Demystifying the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Format

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Demystifying the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Format

Are you considering a career in law and are wondering what it takes to become a qualified solicitor in England and Wales? The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the new assessment framework that will replace the existing route to qualification, and it’s essential to understand its format to adequately prepare for the exams.

In this article, we will demystify the SQE format, providing you with a comprehensive overview of what to expect and how to best prepare. Let’s dive in!

Understanding the SQE Format

The SQE is divided into two stages: SQE1 and SQE2. Each stage assesses different aspects of legal knowledge and practical skills, allowing aspiring solicitors to demonstrate their competence across various areas of law.


SQE1 is the first stage of the qualification process and tests candidates on their foundational legal knowledge. It consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and is further divided into two parts, each lasting 2.5 hours:

  1. Functioning Legal Knowledge 1 (FLK1): This part includes topics such as contract law, criminal law, and tort law. It assesses the candidate’s understanding of key legal principles and their ability to apply them to hypothetical scenarios.
  2. Functioning Legal Knowledge 2 (FLK2): FLK2 covers subjects like constitutional law, European Union law, and land law. It evaluates the candidate’s knowledge and application of legal concepts in more complex scenarios.

To maximize your chances of success in the MCQ section, it is vital to practice extensively before the exam. Practice exams like the SQE 1 Practice Exam Questions and SQE 1 Practice Mocks FLK1 FLK2 can help you familiarize yourself with the question format and assess your knowledge gaps.


Upon successful completion of SQE1, candidates move on to SQE2, which focuses on practical legal skills. SQE2 consists of a series of practical assessments, designed to evaluate the application of legal knowledge in various legal scenarios.

The practical assessments in SQE2 include:

  1. Client Interviewing and Attendance Note Writing: This assessment evaluates a candidate’s ability to conduct a client interview effectively and draft an accurate attendance note.
  2. Advocacy and Case Analysis: This assessment assesses a candidate’s oral advocacy skills and their ability to analyze a case and present legal arguments effectively.
  3. Legal Research and Legal Writing: Here, candidates are tested on their ability to conduct legal research and draft clear and concise legal documents.
  4. Legal Drafting: This assessment focuses on a candidate’s ability to draft common legal documents, such as contracts and letters.

To hone your practical skills, consider enrolling in SQE 2 preparation courses that provide hands-on training and practice in these specific areas.

Preparing for the SQE

Now that you have an understanding of the SQE format, let’s explore some tips for effective preparation:

  1. Create a study plan: As the SQE covers a wide range of legal subjects, it’s essential to create a study plan that allows you to allocate sufficient time to each topic while maintaining balance.
  2. Practice regularly: Consistent practice is key to success in the SQE. Make use of resources like practice exams and mock quizzes, such as the ones available for SQE1, mentioned earlier.
  3. Seek professional guidance: Consider enrolling in SQE preparation courses that are tailored to the specific requirements of the exams. These courses can provide you with expert guidance, study materials, and simulated assessments to help you familiarize yourself with the exam format.
  4. Stay updated: Keep yourself informed about the latest developments regarding the SQE, including any changes to the syllabus or exam dates. A great resource for this information is SRA SQE Exam Dates.

By following these tips and utilizing the available resources, you can enhance your chances of success in the SQE and take significant steps towards becoming a qualified solicitor.


The Solicitors Qualifying Examination can seem complex and overwhelming at first glance. However, by breaking down its format and understanding what to expect, you can approach it with confidence and prepare effectively.

Remember, practice is key, and leveraging resources like practice exams and preparation courses can greatly assist your journey towards becoming a qualified solicitor. Good luck!

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