When the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) announced the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), one of the biggest changes was that prospective solicitors were no longer required to have completed a qualifying law degree, law conversion course, or to follow a specific solicitor training programme.
What is required to qualify under the SQE route?
Although specific legal training is no longer required by the SRA, you will still need to have a degree (although this can be in any subject) OR a qualification or experience that is equivalent to a degree (such as a solicitor apprenticeship), pass both stages of the SQE (SQE1 and SQE2) and complete two years’ Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). After this, you’ll need to pass the SRA’s character and suitability assessment.
Can I sit the SQE without a preparation course?
While the SQE offers flexibility for you to qualify as a solicitor, it is crucial to understand that the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to sit the exams remains the same. Preparing for these rigorous and challenging exams will take serious commitment and dedication.
SQE1 comprises two Functioning Legal Knowledge exams, FLK 1 and FLK 2, which assess a range of core practice areas, including: Civil and Criminal Litigation, Business and Dispute Resolutions, Criminal Law, and Property Law and Practice. The exams are each made up of 180 questions, with candidates having 2 hours and 33 minutes to complete each paper, with an hour long break in between.
Multiple choice questions may sound simple enough – but these questions actually outline several possible answers, from which you will need to choose the ‘single best answer’.
SQE2 assesses your skills, and includes face-to-face assessments for oral skills, such as Client Interviewing, Advocacy, and Legal Analysis. There are also online assessments which test your written skills, such as Legal Research, Legal Writing, Legal Drafting, and Case and Matter Analysis.
These are high-pressured assessments, and you will need to be able to recall knowledge quickly, as well as possess a deep understanding of the topics that are assessed.
Passing first time
The SQE are centralised exams provided by Kaplan Ltd, and the cost of sitting both amounts to £3,980. Resit fees are also high – £1,558 for both SQE1 papers (or £779 for one paper), and £2,442 for SQE2.
Studying a high-quality SQE preparation course that is right for you means that you’ll be able to sit the exams with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pass first time and avoid the costly resit fees.
Passing the SQE1 and SQE2 won’t be enough for many legal recruiters. Our research shows that 77% of firms expect future trainees to have undertaken legal training and gained fundamental legal knowledge and skills before they begin their QWE.
If you are from a non-law background and hold a degree in another subject area, it is critical that you explore law preparation courses that will be able to provide you with the knowledge and skills, not only to pass the exams, but to be ready for a successful career in industry.
Choosing the right SQE course for you
One of the greatest benefits to the SQE route to qualification is the flexibility it allows – and choosing which course is right for you is really down to your own personal circumstances.
You may choose to study online or in-centre, full-time or part-time. You may decide a standalone course to prepare you for the exams is enough, or you may prefer to study a more comprehensive programme.
Our approach to the SQE
At BPP, we have worked extensively with law firms, regulators, and professional bodies to develop the best possible SQE training for future solicitors like you – meaning you can be confident that recruiting firms will trust in the quality and professional relevance of your knowledge and skills.
Benefit from our rigorous approach to teaching and learning that ensures a deep understanding of the topics on the SQE curriculum. You’ll be able to recall your knowledge quickly and apply your legal skills accurately – which is absolutely crucial for success in the SQE.
Our unique AI platform, BPP Adapt, tracks your learning to ensure you’re able to gain an accurate view of your progress so you can understand your strengths and areas for improvement.