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SQE FAQS

Below are a number of FAQs that you may have about the SQE. If you have a question not considered below, please get in touch with the team  where we will endeavour to answer your questions.

The SQE is the new form of assessments put forward by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority. SQE stands for ‘Solicitors Qualifying Examination’ and consists of two assessments:

SQE 1: This is composed of two assessments called functioning legal knowledge assessments (the FLK 1 and the FLK 2) which will assess you on various practical legal concepts and topics.

SQE 2: This is composed of one exam also assessing you on various practical legal concepts and topics.

Whilst you do not need to have a degree (law or otherwise) to sit the SQE1 assessments, you cannot be admitted as a solicitor without a degree or an equivalent qualification. Even if you have completed the SQE 1, you will still need to obtain a degree (not necessarily in law) to be able to later on be qualified as a solicitor.

You are not required to undertake an SQE-preparation course in order to undertake the SQE1 assessments. However, if you wish to consider an SQE-preparation course, visit the Revise SQE website at revise4law.co.uk for a list of providers.

From 2023, SQE1 sittings will take place on a regular pattern of two SQE1 sittings per year: January and July. The SRA aims to start each SQE assessment in the third week of the relevant month. Dates will be published 12 months before the relevant assessment. The SRA is likely to introduce additional sittings in the future.

You will need to register for the SQE before you are able to book an assessment. You will need to create an account and activate it before logging in. Once you are logged in you will be able to book an assessment.
Registration for the SQE includes ID verification where you will need to provide a valid, official photo identification. You will also need to complete a diversity survey which will cover questions with regard to your education, background and ethnicity.

Furthermore, you will be asked of any exemptions (for example you may already be a qualified lawyer for which taking the SQE 1 to qualify as a solicitor will therefore be unnecessary). Lastly, you will be asked to state whether any reasonable adjustments are to be made to help ensure that you are able to sit assessments in the best conditions possible.

After having gone through all this, you will be able to book your assessment at a date which is convenient for you. It would be advised to book a particular assessment date at your earliest convenience as bookings are based on a first come first served basis.

When you register for the SQE, you have to provide a valid, official photo identification. You will need to upload an image of your ID when you register, to allow the SRA to authenticate it and verify your identity. Suitable ID includes a passport or photocard driving licence. The SRA recommends using a passport.

You must bring two forms of ID with you to both of your SQE1 assessments – a ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ form of ID: The primary form of ID must include a photograph of you (eg, a photocard driving licence or passport). The secondary form of ID must contain your full name and signature (eg, a signed debit or credit card). The SRA warns that if you fail to present the correct forms of identification, you will be denied entry to the examination and forfeit your examination fee. Furthermore, the name on your ID must exactly match the name you provided when you registered with the SQE.

Under the Equality Act 2010, the SRA has an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for any person who has a disability. Whilst all candidates must be assessed against the Statement of Solicitor Competence and the Statement of Legal Knowledge, and must reach the Threshold Standard to qualify, reasonable adjustments will be made to ensure that candidates with disabilities are not disadvantaged. It is the responsibility of the candidate to identify that they require reasonable adjustments when they register for the SQE1 assessments, and supporting evidence is required. It is recommended that if you declare your need for any reasonable adjustments as soon as possible so that sufficient time is given for the SRA to review your request and organise any agreed adjustments. Reasonable adjustments are determined and afforded on a case-by-case basis, but can include additional time and breaks, a separate room, a reader and many more. The SRA has published a guide on reasonable adjustments for SQE on their website (sqe.sra.org.uk).

There is no dress code for SQE1. You can wear what you feel comfortable in, but you may be asked to remove bulky external clothing during security checks. You are advised to wear sufficient layers of clothing to ensure you are comfortable, depending on the room temperature at the test centre.

If you have completed the LPC you will be exempt from having to take the SQE 1 and can qualify as a lawyer via a training contract or through taking the SQE 2. If you are already a qualified lawyer you will most likely be exempt from taking the SQE 1.

Following the SQE1 assessment, if you feel that something has happened that could affect your performance during the assessment, you can submit a claim for ‘mitigating circumstances’. These include: a mistake or irregularity in the administration or conduct of the assessment evidence of bias in the conduct of the assessment subject to the Fit to Sit Policy and SQE Assessment Regulations, a candidate’s illness or other personal circumstances beyond their reasonable control, which have materially and adversely affected their marks or performance in the assessment, or are likely to. Disagreement with the academic judgment of the assessors cannot amount to mitigating circumstances.

The SRA states that all SQE 1 assessments are based on a ‘fit to sit’ policy’. This means that if you are able to attend an assessment and start the assessment, you declare that there is no reason why your performance during the assessment could be affected. Therefore, if you are ill or a close relative is severely ill or has passed away you may be able to apply for mitigating circumstances.

To make a claim for mitigating circumstances you must declare your claim in writing to the Kaplan SQE team within 5 working days of the end of the assessment window. You can make your claim for mitigating circumstances using the Mitigating Circumstances Form provided for by the SRA.

You will get your results approximately 5–6 weeks after sitting SQE1. The SRA will send you an email notifying you that the results are available in your SQE account. Results will only be posted within your account on the SQE website and will not be sent out to you. You will be able to save them as a PDF.

For each FLK assessment, you will receive information about the date of the assessment, the date of the transcript, the attempt number of that sitting, the pass mark for that FLK (expressed as a percentage), your mark for the assessment (expressed as a percentage), your quintile score (ie, where you are placed in your assessment, in comparison to everyone else who took the assessment with you) and your result (ie, whether or not you have passed).

Candidates are afforded a quintile score as part of their results for SQE1. Your quintile score tells you how you were placed in comparison to other candidates sitting the SQE. This score is likely to be relevant to employers. There are five categories: 1st (top) quintile candidates – the top 20% of performers 2nd quintile candidates – the next 21–40% 3rd quintile candidates – the next 41–60% 4th quintile candidates – the next 61–80% 5th quintile candidates – the final 81–100%.

Unless you have an exemption from sitting SQE1, you cannot book SQE2 until you have received your results for SQE1. Similarly, you cannot book to resit an SQE1 assessment until you have received the results for your previous attempt at that assessment.

You will only be allowed three attempts at both FLK1 and FLK2. These have to be taken within six years from the first attempt of an SQE assessment. The clock starts from the first day of the first assessment you sit. If you fail FLK1 and/or FLK2 three times during this six-year period, you must wait until that six-year period expires before reapplying, and previous passes will not be carried forward.

You cannot resit an assessment you have passed to improve your marks, under any circumstances.

The pass mark for each SQE exam depends on the exam itself. There is no one fixed pass mark for the SQE assessments. Each exam will be marked in accordance to the SRA’s SQE Marking and Standard and Setting Policy so that a ‘harder’ exam is not marked at the same level of an ‘easier’ exam.

In order to pass the SQE, you must pass both SQE1 and SQE2. SQE1 consists of two exams, FLK1 and FLK2, and you must achieve the necessary mark in both to pass SQE1 as a whole. If you fail either FLK1 or FLK2, you are only required to resit the assessment that you failed. You must also pass both SQE1 and SQE2 in order to apply to become a solicitor.

Yes, a fee is required if you have to resit either FLK1 or FLK2. The full SQE fee is required if a candidate has to resit both FLK1 and FLK2. The current resit fees are available on the SRA website.

Yes, there is a process for appealing against the decision of the Assessment Board. Any appeal must be made on one of the recognised grounds, and must be made in writing via the Appeals Form which is available in your candidate account. A fee is required to be paid to submit an appeal; this fee is refundable if your appeal is upheld. The SRA has published an Appeals Policy, available on its website.

This will depend on where you do you SQE preparation. Generally speaking, the cheapest option would be to do SQE preparation through self – study. However, by doing an actual preparation course which is supervised by a tutor you will have a better chance at passing the SQE 1. Please take a look at the list of SQE 1 preparation course providers here.

Yes, the LPC qualification will still be seen as a recognised qualification by the SRA. In order to qualify as a solicitor your next step would be to obtain a training contract or complete the SQE 2.

SQE exams will normally be spread out, however this may not always be the case as a result of test centre coverage and seat availability. SQE 1 exams should be at the third week of the month and SQE 2 exams should be in the final week of the month. Though these are indicative only, specific dates will be published by the SRA at least 12 months before the relevant assessment.

The SQE 1 is composed of two assessments called functioning legal knowledge assessments (FLK 1 and FLK 2). For FLK 1 you will answer 90 questions in the morning and another 90 questions in the afternoon for the same day with both assessment sessions lasting 2 hours and 33 minutes. The FLK 2 will be conducted in the same manner as FLK 1 and will be done a week or a few weeks later. Overall, you will have 360 questions, all of which are multiple choice. Therefore, each question has an average time of 1 minute and 42 seconds. The questions corresponding to the FLK 1 paper will be randomised and will cover the topics which correspond to FLK 1. This will be the same for FLK 2 except the questions will cover topics which correspond to FLK 2.

The FLK 1 and FLK 2 are separate assessments from each other which are composed of various topics. The FLK 1 covers one set of topics whilst the FLK 2 covers another set of topics.

FLK 1 will cover:

  • Business law
  • Constitutional and administrative law, and retained EU law
  • Contract
  • Dispute resolution
  • The legal system of England and Wales
  • Legal services
  • Tort

FLK 2 will cover:

  • Criminal law
  • Criminal litigation
  • Property practice
  • Land law
  • Solicitors’ accounts
  • Trusts
  • Wills and administration of estates
  • It must be noted that both the FLK 1 and FLK 2 assessments will also cover ethics and professional conduct issues which will be examined in both SQE 1 assessments.

To undertake the SQE 1, as an overseas student you must have completed a degree which is equivalent to a UK degree or a UK qualification through a UK National Information Centre. Furthermore, this particular degree needs to be an accredited qualification at level 6 (or above) of the European Qualifications Framework.

If you do not have a degree, you can take the SQE 1 if you can show work experience which is equivalent to a UK degree. This work experience must be of the standard of general education and learning and at level 3 equivalent of the Regulated Qualifications Framework. It must be noted that such work experience needs to be considerable work-based learning.

No, you do not need to undertake an SQE preparation course. However, an SQE preparation course will allow you to best prepare for the SQE assessments. You can do your SQE preparation course with a training provider and can find a list of training providers here.

At the time of writing, the SQE 1 exam will cost £1,798 which covers for the FLK 1 and FLK 2 exams which cost £899 respectively. You can book the dates for the FLK 1 and FLK 2 exam separately, however you must first pay for both of them in a single payment at the time of booking. Click here for more information. 

Yes, you can still take the SQE 1 even if you have not studied a law degree. However, it is recommended that you undertake an SQE preparation course so that you are best prepared for your SQE 1 exams, especially if you have never been introduced to law.

There are many factors to take into account over how long it will take you to prepare for your SQE 1 exams. For example, if you decide to undertake an SQE 1 preparation course as a part-time student it will naturally take you longer than if you are a full-time student as you will be studying less hours in a given week. Generally speaking, for a full-time student, it will take at least 15 to 20 hours a week for 5 to 6 months before you are ready to take the SQE 1 exams.

The SQE 1 is not challenging because of what you to learn but challenging because of the quantity you will have to learn in such a small amount of time. The SQE 1 exams themselves are very hard to pass given that you will only have 2 hours and 33 minutes to answer 90 multiple choice questions. This means you will have an average of 2 minutes and 10 seconds to answer each question.

To prepare for the SQE 1 exams you must become familiar with the questions formats of the multiple-choice questions. Lots and lots of practice is the key to succeeding on the SQE 1. You can do this by doing many practice questions or mock exams offered by your service provider or which can be found online. The final step would be to review your performance and focus on the weaker areas.

Yes, you will have 14 days from the date you booked the exam in order for your booking to be cancelled and with receipt of a full refund. To do this you need to fill in the Model Cancellation Form (found in the SRA’s terms and conditions) and contact the SQE Team in writing.

SQE 1 exams will take place in a Pearson VUE test centre. You can decide which test centre you wish to take your exam by booking your exam date on the SRA website. After booking you will receive an email confirming the date, location and duration of your exam. Click here more information on Pearson VUE test centres.

You can get further information with regard to the SQE 1 on the SRA’s website.

If you want to become a solicitor, you will now have to take the SQE 1 as well as the SQE 2 before you can qualify as a solicitor. The SQE 1 is the best way in obtaining the appropriate knowledge needed for becoming a solicitor as you will learn on a variety of legal topics.

The SQE 1 was introduced to replace the LPC as a more accessible path into law. This means that if you are an overseas student or a student with a non-legal background, the SQE 1 makes it easier for you to become a solicitor than it would have been under the old system.

The pass rate for the SQE 1 currently is 53% as of July 2023. However, the increase in pass rates is slowly increasing.

Whereas the LPC has a mixture of both written form and MCQs, the SQE 1 is comprised only of MCQ questions. Both the SQE and the LPC have their own challenges and which course you decide to undertake will largely depend on your learning style.

The SQE 1 FLK assessments will be conducted through closed book assessments. These means you will not be allowed to have any learning materials or revision notes with you during the exam.

Yes, you may be able to cover the cost of your SQE assessment and SQE preparation by taking out a bank loan or funding yourself privately. There is also the option of combining your SQE with a Master’s for which you will then be able to access postgraduate government funding through student finance.

Yes, the SQE makes it possible for you to be able to take your exam in most locations in the world. These assessments will be run in Pearson Vue Test Centres of which locations will be available to you when booking for an SQE exam.

You will only be allowed to take the SQE 1 on three attempts (this is the same for the SQE 2). You will then have to wait 6 years before you are allowed to take another SQE exam.

If you have qualified with an LLB and have not undertaken the LPC, there will be no exemption possible. Unfortunately, you will have to be reassessed on the many similar topics to those covered on the LLB. However, the SQE 1 also offers additional topics (depending on what electives you did on your LLB) such as Business Law. On the SQE 1 you will look at the practical side of law whereas the LLB is more of a theoretical side of law.

You do not need to learn about all the cases related to a topic. However, it would be advised to learn the cases which some legal analysis is based on to understand certain concepts. Current application of the law or a certain ‘legal test’ may come from a particular case. Understanding such a particular case will help you to understand and apply the law.

Yes, you may be able to qualify through the LPC route, however this is only the case if you have started the LPC course on or before 31st August 2021 or if the LPC is still provided for by a certain training provider. However, it must be noted that you will have until the 31st December 2032 to qualify as a solicitor or for as long as an LPC course is provided for by a training provider.

Yes, however the LPC will soon become outdated and by 2032, the LPC should be non – existent. Therefore, if you still hold an LPC qualification and is yet to qualify as a solicitor you are advised to apply to training contracts as soon as possible.

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