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We asked a number of our trainees to share their top tips for those who are taking the FE-1 exams this year. Helen Brady, a trainee currently in our Public, Regulatory & Investigations team shares her tips.


Familiarise yourself with the materials, such as legislation, that you are allowed to take into the exam for each subject. You are not allowed to write notes on the materials but you are allowed to tab and highlight – it’s worth having done this in advance so you can refer to your materials easily and quickly in the exam. It can be difficult to get your hands on the legislation last minute so make sure to have your materials sorted well in advance of the exam to avoid stress.

Subject combinations

There is a certain overlap in content between various subjects, eg Criminal Law and Constitutional Law, Contract Law and Equity. It can help cut down on your study load if you take these subjects in the same sitting.

Breadth over depth

The FE-1 syllabus is much broader than the college syllabus and the topics that come up on the exams are much harder to predict. It is worth having a decent grasp of as many topics as possible rather than worrying too much about writing answers which are very in-depth. You have to answer five questions in three hours, or three and a half hours if sitting the exams online, so you won’t have time to write lengthy academic responses.


As already mentioned, most FE-1 exams require you to answer five questions in three hours, or three and a half hours if sitting the exams online. Go into the exam with a plan of how long you are going to spend reading the paper at the beginning, how long you will spend answering each question, and how long you will spend reviewing everything at the end. Make sure to stick strictly to this plan – you will get more marks for writing down the main information required for each question, rather than doing one perfect answer and leaving other questions unanswered.

Exam technique

If you have never taken an FE-1 exam before, it can be helpful to practice answering a few questions to hone your technique. As with college law exams, the most important thing is to apply the law to the facts of the question – don’t just tell the examiner what the law is. The FE-1s are about analysis, not just memory. The most useful examiner reports are those for Criminal Law and Company Law – these are worth consulting to know what those examiners are looking for.

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