This page is subdivided so that you can look at the topic which is most relevant to you.

A note about Resilience

Firstly, making applications is HARD and time-consuming.  Each application will take you about 18 hours to complete; don’t panic too much this includes the background research also!   You all know that this is a competitive process and 99% of applicants will receive rejections at some point on their journey.  It’s almost a right of passage / a fact of life.  Become comfortable with this and learn from it in order to strengthen your next application.   Idin at Little Law has made a good video about overcoming rejection.   See it here 

Application forms

Application forms for both Vacation Schemes and Training Contracts are similar.   Essentially, they want to know:

  1. why you are interested in the firm in question
  2. why you want to be their type of lawyer i.e. why you want to be a solicitor in a firm with a commercial law practice or a regional solicitor in a full service firm, or a private client solicitor etc.
  3. what you have done to develop your understanding and knowledge of the legal industry
  4. what relevant skills you have

Applying for a vacation scheme is as rigorous as for a training contract – do not underestimate the application process.

All application forms will ask for your personal details and education and work history.   Some application forms will ask you a series of specific questions with a word limit and others may ask for a personal statement.  Occasionally, you also have to upload a covering letter and/or a CV in addition to completing the application form.

Resources/further reading:

CV’s & Cover Letters


Assessment centres/assessment day

Assessment days can be nerve-wracking but the key to enjoying them and performing well is to be prepared.   They may be online or in person; half a day or a whole day.   Read the invitation you have been sent as it is likely that there will be details of what to expect.  If not, use the legal carers websites and forums to find out about other applicants’ experiences on the day (but remember that firms don’t always stick to the same format and they will have a range of different ‘tests’).

Typically an assessment centre/day will consist of some/all of the following:

  • psychometric tests (some kind of English and/or numeracy test.  Situational judgment or critical thinking tests are now common)  – you may already have taken one at the early stage of the recruitment process but doing one in the assessment centre will evidence your consistency
  • A group exercise where you will be given a legal or commercial problem to consider.  Usually, you are asked how you would approach advising the client.   You are not expected to know the law – this is more about your problem solving skills/how you approach it, teamwork and commercial awareness.
  • An interview.  Some firms automatically interview you at an assessment day.  Sometimes it will just be the ‘first interview’ with a second interview at some future date.   Some firms run the assessment part of the day in the morning and interview those whom they are interested in during the afternoon (with the unsuccessful leaving at the end of the morning session).  Others do not interview at all on the assessment day.  Your invitation should tell you what to expect.

This is a useful article about assessment days

Practise psychometric tests

Practice will reduce your nerves and improve your performance.

The following practice tests are available:

The Watson Glaser Test

Many of the city/commercial firms use this test which is essentially a version of the critical thinking/verbal reasoning test.

Read more about this test:

Free practice tests:

Paid for practice

There are a range of providers who offer practice tests.   Only buy these if you are really struggling and you have already used all of the free ones.   I’m not endorsing this provider but here is one where you can get a 1 – 3 month membership:   Be careful to ensure that you do cancel your subscription.

Other resources

Situational Judgment / Critical Thinking Tests

The following websites will help you to understand Situational Judgement Tests.