Information for disability assessors

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a national licensing examination that all individuals seeking to qualify as a solicitor of England and Wales must pass. The SQE is set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Kaplan is the sole authorised assessment provider for the SQE.

We welcome applications for reasonable adjustments from disabled candidates or candidates with other conditions. We are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so such candidates can attempt the assessment. This information is intended to support candidates by providing guidance to disability assessors, health care professionals, educational psychologists and others who may be asked by a candidate to provide evidence in support of their request for reasonable adjustments for the SQE.

The SQE consists of two stages: SQE1 is an assessment of candidates’ functioning legal knowledge, through single best answer multiple-choice questions. SQE2 is an assessment testing candidates’ practical legal skills and knowledge through written and oral simulations of the tasks a newly qualified solicitor might undertake in practice. Further information can be found in:

The assessments

To qualify as a solicitor candidates must pass both SQE1 and SQE2, in addition to meeting the other SRA requirements. All assessments are unseen and closed book.

Sample questions for SQE1 and SQE2.

The assessments must be taken in English or Welsh.

SQE1 must be passed before a candidate can take SQE2.

SQE1

SQE1 is computer-based and consists of two exams (FLK1 and FLK2), each of 180 single best answer multiple-choice questions. FLK1 and FLK2 are taken on separate, non-consecutive days. Each exam is divided into two sessions each lasting approximately 2 hours 30 minutes with 90 questions in each session. A break of 60 minutes is provided between the two sessions. Candidates are supplied with an erasable board for notes and a marker pen. A calculator is provided on screen.

SQE1 is delivered through a network of test centres in the UK and worldwide administered by Pearson VUE. The Kaplan reasonable adjustments team, led by the Head of Equality and Quality, works with each candidate who requests reasonable adjustments to agree any adjustments and identify a suitable test centre to accommodate the candidate.

SQE2

Candidates sitting SQE2 take 4 oral legal skills assessments and 12 written legal skills assessments, a total of 16 legal skills assessments, across a range of practice areas. The skills assessed in SQE2 are:

  • Oral legal skills assessments
    • Client interviewing
    • Attendance note/legal analysis (linked to the client interview)
    • Advocacy
  • Written legal skills assessments
    • Case and matter analysis
    • Legal research
    • Legal writing
    • Legal drafting

Note that the 16 assessments cover a range of practice areas and are taken in a single assessment window.

Candidates may sit either the oral or the written assessments first within an assessment window, with one or more days dividing the oral from the written assessments. The candidate’s booking confirmation will confirm the dates of the candidate’s assessments and which assessments a candidate will take on each day.

SQE2 oral assessments

The oral assessments (advocacy, client interview with linked attendance note/legal analysis) will take place on two consecutive days at test centres within the UK. The attendance note/legal analysis is a handwritten exercise undertaken immediately after the relevant client interview.

Table 1 below contains information on the assessment structure. Candidates will not necessarily sit the assessments on any one day in the order shown in Table 1, but attendance note/case analysis will always follow the client interview.

Table 1

Assessment task Activity Standard Timing

Advocacy

Preparation (candidates are given a case study: any notes made by the candidate are handwritten)

45 minutes

Advocacy/oral presentation (oral simulation of real life task)

15 minutes

Client interviewing

Preparation (candidates are given an email which may be accompanied by documents: any notes made by the candidate are handwritten)

10 minutes

Client Interview (oral simulation of real life task - any notes made by the candidates are handwritten)

25 minutes

Attendance note/legal analysis (linked to client interview)

Completion of attendance note/legal analysis (handwritten)

25 minutes

In addition to the assessment period, candidates may be asked to report to the assessment centre at a specific stated time ahead of their assessment start time, in order to be briefed on the assessment. They may also be requested to stay on site after the end of the assessment for up to one hour in order to maintain the security of the assessment.

SQE2 written assessments

The written assessments (case and matter analysis, legal drafting, legal research and legal writing) will take place on three consecutive days at Pearson VUE test centres in the UK and worldwide. These are computer-based assessments.

Table 2 sets out information about the assessment tasks that a candidate will be asked to undertake on each of the three days of the written assessments, and the time allowed.

Table 2

Assessment task Activity Standard timing
Case and matter analysis Case and matter analysis (computer-based) 60 minutes
Legal writing Legal writing (computer-based) 30 minutes
Break Break 15 minutes
Legal research Legal research (computer-based) 60 minutes
Legal drafting Legal drafting (computer-based) 45 minutes

SQE2 written assessments are delivered through a network of test centres in the UK and worldwide administered by Pearson VUE. The Kaplan reasonable adjustments team, led by the Head of Equality and Quality, works with each candidate who requests reasonable adjustments to agree any adjustments and identify a suitable test centre to accommodate the candidate.

Reasonable adjustments

The SQE is an assessment of competence for intending solicitors and all candidates must pass by reference to the Threshold Standard. All candidates must be assessed against the competencies in the Statement of Solicitor Competence. In making reasonable adjustments to the way the competencies are assessed we aim to remove any disadvantage that a candidate may experience as a result of their disability or other condition. Kaplan works with each candidate who requests reasonable adjustments to make sure that appropriate arrangements are in place.

The SQE Reasonable Adjustments Policy sets out our approach to making sure that reasonable adjustments are made. Candidates are asked to indicate they are requesting reasonable adjustments once they have registered for the SQE. We encourage candidates to provide details of their reasonable adjustment requests as early as possible, and to respond to requests for information and offers of adjustments as promptly as possible in order to ensure that arrangements can be made for the candidate to take the exam on their preferred date. Late applications or delay in providing information and evidence may result in insufficient time to agree reasonable adjustments and/or appropriate test centre accommodation no longer being available. Requests for reasonable adjustments received after the booking deadline cannot be considered.

When requesting reasonable adjustment/s we ask candidates to provide supporting evidence which explains:

  • the nature of their disability or condition; and
  • the effect of the disability or condition on their ability to perform in the assessment; and
  • requested reasonable adjustments and how these adjustments will address their needs.

Given the different nature of the assessment methods in SQE1 and SQE2, adjustments which are appropriate for SQE1 may be inadequate or inappropriate for SQE2 and so we ask candidates to submit separate requests for reasonable adjustments for each of SQE1 and SQE2, with supporting information and evidence.

Examples of reasonable adjustments

Each request for reasonable adjustments is determined on its merits on a case by case basis and agreed with the individual candidate in accordance with the SQE Reasonable Adjustments Policy. The examples below provide a guide to some of the reasonable adjustments which may be made but is not intended to be an exhaustive list. An SQE candidate could be offered one or more of the reasonable adjustments indicated, or alternative adjustments might be offered:

  • extra time to read the questions for candidates with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties. If a diagnosis of dyslexia (or other specific learning difficulty) is made without a specific amount of extra time requested, we will usually add an extra 25%. Where more extra time than this is requested, we may ask for this to be supported by specific evidence
  • additional/extended breaks for candidates who have conditions giving rise to fatigue
  • separate invigilation
  • enlarged screen/coloured contrasts for candidates with visual impairments, dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties
  • reader/amanuensis
  • special seating and lighting arrangements
  • provision of an assistant to help with manual tasks
  • use of a computer/laptop for handwritten assessments
  • use of earplugs
  • permission to bring snacks, drinks and medication to the assessment
  • separate room or a room shared with only a few other candidates

Candidates with learning difficulties

Where a candidate is requesting reasonable adjustments because they have a learning difficulty, we will require a report from an approved assessor. Appropriate assessors in the UK include:

Language

The SQE assessments must be undertaken in English or Welsh. We have information on the SQE in the medium of Welsh. We do not provide reasonable adjustments where English or Welsh is not the candidate’s native tongue and the candidate is therefore taking the assessments in a second language.

A specialist assessor who is making a recommendation of extra time on behalf of a candidate because of their disability or other condition should not include an allowance of extra time because the candidate is taking the assessments in a second language. In these circumstances the specialist assessor’s report must state that the additional time is recommended solely to remove the disadvantage of the candidate’s disability or condition. The specialist assessor must also include in their report details of their experience of producing reports for candidates who are undertaking assessments in a language which is not their native tongue.

Specialist reports should be in English, or where the candidate has indicated that they will sit the SQE in Welsh, the report may be in Welsh. Where the report has been prepared in another language, it must be accompanied by a certified translation into English by a professional translator. The report should have been prepared at a time when the candidate was aged 16 or over.

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