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SQE assessment preparation

How can I prepare for the SQE assessments?

There are a variety of courses available to help you qualify through the SQE; whether you are looking to obtain a law conversion course such as a PgDL or MA, or a course that includes SQE preparation at diploma or masters level, you can choose a course that suits you, taking into account the studies you have already undertaken, your preferred mode of study, location, cost and how you want to achieve your qualification.

Below is a brief outline of some of the different types of courses available.

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To explore the law conversion courses on offer, use our course finder which will allow you filter based on your specific requirements.  

Be sure to keep an eye on the outcome for each course so that you are clear about the steps you will need to take on completion of your course to continue your qualification journey!

Law conversion courses

A law conversion course, such as a GDL or PgDL, is suitable for UK and overseas applicants with a degree in any subject (including those with a non-UK law degree), wishing to take their first steps in UK law at post-graduate level.

For those seeking to qualify either as a barrister or solicitor, or those who are not yet sure which law path they want to take, a law conversion aims to condense the knowledge and skills needed to bring non-law graduates up to the same standard as law graduates before they go on to the next stage of their qualification journey. 

There are a variety of law conversion courses on offer from those at post-graduate diploma level to Masters. Some may include some SQE preparation, while others do not. 

When considering a law conversion course, be sure to check what you will finish with and, if you want to qualify as a solicitor, whether further SQE preparation will be needed in order to help you to pass the SQE assessments. Some law conversions may include some SQE preparation while others may offer SQE prep by way of additional modules or top-ups.

Course outcome

Undertake additional studies - BTC or SQE preparation

Next steps

On completion of a GDL/law conversion course, those wishing to qualify as a solicitor could go on to do a course specifically geared towards preparing for the SQE assessments (if SQE preparation has not been included in the law conversion) either by way of a top-up module, a short preparation course or an SQE LLM to build on your academic credentials. 

Those wanting to qualify through the barrister route can apply for a Bar training course (BTC).  

How do I apply?

GDL/Law conversion course application form

To apply for a law conversion course, complete a GDL/Law conversion course application form on LawCAB where you will be able to make your course selection when you reach the course choice section of the application form.

Find out about the application process

SQE assessment preparation courses

Universities and other course providers are offering a variety of courses to help you prepare for the SQE assessments, either through online, part-time or full-time face to face teaching. 

If you are looking for a course which will specifically prepare you for one or both of the SQE assessments, options range from short SQE prep only courses, to the fuller Post-graduate Diploma and Masters level courses.  You will need to consider where you are in your legal studies and whether you are looking to build on what you already have or whether you a new entrant to law with no previous academic background or work experience in law.

Be aware that some SQE courses are suitable only for those who have already studied law and/or have either a qualifying law degree or a GDL, while others will be suitable for non-law graduates as well as those who may have done their law studies outside of the UK.  When you are considering courses, you will need look carefully at the eligibility requirements to make sure that it is the right course for you.

It is also important to make sure you understand what stage in your qualification journey the course will take you to: will you be ready to sit SQE 1, SQE 2 or both assessments or will you need to undertake additional preparation?  The courses will have different outcomes, with some preparing only for the SQE 1 assessment, some for both SQE 1&2, while others might be suitable for SQE 2 preparation only. 

To explore the SQE courses on offer, use our course finder which will allow you filter on course category and course outcome. 

Course outcome

SQE 1 assessment ready, or

SQE 2 assessment ready, or

SQE 1&2 assessment ready

Next steps

Depending on which course you choose to do, an SQE course will prepare you to sit either:

 SQE1 assessment 

 SQE2 assessment 

or both assessments

How do I apply?

SQE course application form

To apply for an SQE course, complete an SQE course application form on LawCAB where you will be able to make your course selection when you reach the course choice section of the application form.

Find out about the application process

What else do I need to know?

Booking your assessment date

It is important to note that the SQE assessments are centrally administered by Kaplan and therefore need to be booked separately to any courses you choose to enrol on.

All those wanting to sit the SQE assessments need to register online with the SRA SQE site prior to booking the assessments 

Further information about timings of the assessments can be found on the SRA SQE site

What should I look for in an SQE preparation course?

If you are looking for a course to prepare you for the SQE 1 assessment, consider a course which will:

  • cover the seven foundation areas of academic law (found in a qualifying law degree), if you have not done a UK law degree, or content that refreshes essential legal knowledge, if you have done a UK law degree
  • cover vocational, practical legal subject areas (similar to stage 1 of a LPC)
  • regularly and repeatedly develop and test on Single Best Answer (SBA) questions in exam conditions, as these are a core part of the SQE1 assessment.

For SQE2 preparation, consider a course with content that develops core legal skills (oral and written), allowing you to practise those skills and receive constructive feedback to prepare for SQE2. Skills include client interview and attendance note/legal analysis, advocacy, case and matter analysis, legal research, legal writing, legal drafting, and negotiation.

What else should I consider when deciding on a course?

When you're deciding which type of course to undertake, have an eye on the sort of career you might be looking at pursuing and what future employers might be looking for.  For example, if you don't have a law degree, a course which provides you with a strong foundation in law, whether at diploma or masters level, will be important not only in providing you with greater confidence but also future employers who might be considering you alongside law graduates. 

If you think you might want to work abroad in the future, ensuring you have strong academic qualifications in law may help when it comes to qualifying in other jurisdictions. 

If you have a law degree, but it is not a UK qualifying law degree (which covers the key foundations in law), look at what you have studied and where you will need to top up. You can choose a course that suits you, taking into account the studies you have already undertaken as well as the areas of interest you might have. 

For those already qualified as lawyers in other jurisdictions, you may have studied and practised in law sufficiently, or may even have previously studied law in the UK, in which case an SQE preparation course geared specifically to the SQE assessments may be more suitable for you.  It is worth familiarising yourself with what the two assessments will be testing you on and choose a course which best fits in with the studies you have already undertaken.

If you have previously undertaken a GDL or QLD, or even an LPC, and have decided that you wish to complete your qualification through the SQE route, you could consider doing a short SQE preparation course to help you pass the assessments or, if you want to build on your academic credentials, choose a masters course which includes preparation for the SQE assessments.

And finally, depending on your existing legal experience, you could consider whether you want a course that:

  • offers employability support and employability skills development
  • provides access to legal work experience opportunities that could be 'banked' as QWE
  • offers additional workshops/tutorials to develop broader career-long skills in e.g. leadership, conflict management, commerciality
  • provides coursebooks/guides to support off-course revision and self-study of SQE1 & SQE2 subject areas and related SBA questions.

The SRA website contains further guidance for applicants on what to consider when choosing an SQE course.

Remember to register for the SQE assessments

It is important to note that the SQE assessments are centrally administered by Kaplan and therefore need to be booked separately to any courses you choose to enrol on.

Anybody wanting to take the SQE assessments needs to register to create an account.  You don't need to wait until you are ready to book an assessment - candidates are encouraged register as early as possible to ensure sufficient time to complete all the pre-booking steps.

Once you have successfully registered, you will receive notification of assessments dates, including when bookings open, and will then be able to book your own assessment date as soon as you are ready.

Further information about timings of the assessments can be found on the SRA SQE site

 

Want to apply for a course to help you prepare for the SQE assessments?

 

Use our course finder to view the courses (law conversions or SQE-specific Diplomas and Masters courses) available to apply for through LawCAB 

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FAQ

What course should I do if I am a non-law graduate seeking to qualify as a solicitor through the SQE?

As you will be qualifying as a solicitor through the SQE, there is no set route to follow.  

When you're deciding which type of course to undertake, have an eye on the sort of career you might be looking at pursuing and what future employers might be looking for.  As you don't have a law degree, a course which provides you with a strong foundation in law, whether at diploma or masters level, will be important not only in providing you with greater confidence but also future employers who might be considering you alongside law graduates.  If you think you might want to work abroad in the future, ensuring you have strong academic qualifications in law may help when it comes to qualifying in other jurisdictions. 

A law conversion course will aim to bring a non-law graduate up to the standard of a law graduate and so would give you a strong academic basis from which to go on to take additional preparation for the SQE assessments.  

Bear in mind that a law conversion alone will not necessarily prepare you to take the SQE assessments, although some will take you further with SQE preparation than others.  Unless you take a law conversion course which includes preparation for the SQE 1 assessment, it would be advisable to undertake additional preparation for the assessments. You might find for example, that depending on the type of course you choose, you can add on additional SQE preparation top-up modules, or take an SQE preparation course alongside.  

Alternatively, you could explore some of the SQE preparation courses or training packages, some of which include the law conversion element for non-law graduates. Keep an eye on the eligibility requirements and who the courses are aimed at; as a non-law graduate, you want to be looking for something that will be tailored to those with no prior education or experience of the law.  

Use our course finder to filter and explore courses with the following outcomes: 

•    Undertake Bar Training Course (BTC) or SQE 1&2 assessment preparation
•    SQE 1 assessment ready  
•    SQE1 & SQE 2 assessment ready

You will find a variety of courses are available to you, including SQE preparation courses and those offering diplomas and master’s level qualifications.  As mentioned above, it is important to pay attention to eligibility requirements as some will be suitable for non-law graduates while others will need prior knowledge of the law. Take your time to explore your options, how far the courses will take you in your qualification journey and what your next steps will need to be on completion of your course; some will be SQE assessment ready, some might offer the option of SQE modules while others will not include specific SQE assessment preparation and you will need to undertake some form of additional top-up course before you sit the assessments.

Course fees

When it comes to course fees, refer to the relevant course pages of the university websites to help you identify the best option for you based on your needs and the kind of training, opportunities and academic qualification you are looking to gain.  Some courses may offer you the chance to work in a law-clinic and others may offer qualifying work experience placements.  These are all factors to consider when you are comparing course fees and making your choices.

The SRA website contains further guidance for applicants on what to consider when choosing an SQE course.

SQE assessments

It’s important to remember also that the SQE assessments are separate from the courses and are managed centrally by Kaplan. Unless your course specifically indicates that the cost of the assessments is included in your course fees, you should factor in the cost of the assessments on top of your course fees.

The assessments need to be booked separately and you would probably want to ensure there is not too long a gap between completing a course and taking the first assessment.  Once you know which course(s) you are going to do and when you are likely to be ready to take your SQE 1 assessment, you can register for your assessment.   Read more about the SQE timings.

Note: If you hold a non-UK degree, you will need to provide a UK ENIC Statement of Comparability when you apply to the SRA for admission as a solicitor. The SRA would not require this, however, from a candidate who has a UK LLM at the point at which they apply for admission as a solicitor.

What course should I do if I have a non-qualifying UK law degree, or a law degree obtained from outside the UK?

From 1 September 2021, if you want to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales, you will need to do so through the SQE.  Please refer to our SQE section for full information about how to qualify through the SQE.

As part of your qualification through the SQE, you need to pass two SQE assessments: SQE 1 and SQE 2. You can decide yourself how you want to prepare for the assessments - there is no prescribed route for doing this, and so you are free to choose a course that suits you, taking into account the studies you have already undertaken as well as the areas of interest you might have. 

If you are looking for a solid academic background in law to add to your CV and have not previously studied law in the UK, you could consider a GDL/law conversion course.  These courses are suitable for both aspiring solicitors and barristers and so also work really well if you are not yet sure which qualification route you want to take. A GDL/law conversion will provide you with a thorough grounding in law from which you can go on to undertake additional SQE preparation if you want to be a solicitor or a Bar Training Course if you want to be a barrister.  

There are also SQE courses on offer for aspiring solicitors which are tailored to non-law graduates (such as law conversions which include SQE preparation) as well as those for law graduates, to prepare you for the SQE 1 and/or SQE 2 assessments. Please check the eligibility requirements for those tailored to law graduates as some will require you to have completed the key foundations in law which are traditionally found in a UK qualifying law degree.

Some of the short courses available may be more suitable for those who have previously studied or practiced law at some level or are already qualified in other jurisdictions. If you have a law degree, you might find that a shorter course covering the areas needed to pass the SQE assessments will suffice, however, it would be worth checking how much your law degree covered in terms of the seven key foundations of law (found in a UK qualifying law degree) and how much ‘topping up’ you need to do to enable you to pass the SQE. You might prefer to combine SQE preparation with a Masters level qualification to build on your academic credentials and take advantage of some of the longer courses being offered.

When you are choosing a course, keep a close eye on the course outcome as it is really important to understand what the course will provide you with, taking into account your educational background, aspirations for your career in law and what your next steps will need to be once you have completed the course. Some will be SQE assessment ready, some might offer the option of SQE modules while others will not include specific SQE assessment preparation and you will need to undertake some form of additional top-up course before you sit the assessments.

When it comes to course fees, refer to the relevant course pages of the university websites to help you identify the best option for you based on your needs and the kind of training, opportunities and academic qualification you are looking to gain.  Some courses may offer you the chance to work in a law-clinic and others may offer qualifying work experience placements.  These are all factors to consider when you are comparing course fees and making your choices.

The SRA website contains further guidance for applicants on what to consider when choosing an SQE course.

It’s important to remember also that the SQE assessments are separate from the courses and are managed centrally by Kaplan. Unless your course specifically indicates that the cost of the assessments is included in your course fees, you should factor in the cost of the assessments on top of your course fees.

If you hold a non-UK degree, you will need to provide a UK ENIC Statement of Comparability when you apply to the SRA for admission as a solicitor. The SRA would not require this, however, from a candidate who has a UK LLM at the point at which they apply for admission as a solicitor.

Use our course finder to explore the courses on offer and what stage in your qualification journey they will take you to.  

What course should I do if I already have a GDL/QLD?

If you already have your GDL or QLD you can continue to qualify through the LPC route, provided you meet the eligibility requirements as outlined in the SRA's transitional arrangements.  Use our course finder to identify Legal Practice Courses on offer.

You also have the option of qualifying through the SQE - visit our SQE section for full information about how to qualify through this route.

As part of your qualification through the SQE, you need to pass two SQE assessments.  You can decide yourself how you want to prepare for the assessments - there is no prescribed route for doing this and so you are free to choose a course that suits you, taking into account the studies you have already undertaken as well as the areas of interest you might have.  Course providers will be offering a much greater variety of subjects in their new SQE courses including areas such as project management and legal technology, gearing applicants up for the needs of 21st century law firms. Do take the time to explore the courses on offer and what they include.

As you have already have a grounding in law, you could consider doing a short SQE preparation course or, if you want to build on your academic credentials, you could choose a masters course which includes preparation for the SQE assessments.

When you are choosing a course, keep a close eye on the course outcome as it is really important to understand what the course will provide you with, taking into account your educational background, aspirations for your career in law and what your next steps will need to be once you have completed the course. 

When it comes to course fees, refer to the relevant course pages of the university websites to help you identify the best option for you based on your needs and the kind of training, opportunities and academic qualification you are looking to gain.  Some courses may offer you the chance to work in a law-clinic and others may offer qualifying work experience placements.  These are all factors to consider when you are comparing course fees and making your choices.

The SRA website contains further guidance for applicants on what to consider when choosing an SQE course.

It’s important to remember also that the SQE assessments are separate from the courses and are managed centrally by Kaplan. Unless your course specifically indicates that the cost of the assessments is included in your course fees, you should factor in the cost of the assessments on top of your course fees.

Use our course finder to explore the courses on offer and what stage in your qualification journey they will take you to.  

What course should I do if I already have an LPC?

Under SQE, course providers are free to offer SQE preparation courses as determined by them, enabling them to offer a greater variety of courses tailored to specific applicant needs. This means that there are (and will be even more so in the future) lots of different style courses out there and you will be able to choose one that suits you, taking into account the studies you have already done and how you want to study as well as the areas of interest you might have.

As you have already completed a QLD/GDL and your LPC, you may want to look at some of the short SQE prep courses on offer by way of a top-up to help you pass the SQE assessments. Alternatively, you might prefer to build on the academic credentials you already have and opt for a masters qualification which includes SQE 1 and/or SQE 2 preparation.  

Use our course finder to identify courses which are suitable for you based on your needs and desired outcome.

It’s important to remember that the SQE assessments are separate from the courses and are managed centrally by Kaplan. Unless your course specifically indicates that the cost of the assessments is included in your course fees, you should factor in the cost of the assessments on top of your course fees.

The SRA website contains further guidance for applicants on what to consider when choosing an SQE course.

What course should I do if I am a lawyer qualified in another jurisdiction?

If you are a lawyer who is already qualified in another jurisdiction then you can seek admission as a solicitor of England and Wales via the SQE route.  Please refer to our SQE section for full information about how to qualify through the SQE.

As part of your qualification through the SQE, you need to pass two SQE assessments.  You can decide yourself how you want to prepare for the assessments - there is no prescribed route for doing this, and so you are free to choose a course that suits you.

If you have not previously studied law in the UK, you could consider a GDL/law conversion course, however, as a qualified lawyer you may feel that you have studied law sufficiently, or may even have previously studied law in the UK, in which case an SQE preparation course geared specifically to the SQE assessments may be more suitable for you.  It is worth familiarising yourself with what the two assessments will be testing you on and choose a course which best fits in with the studies you have already undertaken as well as the areas of interest you might have. 

Use our course finder to explore the courses on offer and what stage in your qualification journey they will take you to. 

When you are choosing a course, keep a close eye on the course outcome as it is really important to understand what the course will provide you with, taking into account your educational background and what your next steps will need to be once you have completed the course. Some will be SQE assessment ready, some might offer the option of SQE modules while others will not include specific SQE assessment preparation and you will need to undertake some form of additional top-up course before you sit the assessments.

When it comes to course fees, refer to the relevant course pages of the university websites to help you identify the best option for you based on your needs and the kind of training, opportunities and academic qualification you are looking to gain.  

The SRA website contains further guidance for applicants on what to consider when choosing an SQE course.

It’s important to remember also that the SQE assessments are separate from the courses and are managed centrally by Kaplan. Unless your course specifically indicates that the cost of the assessments is included in your course fees, you should factor in the cost of the assessments on top of your course fees.

If you hold a non-UK degree, you will need to provide a UK ENIC Statement of Comparability when you apply to the SRA for admission as a solicitor. The SRA would not require this, however, from a candidate who has a UK LLM at the point at which they apply for admission as a solicitor. 

Alternatively, as a qualified lawyer you may already have much of the knowledge and experience that the Solicitors Regulation Authority is aiming to test through the SQE.  If you can demonstrate that you have the legal knowledge, skills and competences equivalent to those required of a newly admitted English solicitor, you may be able to apply for an exemption from one, or even both, of the SQE assessments. Further guidance for qualified lawyers is available from the SRA.

In addition, as a qualified lawyer from another jurisdiction, you are not required to do Qualifying Work Experience (QWE), as the SRA will recognise your existing qualification and experience.

If, however, you seek exemptions from SQE1 and/or SQE2, you would need a minimum of 2 years work experience which the SRA would want to consider before admitting you as a solicitor in England and Wales. This could entail the SRA seeking confirmation of your work experience and/or a certificate of good standing from a referee - for example, if your work experience is not a standard part of a qualification that the SRA has already recognised and is being relied on for equivalence.

If, as a qualified lawyer, you are granted an exemption from SQE2, the SRA may require you to demonstrate your English or Welsh language competence.

A lawyer who is qualified outside of the UK and has been practising for three years or more and wishes to qualify as a barrister in the UK should contact the Bar Standards Board.

What should I be looking for generally in a SQE preparation course?

Universities and other course providers are offering a variety of courses to help you prepare for the SQE assessments, either through online, part-time or full-time face to face teaching. These may be short preparation courses, or longer postgraduate courses, including at Masters level. The following provides some points to consider in terms of the content and additional features of a SQE preparation course.

SQE1 preparation courses
Consider a course with content that:

  • covers the seven foundation areas of academic law (found in a qualifying law degree), if you have not done a UK law degree, or content that refreshes essential legal knowledge, if you have done a UK law degree
  • covers vocational, practical legal subject areas (similar to stage 1 of a LPC)
  • regularly and repeatedly develops and tests on Single Best Answer (SBA) questions in exam conditions, as these are a core part of the SQE1 assessment.

SQE2 preparation courses
Consider a course with content that develops core legal skills (oral and written), allowing you to practise those skills and receive constructive feedback to prepare for SQE2. Skills include client interview and attendance note/legal analysis, advocacy, case and matter analysis, legal research, legal writing, legal drafting, and negotiation.

What else to look for in a SQE preparation course?
You may also, depending on your existing legal experience, want a course that:

  • offers employability support and employability skills development
  • provides access to legal work experience opportunities that could be 'banked' as QWE
  • offers additional workshops/tutorials to develop broader career-long skills in e.g. leadership, conflict management, commerciality
  • provides coursebooks/guides to support off-course revision and self-study of SQE1 & SQE2 subject areas and related SBA questions.

For more detailed guidance on the right course for you, see our FAQs, targeted at specific points in your academic journey e.g. which course should I do if...:

  • I have an LPC
  • I have a QLD/GDL
  • I have a non-qualifying UK law degree / a non-UK law degree
  • I have a non-law degree.

The SRA website contains further guidance for applicants on what to consider when choosing an SQE course.

When are the SQE assessments and how do I book my place?

The first SQE1 assessment was in November 2021 and the first SQE2 assessment will take place in April 2022.

Further timings of the SQE1 and SQE2  assessments for 2022 onwards can be found on the SRA SQE site.

Kaplan is managing the SQE assessments, which will take place at Pearson VUE test centres across the UK and internationally.

The assessments are completely separate from any courses you might do to prepare for them, and need to booked independently by you (unless your course provider has specifically indicated that the assessments are included in the cost of the course fees and are being booked for you).

Anybody wanting to take the SQE assessments first needs to register online with the SRA SQE site prior to booking the assessment. You don't need to wait until you are ready to book an assessment - you should register as early as possible to allow yourself sufficient time to complete all the pre-booking steps.

Once you have successfully registered, you will receive notification of assessments dates, including when bookings open, and will then be able to book your own assessment date as soon as you are ready.

After you have taken the assessments you can expect the results to be received as follows:
SQE1 - within 6-10 weeks of sitting the assessment
SQE2 - within 14-18 weeks of sitting the assessment

A useful webinar for candidates about the SQE assessments is currently available.