chosen to share their information). 52% of Black candidates, 58% of Asian candidates and 69% Mixed/Multiple Ethnic Group candidates have reported passing. Data from the learning provider also reveals that 47% of all BARBRI SQE1 sitters to date have indicated that English is not their first language but have performed similarly to those who indicate English is their first language (66% vs 68% respectively). Additionally, over 42% of candidates attended schools outside of the UK, 68% of which reported passing. 

Lucie continued: “It’s genuinely concerning to see such a large attainment gap in the latest SRA data. We appreciate that the SQE was introduced to improve diversity and inclusion across the profession. However, if this is not properly addressed, we cannot possibly create a profession that is more representative of society today. As part of our BARBRI Bridges initiative, we are collaborating with firms, in-house teams, charities, and higher education institutions to help create more opportunities for candidates across all backgrounds and have pledged over £200,000 so far through a series of scholarships, funding opportunities and more. 

“However, while initial access to the SQE is important, it’s vital that the course material also accommodates all learners when these opportunities arise. This is why we’ve created a learning structure that incorporates data-driven personalised learning. We do not rest on our laurels but are constantly evolving thanks to the latest in L&D research.”