SQE Assessments – Becoming an English Solicitor
The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the national assessment to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales and is administered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The SQE will come into force in September 2021.
Watch this video presentation to learn more about the SQE exams:
Format of the SQE
The SQE exam involves two stages:
SQE1 – Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK): this part tests the knowledge and understanding of various legal practice areas SQE1 includes two FLK assessments each with 180 multiple choice questions. The assessment is offered across two days and lasts about 10 hours in total.
To pass SQE1, you need to show to the SRA that you are able to apply fundamental legal principles to given fact patterns and find a single best answer out of five alternatives. The questions will not focus on esoteric topics or assess the ability to cite cases or memorise the law.
While you can acquire basic knowledge by reading through textbooks, the application of knowledge can only be achieved by attempting multiple choice questions and mock tests in a similar format to the formal SQE1 assessment.
SQE2 – Practical Legal Skills Assessment: the second part of the SQE tests six skills: Interviewing, Advocacy (known as SQE2 Oral), Case and Matter analysis, Legal Research, Legal Drafting and Legal Writing (known as SQE2 Written). The assessment runs across five days. SQE2 is conducted in the context of five legal practice areas: Business Law, Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation, Property Practice, and Wills and the Administration of Estates.
The legal skills are assessed through 16 various simulated legal environments known as ‘stations’ using different techniques. These include actors as interviewed clients and writing legal reports to clients or partners of the firm.
There is a single pass mark for SQE2 oral and written, and you must take the two parts at the same sitting. Law and skills are weighted equally in SQE2.
- You must first pass SQE1 before attempting SQE2
- Candidates are allowed to attempt each stage of the SQE three times within a six-year period
- You must complete both parts of the SQE within six years after attempting the first assessment
- The assessments are closed-book – you are not allowed to bring any materials with you into the exam
To qualify as a solicitor under the SQE route you must meet all the following conditions:
- have a degree in any subject (or equivalent qualification or work experience)
- pass both stages of the SQE assessment
- have two years’ qualifying work experience
- pass the SRA’s character and suitability requirements
This means that candidates from various backgrounds can pursue the SQE, including candidates with a law degree or non-law degree, paralegals, chartered legal executives, apprentices, and foreign qualified lawyers who hold a legal professional qualification which confers practice rights (which will allow those lawyers to be exempt from the qualifying work experience).
Questions about your eligibility should be addressed to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN, UK
Sitting the SQE Assessments
The SQE assessments are administered by Kaplan, the sole assessment provider that has been appointed by the SRA.
The SQE1 assessments are held in London, at other locations in the UK and in various locations around the world. The exam is delivered online (computer-based assessment) in conjunction with Pearson VUE. It will initially only be offered in the UK.
The cost to sit SQE1 is £1,558 and SQE2 is £2,422. Candidates do not have to pay VAT on SQE exam fees.
There are no formal steps you need to comply with in order to sit the SQE assessments.
To check a test centre availability, use the Seat Availability function on the Pearson VUE SQE website.
Note that spaces are limited and subject to availability, so candidates are advised to book early to guarantee a place.
The results for SQE1 will be released within 6 weeks after the assessment date. The SQE2 results will be published within 14 weeks after the assessment.
Once you have passed the SQE assessments, fulfilled the qualifying work experience requirement and the SRA character and suitability test, you may apply for admission to the Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales.
SQE Preparation Courses
QLTS School offers preparation courses for the two elements of the SQE exams. Our courses combine comprehensive textbooks, video tutorials, mock exams, online resources and tutor support.
We have prepared thousands of candidates for the QLTS exams on which the SQE assessments are based and have valuable experience in this field.
Our preparation courses closely reflect the SRA’s Assessments Specifications and Kaplan’s requirements and will ensure your success in the SQE assessments.
Why should You Take a Course for the SQE Assessments?
Kaplan, the sole assessment provider, is not allowed by the SRA to offer preparation courses for the SQE assessments. The syllabus of the exam, however, is comprehensive and covers the entire corpus of English law.
It is therefore vital that you prepare for the SQE assessments with a course provider that understands your needs and that will provide you with the right guidance so that you can pass on your first attempt.
Key Information about QLTS School’s SQE Preparation Courses
QLTS School’s course enables you to study in your preferred environment, from home, the office, or on the move, at your own pace. Our training programmes are designed for candidates who can prepare either full-time or part-time.
The courses can also be used by candidates from different backgrounds – either local UK candidates with little or extensive legal experience or overseas lawyers who are qualified in a common law or civil law jurisdiction.
Whatever your background is, you will benefit from our professional guidance and many years of experience of preparing candidates for an exam in a similar style to the SQE.
Here are some key elements of our courses:
- Flexible, comprehensive, and affordable courses for the two parts of the SQE assessment
- A series of professionally written textbooks, which cover all the subject areas assessed in the examination
- Revision notes and summaries of the main legal concepts and key areas
- Digital flash cards with short questions and answers
- Periodic updates of the course material
- Dozens of mock tests simulating exam conditions
- A video library with 60+ lectures that you can watch on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android device
- Expert law tutors and legal skills trainers with many years of experience in teaching candidates for the QLTS assessments
- Legal skills videos and live workshops
- Special arrangements for overseas candidates based outside the UK
- Personalised consultations and step-by-step study plans from the moment you start your preparation
Our SQE1 preparation course gives you everything you need to pass the assessment. You do not need to buy any other material, and you can study whenever and wherever you want.
What is Included in our SQE1 Course?
Our preparation course for SQE1 includes the following:
- 18 comprehensive textbooks in a hard copy format – the books contain over 3,200 pages in total and cover all areas of practice required by the SRA in SQE1
- Course Handbook explaining the fundamentals of the assessments, structure of the preparation course, suggested study guide and test administration procedures, protocols, and policies
- SQE Video Library with 200+ tutorials with professional presentations, spanning 60+ hours of lectures. You can watch a preview of the videos on your PC, iPad, iPhone, or Android devices
- Revision notes summarising the key points and main legal principles on each subject
- 5,000+ digital flash cards – short questions and answers on each of the topics covered by the syllabus
- 2,500+ multiple choice practice questions with detailed solutions
- 30 mock exams with 90 questions each that will enable you to test your progress and simulate a real test, with mixed questions and a time limit similar to the formal assessment. Access two sample tests with 90 questions each, including suggested solutions, for FLK1 and FLK2
- Free periodic updates of the course materials
- 2 hours of tutor support
- Initial guidance and customised study plan prepared by one of our expert tutors
The practice questions, mock tests, flash cards, revision notes, and updates to the course materials are available on our online training system. Access to the online training is for two consecutive sittings of SQE1, or until you have passed SQE1, whichever happens first.
There is no specific or pre-determined pass mark for SQE1, as this is determined by a special ‘Standard Setting Panel’ convened by the SRA after the assessment. Your results are measured in comparison to the standards expected of a newly qualified solicitor, This means you must obtain a high score to pass.
SQE1 Course Packages and Fees
We offer three packages for SQE1:
- Basic: textbooks, revision notes, flash cards, practice questions, and 10 mock tests – £1,590
- Advantage: textbooks, revision notes, flash cards, practice questions, video library, and 30 mock tests – £1,990
- Premium: textbooks, revision notes, flash cards, practice questions, video library and 30 mock tests, a customised study plan, and two hours of tutor support – £2,390
Delivery of the textbooks is free within the UK, £60 to Europe and the US, and £110 to other destinations.
Learn more about our SQE1 course packages or to sign up for the preparation course.
QLTS School’s preparation course for SQE2 features a unique approach for the practical assessment. Our course combines practice area summaries, digital flash cards, video library, legal skills video workshops, online resources, and mock exams for self-assessment with model answers.
You are expected to understand the relevant legal principles, explain those to the client or partner using accurate and timely advice, know which documents to use and also draft various documents and forms in various contexts.
What is Included in our SQE2 Course?
Our preparation course for SQE1 includes the following:
- Course Guide – covering the structure, methodology, and marking criteria of the assessment, as well as study guides and test administration procedures, protocols, and policies
- Practice area summaries – the essential elements of the substantive and procedural law are summarised and divided into sections which cover the main topic tested on the assessment
- 2,000+ digital flash cards that cover the legal practice areas
- SQE Video Library with 80+ online tutorials, spanning 20+ hours of lectures which cover the substantive and procedural law
- Practice questions – the questions include multiple exercises based on a single scenario/case study common to that practice area
- 15 English writing tasks – these are intended to help you improve your writing skills in a professional capacity
- Up to 250 mock exams with suggested solutions for self-assessment – View these sample SQE2 mock exams
- Free periodic updates for the course material
- Access to SQE Skills Online – an interactive online tool to prepare for the practical assessment, with more than 60 exercises and a 130-page textbook viewable online
- Legal Skills Video Workshops – the workshops include 100+ videos with nearly 20 hours in total and summaries with key points of about 70 pages. The videos on interviewing and advocacy include role-play scenarios, commentary and tips for success delivered by an expert tutor.
- Initial consultation and a tailor-made study plan prepared by an expert tutor
- Mock practice stations with one-to-one tutor feedback in client interviewing and advocacy. The mock stations will be conducted via Skype, Facetime, or telephone, and be marked by one of our tutors based on the SRA marking criteria
- Live workshops in London to help you improved your interviewing advocacy and oral presentation skills (optional)
Maximum Flexibility: Study Anytime, Anywhere
The course will be delivered online so you can study from a variety of locations: from home, the office, or any location around the world, using your computer, tablet or mobile device.
SQE2 Course Packages and Fees
There are three packages for the SQE2 preparation course (fees vary based on: (i) the number of mock exams for self-assessment (ii) if you wish to receive an initial consultation, a customised study plan, and personal tutor feedback in client interview and advocacy):
- Basic – £1,590 (50 mock exams)
- Advantage – £1,990 (125 mock exams plus an initial consultation, and a tailor-made study plan, two mock stations with tutor feedback)
- Premium – £2,390 (250 mock exams plus an initial consultation, and a tailor-made study plan, four mock stations with tutor feedback)
The SQE2 Live Workshops are offered for an additional cost on a one-to-one basis (£650 (4 hours)/£1,300 (8 hours)) or in small groups of 3-6 people (8 hours, £500).
Learn more about our SQE2 course packages or sign up for the preparation course.