SQE1 Exam: Structure, Topics, and Study Preparation Tips

SQE1 Exam: Structure, Topics, and Study Preparation Tips

Table of Contents

SQE1 Exam Overview

The SQE1 is the first part of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and is the new pathway to becoming a solicitor in England and Wales. The SQE 1 exam consists of two sessions, each lasting 2 hours and 33 minutes, with 90 questions per session. The two sessions cover different topic areas, with a lunch break in between. The SQE exams are split into the functioning legal knowledge (FLK) assessments. The FLK is furtherly split into the FLK 1 assessment and the FLK 2 assessment for which will cover a variety of core legal knowledge.

Topics Covered in SQE1 Exams

SQE FLK1 Topics:

  • Business Law and Practice
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Contract
  • Tort
  • Legal System of England and Wales
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law and EU Law
  • Legal Services

SQE FLK2 Topics:

  • Property Practice
  • Wills and the Administration of Estates
  • Solicitors Accounts
  • Land Law
  • Trusts
  • Criminal Law and Practice
  • Criminal Litigation

Pervasive Topics

Ethics and professional conduct are pervasive, being assessed throughout both SQE FLK1 and SQE FLK2.

Passing both FLK 1 and FLK 2 is mandatory before proceeding to the next stage of qualifying as a solicitor.

Study Approaches and SQE Preparation

Self-Study vs. SQE Prep Course

While self-study is an option, the SQE1 is challenging to tackle without at least going through guided materials or a SQE preparation course. The SRA’s specifications are reported by some to be not overly detailed, which may make it difficult to identify key areas to focus on without guidance.

Comparing SQE1 with Undergraduate Studies

The SQE1 is described as more challenging than undergraduate exams due to the vast amount of content that must be memorised. However, a disciplined approach with set working hours, weekly and daily to-do lists, and time blocking can make it manageable.

Financial Aspects and Working Part-Time

SQE Funding:

Some firms provide grants for living expenses and cover exam fees.

See here for more information about SQE funding options.

Part-Time Work:

Balancing a part-time job while studying for the SQE1 is feasible with effective time management. One student, for example, has a family to look after. She works full time and dedicates the same time periods of 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM for study every night, and then she does more studying on the weekend. Another individual estimated that they spent about 30 hours a week studying for SQE1, and this increased during the revision period.

SQE1 Exam Preparation

Establish a Daily Study Schedule for SQE1

It’s important not to underestimate the intensity of the SQE1 and the extensive volume of information it encompasses. Setting an early study schedule is key to success. The exam is closed book, and with just over a minute per question, being well-prepared is vital.

Consider the use of Time-Blocking

Allocating specific periods each day, exclusively for study, can significantly enhance focus and productivity. This approach ensures that other activities don’t encroach on your study time, fostering a disciplined routine and enhancing commitment to your study goals.

Become familiar with the SQE Assessment Specification

Check the SQE Assessment Specification right from the beginning. This will help you to identify the core legal subjects’ importance, which candidates often overlook. Some students found it helpful to use this specification to structure their learning, supplementing it with course materials to make notes on each section. Notably, Annex Four of the Assessment Specification is particularly useful as it outlines the contribution of each subject to the overall grade, guiding you on how much time to allocate to each section.

Note-Taking and Flashcards

Effective notetaking from provided materials and creating flashcards from the beginning of the course is crucial. Splitting the SQE notes and flashcard decks into manageable chunks, helps in thorough revision. Further, a structured approach using spaced repetition and reviewing SQE notes and flashcard decks multiple times, before the exam, enhances memory retention.

Develop Exam Technique Early

Given the unique nature of the SQE1 exam, particularly its tight time constraints, it’s essential to develop your exam technique right from the outset. With approximately 1.4 minutes per question, practising under time pressure from the start is beneficial. Over time, this practice leads to increased confidence, accuracy, and speed, ultimately improving grades. Understanding the nuances in question wording, such as the implications of words like “must,” “always,” “never,” and “may,” is also crucial. One candidate found it useful to read the answer options first, then the scenario, which helped eliminate incorrect answers quickly and focus on the relevant parts of the scenario.

Balancing Revision and Breaks

Taking breaks, helps prevent burnout and maintains study effectiveness.

Brigittes FLK: Your Partner in SQE1 Revision

Online Revision and Tutoring

Brigittes FLK is an online platform dedicated to helping you pass the SQE exams. Since 2017, we’ve been widening access to solicitor qualifications through our community of lawyers, law tutors, and students. Our platform continuously updates its SQE notes, practice questions, and tutorials, offering comprehensive revision support for your SQE preparation.

Flexible and Accessible Learning

Our supplementary revision materials allow you to help revise for the SQE1 exam at your convenience, from anywhere in the world, without the need for expensive classroom lessons or travel to study venues.

Final Words of Encouragement

This post aims to cover essential aspects of the SQE1 revision preparation, including study methods and exam preparation strategies. For further questions or a more detailed Q&A on the SQE1 exams, feel free to reach out.

Good luck to all who are either preparing for or about to take the SQE exams. Your dedication and hard work are the keys to success in this challenging journey towards becoming a solicitor.

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