What format is the SQE1 exam?

  • Raphael Jucobin
  • Thursday 14th January
  • 2 min read

The SQE1 is the first stage of the new assessment format to qualify as a solicitor, to come into force from autumn 2021. It will replace the current system whereby law graduates take the LPC, and those from a non-law academic background undertake a GDL conversion course before moving on to the former.

There will be two sessions during the academic year in which you can take the exam series. For the 2021-22 academic year, these will occur in November and May, and you’ll need to register to enter at least two months in advance. If you haven’t passed one component of the exam, you won’t be able to move on to SQE2 - you’ll be allowed another two tries within a six-year window to fully pass SQE1 in this case.

Multiple choice questions

The format of the assessment itself will consist of two sets of exams made up of 180 multiple-choice questions each, expected to take up around ten hours and conducted over a computer. It will look to assess your Functional Legal Knowledge - the exams are known as FLK1 and FLK2 - and whether you are able to apply this technical know-how to practical situations. More specifically, the subjects that SQE1 will assess you on are as follows: 

For FLK1: 

  • Dispute resolution,
  • Tort law,
  • Business law and practice,
  • Contract law,
  • The legal system.

For FLK2:

  • Property practice,
  • Wills and the administration of estates,
  • Solicitors accounts,
  • Land law,
  • Trusts,
  • Criminal law and practice.

In addition to these knowledge-based areas, you will also be assessed throughout the exams on issues relating to ethics and conduct, and your ability to comply with the solicitors’ Code of Conduct as set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

If you are taking the SQE1 exam after completing a law degree, this will mirror the core law subjects that will have made up the Qualifying Law Degree. If your degree - or equivalent qualification - was not law-based, it’s highly recommended that you undertake an extended training course ahead of taking SQE1 - for example, the University of Law will offer a range of preparation courses.

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