Demystifying the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Format

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Demystifying the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Format

Are you a law student or aspiring solicitor looking to qualify in England and Wales? If so, it’s likely you have heard of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). This new qualification route, introduced in November 2021, has replaced the previous system of Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

The SQE is designed to test candidates’ knowledge and skills required to practice as a solicitor. It consists of two stages: SQE1 and SQE2. In this blog post, we will demystify the format of the SQE and provide you with essential information to help you prepare for this challenging examination.

SQE1: Assessing Foundational Legal Knowledge

The first stage of the SQE is SQE1, which is an assessment of foundational legal knowledge. It consists of two parts: multiple-choice questions and written questions.

The multiple-choice questions part comprises 180 questions, divided into two sections of 90 questions each. These questions test your understanding of various legal areas, including contract law, criminal law, property law, and more. To succeed in this section, it is crucial to have a comprehensive grasp of the core legal principles.

The written questions part of SQE1 requires candidates to analyze and apply legal knowledge to realistic scenarios. You will be asked to draft legal advice, prepare witness statements, or analyze case law. This section assesses your ability to think critically and apply the law to practical situations.

To ensure success in SQE1, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the foundational legal principles across various areas of law. Enrolling in a comprehensive SQE preparation course, such as those offered by top course providers, can greatly enhance your chances of success.

SQE2: Testing Practical Legal Skills

SQE2 is the second stage of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination and focuses on testing practical legal skills. This stage evaluates a candidate’s ability to apply legal knowledge and skills within realistic legal contexts. SQE2 is further divided into two parts: skills assessment and oral examination.

In the skills assessment, candidates are assessed on specific legal skills, including advocacy, client interviewing, legal research, and case analysis. These assessments are conducted via role-plays and written exercises, closely simulating real-life scenarios. This stage gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to interact effectively with clients and apply legal knowledge to practical situations.

The oral examination component of SQE2 assesses your ability to present legal arguments effectively. You will be required to present a legal analysis of a given scenario and answer questions posed by assessors. This stage aims to evaluate your oral communication skills, legal reasoning, and ability to think on your feet.

Preparing for SQE2 requires a combination of practical skills development and thorough theoretical knowledge. Utilize resources like SQE resources to enhance your skills and stay updated with the latest legal developments.

Preparing for Success

Now that you have a better understanding of the format of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), it’s time to embark on a comprehensive preparation journey. Here are some essential tips to help you prepare effectively:

  1. Start Early: The SQE is a rigorous examination that requires dedicated preparation. Begin your preparation well in advance to allow sufficient time for study and practice.
  2. Enroll in a Reputable Course: The SQE preparation courses offered by top providers, as reviewed in this comprehensive review, can greatly enhance your chances of success. Choose a course that aligns with your learning style and provides comprehensive coverage of the SQE syllabus.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice: Familiarize yourself with the format and style of questions asked in the SQE through regular practice. Solve past papers, engage in mock assessments, and seek feedback to identify areas of improvement.
  4. Stay Updated: Stay informed about the latest legal developments and judicial decisions. Regularly read legal journals, news articles, and case law to enhance your legal knowledge.
  5. Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to seek support from fellow candidates, mentors, and tutors. Join online forums or study groups to exchange ideas, discuss challenging topics, and gain different perspectives.

Remember, success in the Solicitors Qualifying Examination requires a combination of knowledge, practical skills, and effective study strategies. By following these tips and utilizing the available resources, you can enhance your chances of qualifying as a solicitor.


The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a comprehensive assessment of both legal knowledge and practical legal skills. Understanding the format and requirements of the SQE is crucial for effective preparation. By following the tips provided in this article and utilizing the recommended resources, you can maximize your chances of success in the SQE and embark on a rewarding career as a solicitor.

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