Demystifying the SQE: Exam Pattern and Structure Explained

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Demystifying the SQE: Exam Pattern and Structure Explained

Are you considering a career in law or looking to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales? The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is an important step in your journey to becoming a legal professional. Understanding the exam pattern and structure can help you prepare effectively and increase your chances of success. In this article, we will demystify the SQE and provide a comprehensive overview of its exam pattern and structure.

What is the SQE?

The SQE is a national assessment that measures the competency of individuals who wish to qualify as solicitors in England and Wales. It replaces the previous qualification process, which consisted of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Professional Skills Course (PSC). The SQE aims to provide a more consistent and reliable assessment of candidates’ legal knowledge and practical skills.

Exam Pattern

The SQE is divided into two stages: SQE1 and SQE2. Let’s take a closer look at each stage:


SQE1 tests the application of legal knowledge in practical scenarios. It consists of two multiple-choice question (MCQ) papers and two written task papers. The MCQ papers assess your understanding of legal principles, while the written task papers evaluate your ability to apply legal knowledge to practical situations. Each paper is designed to test different areas of legal practice.


SQE2 focuses on the application of legal skills in realistic scenarios. It consists of five written task papers, commonly referred to as ‘functional legal skills assessments.’ These assessments simulate the tasks that solicitors often encounter in their day-to-day practice, such as client interviewing, advocacy, case analysis, legal research, and legal drafting.

Both stages of the SQE must be completed in sequential order. You can only proceed to SQE2 once you have passed SQE1.

Exam Structure

Let’s delve deeper into the structure of each stage:


The MCQ papers in SQE1 contain multiple-choice questions with four options. You must select a single correct answer for each question. These papers cover a range of legal areas, including constitutional and administrative law, contract law, criminal law, property law, and tort law.

The written task papers in SQE1 require you to analyze legal scenarios and provide written advice or draft legal documents. These papers assess your legal writing skills and ability to apply legal principles in practice. The written tasks may cover areas such as legal research, problem-solving, client advising, and contract drafting.


The written task papers in SQE2 assess your ability to perform various legal tasks. These papers are scenario-based, requiring you to analyze a given situation and produce appropriate legal documents or written advice. The tasks may include client interviews, witness examinations, drafting legal submissions, conducting legal research, and preparing legal agreements.

It is important to note that the SQE2 assessments are open book, meaning that you can refer to legal materials and resources while completing the tasks. This reflects the real-world practice of solicitors, who often rely on legal precedents and resources when working on cases.

Preparing for the SQE

To enhance your chances of success in the SQE, it is crucial to adopt an effective study strategy. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

1. Understand the exam format: Familiarize yourself with the exam pattern and structure of the SQE. This will help you allocate sufficient time and resources to each stage.

2. Develop a study plan: Create a study plan that outlines your daily and weekly study goals. Break down the syllabus into manageable sections and allocate dedicated study time for each topic.

3. Use reliable study materials: Invest in good quality study materials, such as textbooks, revision guides, and practice papers. These resources will help you build a strong foundation of legal knowledge and improve your exam technique.

4. Attend SQE workshops and webinars: Participating in SQE-focused workshops and webinars can provide valuable insights and guidance from experienced legal professionals. Expert Delaware LLC offers SQE workshops and webinars to help you enhance your learning and preparation. Check out their SQE workshops and webinars here.

5. Practice, practice, practice: Regularly attempt practice papers and mock exams to familiarize yourself with the exam format and develop your time management skills. This will also help you identify areas where you need further improvement.

6. Seek guidance and support: If you have any questions or need clarification on certain topics, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from qualified professionals. Expert Delaware LLC offers cross-border legal services and can assist you with any legal queries or concerns you may have. Learn more about their cross-border legal services here.


The SQE is an important milestone in your journey to becoming a solicitor in England and Wales. Understanding its exam pattern and structure is key to preparing effectively and increasing your chances of success. By familiarizing yourself with the SQE1 and SQE2 stages, as well as implementing a strategic study plan, you can confidently tackle the assessments. Remember to utilize reliable study materials, attend SQE-focused workshops and webinars, and seek guidance when needed. Good luck on your SQE journey!

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