How to pass the OSCE on your first attempt - Law Training Centre
OSCE tips

How to pass the OSCE on your first attempt

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) sounds formidable – and it’s no walk in the park. But the prize is dual qualification as the OCSE is the second of two QLTS assessments if you’re an international lawyer and want to practise English law.
To help, we’ll walk you through some hints and tips that address the key skills under the spotlight.
Candidates for examination are asked to apply each of 6 skills in the following 3 practice areas:
1. Business
2. Property and Probate.
3. Civil and Criminal Litigation.
Those legal skills are:
1. Client interviews
2. Completion of attendance notes/case analysis
3. Advocacy/oral presentation
4. Legal drafting
5. Legal research
6. Legal writing

Tips for doing client interviews

Assist your clients to identify their objectives – be as precise as possible. Collect information so clients can help decide how their aims can be achieved.
Be professional, competent, engaged and courteous so the client trusts you.
1. Welcome the client. Make sure they’re comfortable.
2. Explain your role.
3. Use open questions: encourage the client to explain the situation. Advise, inform and consider the merits of the case including whether the results will justify the expense and risks. Inform the client about any commonplace problems that may occur, and the various possible outcomes.
4. Agree the service and explain the process.
5. Confirm timings and costs.

Tips for writing case notes

Follow this guide:


Focus on the materials (important) facts that you need to know in order to understand and summarise the case.


Set out the legal questions of law discussed in the case.


How did the judge or judges reach the decision? How did they consider precedent, statute and/or policy? Was the judgment unanimous? Can you identify the ratio decidendi and any obiter dicta?


How does the judgment hold up? What was its impact? Would a different approach have been better?

Tips for writing case notes

  • Open clearly and persuasively by explaining the essence of the case plus the two or three issues you will discuss.
  • Make eye contact with the judges. Treat your oral presentation as a conversation with them and an exchange of ideas. Do not lecture or preach.
  • Ask if you do not understand a judge’s question. Put yourself in the judges’ shoes. Try to work out what they’ll do.
  • Concentrate on why you are right rather than why your opponents are wrong.
  • Concede if it doesn’t lessen your argument.
  • Tips for legal research

  • Before you start you research, ask yourself, “What is the client trying to achieve and what could help or damage that client?”
  • Use Boolean search terms combining keywords with modifiers such as AND, NOT and OR to yield better results.
  • Cases which don’t have to have outcomes you seek can still be useful to your research.
  • Tips for legal drafting and writing

  • First, consider who you are writing for.
  • Be concise and clear. Use short sentences whenever possible with active language.
  • Define your technical terms so you don’t confuse your audience.
  • Punctuate properly.
  • Be grammatically correct.
  • Ensure your sections are logical and easy to follow.
  • Watch your imperatives. Don’t use “should” when you mean “must”.
  • Synonyms add variety to non-legal language but in legal language they can add confusion! Use terms consistently.