The first set of exams mandated by the new Solicitors Qualifying Examinations will be taken by all students looking to enter the legal profession, as the initial step after graduating from a level 6 qualification. This part of the qualification will probably be expected to be taken straight after a candidate finishes their degree.
Exam format and content
The will consist of a series of multiple-choice tests, which look to test graduates’ technical knowledge on various areas of law. This includes business law and EU law, as well as property practice and the administration of estates. Collectively, this is known as Functioning Legal Knowledge and forms the basis for the level of knowledge you are expected to have when you begin your legal career.
In addition, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the governing body which oversees the implementation of the examination, will also look to test the candidate’s knowledge of ethics and professional conduct across the range of exams which come under SQE1. The exams are expected to take a closed-book format and will test applications of the law at the time of the assessment, rather than any potential future developments in the sector.
The questions themselves will require you to identify and apply legal concepts, work out whether a client in a given scenario can achieve their desired outcome, the legal principles and rules that lead to certain outcomes, as well as performing calculations using knowledge of tax thresholds. In some cases, you could be asked to recall specific case names or statutory provisions, when these are used to describe a legal principle.
Preparing for the SQE
You should bear in mind that the SQE only consists of the examinations, and is not a course in itself - you’ll need to look at third-party training and preparation in order to prepare for the exams, such as the University of Law’s wide range of courses.
Candidates will also be expected to pass this section of the examination before they begin their period of qualifying work experience. The cost of taking it will be significantly lower than previous exams - SQE1 will cost £1,558 and the SQE2 will cost £2,422.