SQE1 assessment days

What happens on the day 

Assessment centres and arrival times

After you have booked your SQE1 assessment, we will send you an email that includes:

  • confirmation of the address of the assessment centre
  • the time you must report to the assessment centre to go through the booking-in process
  • the start time of the assessment
  • the length of the assessment day.

You must be on time. If you are late, you cannot enter the assessment. Please note that candidates may have different report and assessment start times. Please arrive at the assessment centre at the time specified to you. 

Arriving at the test centre before the start of the assessment

When you arrive, you will register and complete ID and security checks. Please check the information in your booking confirmation email before setting off for your assessment.

Watch a video showing what happens when you arrive at the assessment centre.

Once you are seated at your workstation, you must make a Fit to Sit declaration and confirm that you understand that the content of the assessment is confidential, and that you are bound by the Assessment Regulations.

Learn more: Fit to Sit Policy

Learn more: Candidate Confidentiality Policy

Learn more: Assessment Regulations

You won’t be allowed to take the assessment if you don’t complete these requirements. Once you have sat the assessment, if you feel that something has happened that could affect your performance during the assessment, you can submit a claim for mitigating circumstances.

Pearson VUE testing rules

Key points in the Pearson VUE testing rules:

No personal items (including but not limited to water, mobile phones, other electronic devices, watches, purses, books and notes) are allowed in the assessment room. There will be a secure place to store your items during the assessment.

You will be provided with an erasable whiteboard notepad and marker pen to be used only during the assessment. These must be handed in at the end of the assessment.

The test administrator will:

  • log you on to your assigned workstation
  • verify that you are taking the intended assessment
  • start the assessment.

You should also check your screen to ensure that you are logged in and are taking the intended assessment.

Once the assessment has started, you must remain in your assigned seat until escorted out by a test administrator.

You must not eat, drink, chew gum, smoke or make noise that disturbs other candidates during the assessment. 

You will be monitored at all times during the assessment. This can include CCTV recordings.

You must leave the assessment room during all breaks. After all breaks, ID checks are carried out before you will be readmitted to the assessment room.

During any unscheduled breaks:

  • the assessment timer is not stopped
  • access to personal belongings, other than for water or to obtain medication, is not permitted.

You must notify the test assessment administrator immediately of any problems or distractions which affect your ability to do the assessment by raising your hand.

Test administrators cannot answer questions about the content of the assessment.

Equipment and comfort aids

You will be provided with all necessary equipment, including an online calculator. You may not use any of your own equipment, unless it is a comfort aid in accordance with the Pearson VUE website.The website provides information on items that are comfort aids and do not require pre-approval. They will be allowed in the Pearson VUE testing rooms for SQE1 and SQE2 written assessments upon inspection at the test centre.

Please note that not every element of the information on comfort aids will be relevant to you. If you have any questions about comfort aids please contact the SQE candidate services team, rather than Pearson VUE.

Personal possessions

Please do not bring personal possessions into the assessment. Your booking confirmation email has more information about what to expect in a Pearson VUE Test centre.

As storage space is limited, you should bring only a small bag. All personal belongings must be put in the secure lockers provided.

Dress code

There is no dress code for SQE1. You can wear what you feel comfortable in, but you may be asked to remove bulky external clothing during security checks.

Temperature of the test centres

Pearson VUE aims to provide a comfortable temperature for candidates at the test centres. However, we understand that some candidates may prefer a cooler or warmer environment as a matter of personal choice. We suggest that candidates wear appropriate layers at the assessment for maximum flexibility, but please note the point above that you may be asked to remove bulky external clothing during security checks.

Length of SQE1

SQE1 consists of two assessments (FLK1 and FLK2) that are taken on two separate days. On each day, the assessment is divided into two sessions of 2 hours 33 minutes (or 153 minutes in total), with 90 questions in each session.

Leaving the assessment room during the assessment, including access to water

You may only leave the assessment room to use the bathroom, have a drink of water, eat or obtain medication if necessary. This will be monitored and any breach of this can be reported as a breach of the SQE Assessment Regulations. If you do access water, food or medication, this is an unscheduled break and the assessment timer is not stopped (i.e. your assessment time continues to run). Talking to other candidates during an unscheduled break is not permitted. If you think you will need to take medication during the assessment, please contact us in advance.

Leaving early

You cannot leave the assessment early.

Scheduled break between the assessment sessions

A 60-minute break is scheduled at the end of Session 1. Please return within 50 minutes.

During the break you may:

  • leave the assessment centre
  • have access to your personal belongings.

Important: Before the end of the scheduled break you must re-register for Session 2. Make sure you are back in the assessment centre within 50 minutes to allow time for re-registration. If you are late you will not be admitted to Session 2.

Water and other refreshments

Water and other refreshments aren't provided for the assessments. You must make your own arrangements for food, water and other refreshments. If in doubt, please bring your own supplies. Water and refreshments are not permitted in the assessment room.

Length of each SQE1 day

The booking confirmation email will confirm the length of your day. The total amount of time is given in minutes and includes the:

  • explanatory tutorial
  • time allowed to complete the Fit to Sit declaration, the Candidate Confidentiality Policy and accept the Assessment Regulations
  • 60-minute scheduled break in total (BUT PLEASE return after 50 minutes to re-register for session 2 as it takes time to complete re-registration checks and this can lead to delays).

What to expect at the assessment centre

Nature of the assessment

The SQE is a rigorous professional assessment. It is designed to assure consistent, high standards for all qualifying solicitors and is a key milestone to qualifying as a solicitor of England and Wales. Candidates may not have experienced an assessment of this nature and duration before.

You can therefore expect a different assessment experience to other assessments you have taken. Other candidates may be very focused on their preparation on the day and may not wish to engage in conversation. You should also consider your preparation for the assessments, such as planning carefully your revision time, having appropriate rest before and in between assessments and bringing sufficient refreshments on the day to maintain your energy levels during breaks.

The assessment environment

SQE does not have exclusive occupancy of Pearson VUE centres. You should be aware that rooms may be occupied by candidates who are sitting an assessment of a different length and so may arrive before or after your assessment has started. Some candidates may also have reasonable adjustments and may be finishing their SQE assessment at a different time or may be sitting in a different part of the building. Please note that candidates may have different report and assessment start times. Please arrive at the assessment centre at the time specified to you. 

Therefore you may find the Pearson VUE test centre environment different to what you have encountered before when sitting exams, for example at university or at other educational establishments. You are advised to familiarise yourself with the Pearson VUE setting by watching the short video about the Pearson VUE test centres.

Every effort is made to provide a quiet environment. But assessment centres are sited in city centres, and we have no control over building or traffic noise which may occur outside.

Language and signage

The SQE is an assessment taken in English or Welsh. Please note however that due to the international nature of the assessment, staff at test centres may only speak the local language of that country. Also, any signs will only be in the local language. Therefore, please bear this in mind when considering where to take the SQE.

Identification and security

You will need to provide ID and go through security checks before you take your assessment.

Learn more: ID verification

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 about Have you passed the SQE?