Solicitors Qualifying Examination Format: Demystifying the Exam Structure

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Solicitors Qualifying Examination Format: Demystifying the Exam Structure

Are you aspiring to become a solicitor in the UK? If so, you must be familiar with the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), the newly introduced assessment that replaces the current qualification process. In this blog post, we will demystify the SQE exam structure, giving you a comprehensive understanding of its format and layout.

What is the SQE?

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a two-part examination designed to assess aspiring solicitors’ competence and legal knowledge. It has been developed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as a new and alternative route to qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales. The SQE aims to provide a fair and consistent assessment process for all candidates, regardless of their background or previous educational path.

SQE Exam Structure

The SQE is divided into two parts: SQE 1 and SQE 2. Let’s take a closer look at each part and understand their format.


SQE 1 is composed of two assessment stages: functioning legal knowledge (FLK) and practical legal skills (PLS). The FLK stage assesses the candidates’ understanding and application of legal principles, while the PLS stage evaluates their practical skills, such as legal research, writing, and drafting. SQE 1 is a computer-based examination, consisting of both multiple-choice questions and written tasks.

The FLK stage consists of 360 multiple-choice questions, divided into two sections, FLK1 and FLK2. FLK1 primarily covers areas like Business Law and Practice, Dispute Resolution, and Contract Law. On the other hand, FLK2 focuses on subjects like Property Practice, Private Client Practice, Criminal Law and Practice, and Public Law and Procedure. Each section contains 180 questions, and candidates are allocated a specific time limit to complete them.

The PLS stage of SQE 1 assesses practical writing skills through written tasks known as ‘skills assessments.’ These tasks simulate real-life scenarios that a solicitor might encounter in practice. Candidates are required to draft letters, memos, or legal advice, demonstrating their ability to communicate effectively and apply legal knowledge. It is crucial for candidates to practice and refine their practical legal skills before sitting for the SQE 1 examination.

If you are planning to take SQE 1, it is highly recommended to enroll in SQE 1 preparation courses to receive structured guidance and practice opportunities. These courses will not only help you develop your legal knowledge but also provide valuable insights into the format and nature of the examination.

For better preparation, you can also take advantage of SQE 1 practice exam questions and practice mocks. These resources will allow you to familiarize yourself with the multiple-choice questions and get a feel for the exam’s difficulty level. You can find useful practice resources here and here.


SQE 2 is the second part of the qualification process. It focuses on more advanced skills and knowledge required for practice as a solicitor. SQE 2 consists of six practical legal skills assessments (PLSAs), covering areas such as client interviewing, advocacy, legal research, legal writing, drafting, and case and matter analysis. These assessments are designed to test candidates’ ability to apply legal knowledge and skills to practical scenarios.

Similar to SQE 1, it is highly recommended to enroll in SQE 2 preparation courses to enhance your understanding of the examination requirements and improve your performance in the practical skills assessments. You can find comprehensive SQE 2 preparation courses here.

SRA SQE Exam Dates

The SRA has set specific examination dates for both SQE 1 and SQE 2. It is essential to be aware of these dates and plan your preparation accordingly. You can find the latest SRA SQE exam dates here.


The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is an innovative assessment that provides a new pathway to becoming a solicitor in England and Wales. Understanding the format and structure of the SQE exam is key to preparing effectively and maximizing your chances of success. Enrolling in dedicated SQE preparation courses and utilizing practice resources like SQE 1 practice exam questions and practice mocks will significantly enhance your readiness for the examination.

Remember, it’s essential to approach the SQE with a strategic and focused mindset. Prepare diligently, seek guidance when needed, and make good use of the available resources. Good luck on your SQE journey!

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