SQE replaced QLTS in September 2021 and it is now the new route to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. With a few differences, the two exams are largely the same.
The SQE is split into two assessments - SQE1 and SQE2:
SQE1 tests functioning legal knowledge (FLK). The exam has two parts, which take place over two non-consecutive days. Both parts (FLK1 and FLK2) are single best answer multiple-choice tests of 180 questions.
SQE2 assesses practical legal skills. It also has two parts – four oral legal skills assessments over two consecutive half days, and 12 written legal skills assessments over three consecutive half days. The oral assessments cover interview and attendance note/legal analysis, and advocacy. The written assessments cover case and matter analysis; legal research; legal writing; and legal drafting.
Who can apply?
SQE is the assessment for all aspiring solicitors in England and Wales, including foreign qualified lawyers. According to SRA’s website, all qualified lawyers will need to do the following to become a solicitor of England and Wales:
have a degree in any subject (or equivalent qualification or work experience);
pass the SQE1 and SQE2 assessments, unless you wish to apply for an exemption;
have two years' qualifying work experience; and
meet the SRA’s character and suitability requirements.
Things to consider before applying
Before applying you must first clearly understand the effort, time and money it takes – only then you could make an informed decision. Make sure you do your own analysis by reading about SQE and what it takes to pass the exams. Start with the SRA’s website, which provides most of the information you will need to get an overview of SQE, including costs and fees, registration and booking, assessment information, and sample questions.
How much does the SQE cost?
The total cost of the SQE assessments is £3,980, which breaks down as:
SQE1 – £1,558
SQE2 – £2,422
This differs largely depending on the course provider you choose. As an average estimate, expect to spend around £5,000 for both exams.
SQE2 traveling expenses
SQE2 assessments take place in the UK. So, unless you are already based in the UK, you will need to add traveling expenses.
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