How the SQE works

The SQE assessments are an integral part of the process of qualifying as a solicitor. Passing the SQE is an important step. But you will also need to have a degree or equivalent qualification or experience, complete two years’ Qualifying Work Experience and meet the SRA’s character and suitability requirements.

The assessments

The SQE is split into two assessments - SQE1 and SQE2.

SQE1 tests functioning legal knowledge (FLK). The exam has two parts - FLK1 and FLK2. SQE1 takes place over two non-consecutive days, and both FLK1 and FLK2 are single best answer multiple-choice tests. FLK1 and FLK2 must be taken in the same assessment window (unless an exemption applies).

SQE2 assesses practical legal skills. It also has two parts - oral assessments over two consecutive half days, and written assessments over three consecutive half days.

Learn more: Assessment day

When are the first SQE assessments?

The first SQE1 assessment is scheduled for 8 and 11 November 2021. The first SQE2 assessment will take place from 11 April 2022. Initially, each assessment will be offered twice per academic year.

Learn more: When you can take the SQE

Additional requirements to qualify as a solicitor

Completing the SQE is one of the requirements to qualify as a solicitor. The other requirements are summarised below, as are the transitional arrangements if you are already in the process of qualifying.

Learn more: Admission to the roll of solicitors

A degree or equivalent qualification or experience

To be admitted as a solicitor, you will need a degree (in any subject) or equivalent, in addition to passing the SQE. “Equivalent” means a qualification/experience equivalent to a bachelor's or master's degree, such as:

  • a level 6 or 7 apprenticeship
  • a level 6 or 7 professional qualification

If you do not have an equivalent qualification, the SRA may be able to count experience in the workplace as equivalent. Discuss this with the SRA before committing any funds towards your training.

Two years’ Qualifying Work Experience

Under the SRA regulations, you will need Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) which:

  • is experience of providing legal services that gives you the opportunity to develop the prescribed competences for solicitors
  • is at least two years’ full time or equivalent
  • has been done in no more than four organisations
  • has been signed off by either the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) or a solicitor in the organisation or by another nominated solicitor.

Learn more: Qualifying Work Experience

Character and suitability

When you apply for admission to the roll of solicitors, you must meet the SRA’s character and suitability requirements.

Learn more: Character and suitability

Transitional period

The SRA’s transitional arrangements are designed to give as much choice as possible to candidates who, at 1 September 2021, are already on their way to becoming a solicitor.

This means that if you’re studying or training you can continue to qualify through the existing routes or choose to sit SQE.

The transitional arrangements cover anyone who, before 1 September 2021 (or by 21 September for qualifying law degrees), has completed, started, accepted an offer of a place to start or paid a non-refundable deposit for one of the following:

  • a qualifying law degree
  • the Common Professional Examination / Graduate Diploma in Law
  • the Legal Practice Course
  • a period of recognised training (also known as a training contract)

To fall within the transitional arrangements, in most cases courses must actually start on or before 31 December 2021. Full details are set out in the SRA’s transitional arrangements, including the arrangements for students who have deferred their place from 2020 to 2021, or who were offered a training contract on or before 31 August 2021. 

Ready to register for the SQE?

Create your personal SQE account and book your assessments.

Register for SQE 

Have you passed the SQE?

Find out what happens after passing the SQE and admission to the roll of solicitors.

Learn more

Ready to register for the SQE?

Create your personal SQE account and book your assessments.

Register for SQE 

Have you passed the SQE?

Find out what happens after passing the SQE and admission to the roll of solicitors.

Learn more