Chat with us, powered by LiveChat How To Qualify As A Solicitor - SQE - The Solicitors Qualifying Examination

About the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a single, national licensing examination, presenting a new route to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. The SQE route provides the opportunity for a wider range of people to qualify, with a variety of study options, less cost, and a flexible method of obtaining qualifying work experience.

What is the SQE route?

To qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales through the SQE route you will need to satisfy four main elements:

  1. Have a degree in any subject (or equivalent Level 6 qualification or work experience)
  2. Pass both stages of the SQE assessment or be exempt
  3. Have two years’ qualifying work experience
  4. Pass SRA character and suitability requirements

To allow flexibility in how you qualify, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has not stated any order in which you must complete the first three elements. You can choose when and how you complete each part to fit around your own commitments. For example, you can start to develop and collate your work experience before you take your SQE assessments.

SQE elements explained


Degree or equivalent

If you have a degree (in any subject), or equivalent qualification, you can meet this element. Equivalent Level 6 qualifications include apprenticeships and other forms of work experience in which learning has been completed successfully at Level 6.

For example, Law Training Centre offers the CILEx Level 6 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice. This qualification would meet the ‘degree or equivalent’ requirement.

Whilst it is also possible to take the first part of the SQE assessment stage before doing your degree / equivalent qualification, as there are no entry requirements to sit the SQE1 which is the first part of the SQE assessment stage, it is expected that most will complete their degree / equivalent qualification before or alongside preparing for the SQE assessments.


SQE assessment stage

The SQE assessment stage consists of two parts; the SQE1 testing knowledge and application of law known as Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK), and the SQE2 testing the application of legal skills and FLK. Each part is assessed as a pass or fail and you have three attempts at each within a six year period.


SQE1 assessment (Multiple Choice Questions on Functioning Legal Knowledge)

The SQE1 examines your legal knowledge, and your ability to apply this knowledge, in the following areas:

The emphasis of SQE1 is on testing how you can apply legal knowledge to practical situations. The SQE1 is made up of two separate assessments, FLK1 and FLK2, each consisting of 180 multiple-choice questions. Separate marks are awarded for each assessment, and in order to successfully pass SQE1 you must pass both the FLK1 and FLK2. If you do not pass one or both of the assessments you will be able to retake only the assessment that you failed, with a maximum of two re-takes within a 6 year period.

You can read more about the SQE1 assessment here.

SQE1 Prep Courses

Law Training Centre offers three flexible preparation courses for the SQE1 assessment. Each course is fully flexible and will help to support and prepare students to qualify as a solicitor in a way that fits around your existing work/life commitments. You can benefit from choosing a course which best fits your needs, depending on your existing legal knowledge and experience:

  1. SQE1 Prep Flexi-Learn: Our most comprehensive course with course materials, a Personal Academic Coach, tutor support, live workshops. All year-round enrolment available with up to 15 months course access allowing access for at least 2 SQE1 exam sittings.
  2. SQE1 Prep Exam-Track: Recommended for those who have recently obtained a UK law degree with 2:1 or above and/or with practice experience, this is another comprehensive course with access to unlimited tutor support, on demand learning content and live workshops. Our Exam-Track has set enrolment windows opening 7 months before the specified exam sitting window and closing 3 months before.
  3. SQE1 Just Mocks: A course containing over 2000 practice questions to test your knowledge. Ideal if you are confident in your legal knowledge and you are seeking to practice multiple choice questions and gain mock experience before taking your exams.
SQE2 assessment (Practical Legal Skills)

The SQE2 Exam is divided into two parts, with a total of sixteen assessments.

  • SQE2 Oral – The SQE2 oral assessments take place over two half days with a total of four oral assessments to be completed.
  • SQE2 Written – The SQE2 written assessments will take place over three half days with a total of twelve written legal skills assessments.

This part of the SQE examines six categories of legal skills across five practice areas.

About SQE

You will need to demonstrate that you can apply fundamental legal principles in the skills-based situations covered by the SQE2 assessment specification in a way that would address your client’s needs and concerns.

In order to successfully pass SQE2 you must obtain the overall pass mark for SQE2. There is not a separate pass mark for SQE2 Oral and SQE2 Written, there is one pass mark for SQE2 as a whole. If you do not pass the entire SQE2 assessment must be retaken.

You can read more about the SQE2 assessment here.

SQE2 Prep Courses

Law Training Centre offers a flexible preparation course for the SQE2 assessment. Our course is fully flexible and will help to support and prepare you to qualify as a solicitor in a way that fits around your existing work/life commitments.

SQE2 Prep – A comprehensive course for each of the SQE2 legal skills within each practice area, with a Personal Academic Coach, tutor support, live workshops and up to 26 weeks of course access.

Qualifying Work Experience (QWE)

To satisfy the QWE element you will need to show that you have completed two years’ work experience. You can accrue this before, during or after completion of the SQE assessment stage.

You can utilise up to four different organisations to achieve completion of your QWE. For example, if you work in a paralegal role for six months you would then need to complete a further one year and six-month period of work experience.

Where can you complete QWE?

How to check if your situation counts as QWE?

How should you record QWE?

How is QWE confirmed?

If you are struggling to get your QWE confirmed, please visit the Access Law Clinic website to find out more about their ‘Review and Confirm QWE’ Service and how they can support you.

Standards of character

On application to be admitted as a solicitor, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will consider your character and suitability to work as a solicitor. This is important as the SRA expect certain standards to be met in relation to character and behaviour.

If you want to check any potential problems before then, you can complete an early character and suitability assessment with the SRA at any time however they are not bound, in any subsequent application for admission, by any decision made.

More information on this can be found here.

SQE Exemptions

SQE assessment exemptions are only available to qualified lawyers.  An exemption will mean that the qualified lawyer does not have to sit one or more of the assessments.

You must show how your qualifications and/or experience are based on a legal system that is not substantially different from that in England and Wales. If you cannot show this, the SRA not be able to grant exemptions from the assessments.

International qualified lawyers

Qualified Lawyers in England and Wales

Transitional arrangements

The transitional arrangements allow those who have already commenced their route to qualification via the QLTS or LPC to continue on that route or to choose the SQE.

Read more about the shift from LPC to SQE here.

QLTS route

LPC route

See what our SQE learners have to say…


Sunny is studying our SQE2 Exemption Plus course after receiving exemptions from the SRA for SQE1.
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Rebecca decided to study the SQE with Law Training Centre after hearing about our Access To Law SQE Scholarship.
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Sian is currently studying SQE1 Full Prep with us whilst working and looking after her three children.
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Law Training Centre offer such a variety of materials for a variety of learning styles...To have lots of different ways of stuffing information into my head is very, very helpful.

Katie Turquoise, SQE1 learner

My time at Law Training Centre has been extremely positive. I didn't realise how important the flexibility of this course would be to me, but it has made my time studying for the SQE2 so much easier.

Sunny Miah, SQE2 learner

The tutor support was brilliant. There really is no difference in the way you build a rapport with your tutor as you would with tutors on a real campus. They are very helpful and responsive.

Albert, SQE learner

If someone asked me about doing the SQE, I'd tell them to do it. Online learning has been great for my work-life balance, and becoming a solicitor is something you don't have to do from a classroom.

Rebecca Prince, SQE1 learner

The flexibility was invaluable because I work full time and was also in a different time zone. Being able to pay for the courses via instalments was also another big plus.

Nykola Shroll-Lee, SQE1 learner

The best thing about Law Training Centre is the level of support available to students. All of my tutors and peers have been incredibly helpful and supportive, and the lecturers are always happy to help and offer advice.

Sunny Miah, SQE2 learner

Why choose Law Training Centre?

As specialised legal trainers, we’ve trained over 3,500 learners from the UK and across the globe.

Our academic team are legal professionals and academic specialists that understand the requirements of the legal sector.

Unique, fully flexible online course delivery made to fit around your work and life commitments.

Unlimited tutor support for learners to help you accelerate your legal career and stand out from the competition.

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