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Commercial Awareness Competition
Before the Competition
How do I know if I am eligible to apply?
You can find a full list of our eligibility to enter on our Key Information page here.
I have limited commercial awareness, should I still enter?
The Competition is a great way to implement an effective commercial awareness routine, gauge your current level of commercial awareness, build confidence as well as identify gaps in your knowledge to guide the development of your commercial awareness. Whether they’ve reached the Quarter Final or the Final, every AS Member has taken something valuable from participating in the last 8 years.
I’m on a year abroad, can I still participate in the Competition?
Yes, if you are seeking a training contract at a UK law firm, have Right to Work in the UK and are able to attend the latter rounds of the Competition (November and early December) which are in person. A maximum of £75 travel expenses per person is available per round.
I live permanently outside of UK and I am not a British Citizen. Can I enter the competition?
Unfortunately, to enter the Competition, you must be based in the UK for the purpose of attending the Semi-Final, Pre-Final Event and the Grand Final. Should you be one of the winning competitors, you would win six work experience/vacation scheme placements which would all take part in the UK and would require Right to Work in the UK.
I’ve been accepted onto the Aspire programme. Do I need to complete a form to enter the competition or am I auto enrolled?
Aspiring Solicitors strongly recommends Aspire candidates to consider entering the competition to be in a strong position for vacation scheme and training contract applications, but participation is not mandatory. Once you have been accepted onto the Aspire programme, you will receive an entry form for the Competition which you would need to complete should you wish to be involved.
If I’ve participated before, can I enter again?
Yes, you can; we have had ex-competitors enter on multiple occasions who have progressed as they have gained experience and confidence. This is often the case for competitors in the first year of university, however a first-year competitor was one of the winners in 2022.
What is the estimated time commitment of the Competition?
The competition would start in Autumn 2024 and would run until December 2024. Aspiring Solicitors would recommend dedicating at least 20 minutes per week to reading and developing your commercial awareness. The Preliminary Online Rounds would take less than 10 minutes to complete; the Quarter-Final would take 25 minutes; the Semi-Final runs from 9am until late afternoon. The Grand Final would include a Pre-Final Event, the Final itself (working day) and a Grand Final celebration event. If you are based outside of London, this may require an overnight stay.
However please note that competitors are likely to spend time outside of the above preparing for the competition so this would be a guide.
I’ve been accepted onto a winter vacation scheme; can I still participate in the Competition?
Congratulations! You would firstly need to check whether any of the key dates of the Competition clash with your vacation scheme. If there is a clash, it is up to you to manage this (e.g., you might be able to request some time away from your vacation scheme). If you are unable to negotiate any time away and you would miss a key stage, unfortunately you would not be able to progress with the Competition.
If you did not have a clash, your participation is secure as long as you do not have a training contract offer by the Grand Final date; we would encourage you not to place too much emphasis on the vacation scheme to the detriment of missing out on potentially another six vacation scheme or work experience opportunities should you not receive a training contract offer from the firm you are completing a vacation scheme for.
I haven’t received my pre-reading or a link for the Preliminary Online Rounds. What should I do?
The first place to check is your junk mail. If the email cannot be located, please email email@example.com.
When trying to begin my assessment in the Preliminary Online Rounds, I am being asked for a password, but I’ve not been provided with one. Is this correct?
If you are being prompted for a password, it means that you are attempting to access the assessment outside of the available time allocated to sit the assessment. The time slot will be outlined to you ahead of the round taking place. If the time slot has passed, then unfortunately this would mean you are unable to progress onto the Quarter Final.
Would I lose marks for incorrect answers?
We do not apply negative marketing (i.e., losing marks for incorrect answers) in any stage of the process. If you are unsure on an answer, you may wish to guess because this would not impact your performance negatively if it was incorrect.
If I skip a question (either on the Preliminary Online Assessments or during one of the latter rounds) will I be asked a substitute question?
You would not be asked a substitute question if you skipped a question at any of the stages. However, we appreciate that you may not be familiar with every topic so please try not to worry about this. You may wish to attempt the question on the basis that you would not be negatively marked or if you felt it would knock your confidence further, you could skip the question and prepare yourself mentally for the next opportunity to answer. For the Quarter, Semi or Grand Final, you may have the opportunity to take a question which one of your peers has skipped if you know the answer.
Do Aspiring Solicitors cover the travel costs for the in-person stages of the Competition?
Reasonable expenses are covered by the sponsoring law firms and corporate sponsors. To process the expenses, you must have a copy of your receipt (ideally a VAT receipt). When considering your mode of transport, Aspiring Solicitors would encourage you to travel consciously which would include booking flexible tickets in advance, using public transport where possible and staying in safe, reputable hotels if an overnight stay is required.
How do I prepare for the Aspiring Solicitors Commercial Awareness Competition?
You can view our hints and tips page which contains useful information on how to prepare for the Commercial Awareness Competition.
During the Competition
Will I have to enter as part of a team, or can I compete individually?
All entrants register as individuals, and you will not be required to form a team at any stage. Aspiring Solicitors will place entrants in teams at the Semi-Finals and Grand Final, but you will be assessed as an individual throughout, including for your ability to work in a team.
Can I post about the Competition on social media?
You are welcome to post about the Competition using #CAC2024, however please do not share any confidential information such as details of the questions. If you are in doubt about whether your post is appropriate, the best approach is to not post at all.
Can I use different email addresses during the Competition e.g., when completing online rounds?
When you register and supply a contact email address, you must use the same email address throughout the Competition e.g., when completing the online rounds and booking a Quarter-Final assessment slot. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.
How will I be contacted by Aspiring Solicitors?
All emails will be sent from an @aspiringsolicitors.co.uk email account. If you have registered but have not received an email from Aspiring Solicitors, please ensure that you check your spam and junk folders in your inbox.
The most common reason not to receive an email from Aspiring Solicitors is due to submitting an incorrectly spelled email address or using an ac.uk email address which may block emails from Aspiring Solicitors. Please enter your email address with care every time you are asked to do so and make sure to use a personal email address only.
I’m not available for one of the rounds, are alternative dates available?
The date and time of each round cannot be revised or rescheduled. If there is a significant issue preventing your participation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name and reason for non-participation at least 48 hours in advance of the relevant round of the Competition.
What do I need to complete the online rounds?
A PC/tablet/mobile phone with a reliable internet connection is all you need.
We recommend a download speed minimum of 5 Mbps.
Can I use revision notes for the online rounds?
No resources that may give you an unfair advantage, such as internet resources e.g., search engines, newspapers, journals, or notes, are permitted during the Competition. Use, or suspicion of use of these, or similar resources, will result in automatic disqualification.
What happens if my internet goes down when I’m completing the online rounds?
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in a suitable location with an appropriate internet connection to complete the online assessment.
Should you lose connection/miss the assessment time, we will not be able to reschedule your assessment and therefore you will not progress to the next round.
Please note that the Preliminary Online Rounds can be completed via mobile which can be more reliable (4G or 5G signal).
When will I be informed if I am successful at each round of the Competition?
You will be contacted by email in the week following the relevant round.
I am given additional time for timed assessments at university, will this apply to the Preliminary Online Rounds?
Aspiring Solicitors is an organisation which recognises and supports the need for diverse talent and as such, want to support applicants with reasonable adjustments. You can see AS’ full guidance for reasonable adjustments here.
As part of the entry form, you will have the opportunity to request additional time and submit supporting medical evidence. Please ensure you complete this section of the form carefully.
For more guidance on our approach to reasonable adjustments, please visit our Support and Guidance page here. If this does not answer your query, please email email@example.com.
What happens if halfway through the Competition I get a training contract?
If you secure a Training Contract during the Competition, you must inform Aspiring Solicitors so that the organisation can firstly congratulate you and secondly remove you from the Competition, as unfortunately, the initiative is only open to Aspiring Solicitors members who do not have a Training Contract.
Following the Competition
Can I list the Commercial Awareness Competition on my CV?
Yes absolutely, this is a unique and industry-respected programme, so you are encouraged to add this to your CV or vacation scheme and training contract applications. Our sponsor firms will often use the Competition as a recruitment tool to find talented and commercially minded trainee solicitors.
If I win, will I be able to complete a vacation scheme with the sponsor firms?
Every sponsor organisation provides work experience, with the majority providing a vacation scheme to winners and often runners up (firms approach participants on an individual basis). Whether a sponsor firm offers a vacation scheme is dependent on their recruitment policy.
Do any of the winners get training contacts with the sponsor firms?
Yes, several winners have converted their vacation schemes into training contracts: an average of 85% of finalists secure a training contract.
If the above information does not address your query, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.