SQE Stage 1 pilot assessments held

More than 300 candidates take part in SQE Stage 1 pilot

SQE Stage 1 pilot assessments completed

The SQE Stage 1 pilot assessments were held 20-22 March. A total of 316 candidates completed three days of assessments at 46 different test centres in England, Wales, Scotland and internationally.

What the pilot set out to cover

The SQE Stage 1 pilot assessments involved a multiple-choice test and skills assessments of legal research and writing.

The assessment specification for the Stage 1 pilot sets out what we assessed in the pilot, how we assessed candidates and the standards we applied. The legal content of the assessment has not changed from the 2017 draft specification.

The pilot assessment specification includes an assessment blueprint, which sets out the weighting given to different parts of the three Functioning Legal Knowledge assessments.

We continue to seek views about the structure and content of the assessment specification. This may then change in the light of this work and the pilot findings.

How we selected candidates

Candidates were selected to create a sample group as representative as possible of those who will sit the SQE when it is introduced. In terms of prior education and experience, this means that candidates should either:

  • have completed Stage 1 (the compulsory stage) of the Legal Practice Course (LPC), or
  • have completed a period of study and/or work experience equivalent to Stage 1 (the compulsory stage) of the LPC, or
  • be a qualified lawyer in a recognised jurisdiction eligible to qualify via the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme, or
  • be a barrister of England and Wales.

The pilot was oversubscribed and so preference was given to those who applied early.

What happens next?

Candidates will receive a transcript with detailed results including a comparative result, which they will be able to show to any future employer. We expect to be able to share results with candidates later this year.

Candidates who completed the entire Stage 1 pilot will receive £300. Candidates whose results rank in the top 10 percent will receive an additional £200.

In addition, leading law firms are offering career development opportunities to the best-performing candidates. The opportunities include a training contract assessment day place, open day places, skills workshops, and one-to-one coaching sessions.

The firms offering these opportunities are:

  • Atherton Godfrey
  • Brethertons
  • Browne Jacobson
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  • Mayer Brown
  • Moore Blatch
  • Sidley Austin

The best-performing candidates will be given further details of the opportunities after they have received their results. They will be able to choose the opportunity they wish to take up based on their overall result and availability (ie the highest scoring candidate will have first choice).

Results of the SQE Stage 1 pilot

The pilot assessments are being marked and we are gathering feedback from candidates. We are also carrying out a psychometric analysis and review of the pilot. We expect to release candidate results later this year. At around the same time, we will report on the pilot's findings.

SQE Stage 2 pilot

We will conduct a second pilot – for SQE Stage 2 – in December. We plan to open up applications for this in July or August. More information, including the assessment specification for the Stage 2 pilot, will be made available near the time of the pilot.

How do I find out more detail?

Read more information about the SQE.

If you have questions, get in touch.

How can law firms help?

If you work in a law firm, or in an organisation with a legal department, you can get involved by offering career development opportunities for the best-performing candidates in the Stage 2 pilot.

Get in touch with your details so we can contact you.