SQE Update – March 2022
In this bulletin find out about SQE1 bookings opening for the July sitting, SQE2 assessment contingency planning and choosing an SQE training provider. You can also get involved in our upcoming webinars and face-to-face events, as well as watching our on demand webinars.
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SQE1 bookings open 17 March
Candidates can book for the next SQE1 assessment taking place in July from Thursday 17 March. To do this, they must have completed all the registration and pre-booking process first. If they need reasonable adjustments, they should make the request as early as possible as part of their pre-booking steps.
Results for the July 2022 SQE1 and sitting SQE2
The results for the July SQE1 exam will be released in early October, after the booking window for the October SQE2 has closed. This means that candidates who successfully pass SQE1 in July will be unable to sit SQE2 in October. The next sitting of SQE2 is in April 2023.
SQE2 assessment contingency planning
We expect the SQE2 assessments in April to go ahead at test centres as planned, as this provides the best way to maintain the integrity and safeguard the security of the assessment. However, we do have arrangements in place for remote assessment should there be significant Covid-19 disruption due to the closure of large numbers of test centres or of UK borders. We will communicate with candidates as early as possible if we need to invoke any contingency plans.
Candidates who have a health issue which prevents them from travelling as a result of Covid-19 should refer to the reasonable adjustments process. Any applications will be considered on a case by case basis.
New SQE2 sitting in October 2023
We continue to keep the SQE2 schedule under review and, following feedback from stakeholders, there will now be an additional sitting in October 2023. The exact date will be published approximately 12 months before as usual.
Choosing an SQE training provider
Are you or someone you know looking to study for the SQE assessments? We've published information on the different ways to learn and train. Take a look at the helpful tips and advice on what to consider when choosing a way to study and an education/training provider.
Preparing for SQE2
Read our Director or Education and Training, Julie Brannan's latest blog on what candidates should consider before sitting SQE2. Read more
#SQEready – what universities and training providers are doing
We're showcasing how different organisations are incorporating the SQE into their training and recruitment. Read the latest case studies from Preptackle on what they're doing.
If you are a training provider – or employer – who is interested in getting involved in #SQEready, get in touch.
Qualified lawyers – becoming a solicitor (YouTube)
When: 29 March 2022, 13.00 – 13.45
Are you an overseas or UK qualified lawyer? This free webinar will give you the facts on:
- what becoming a solicitor through the SQE means
- what we mean by a qualified lawyer and who it includes
- what qualified lawyers will need to do, including UK and Irish lawyers, barristers and chartered legal executives
- how you can apply for SQE assessment exemptions and tips for a good application
- the options for current Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme candidates and the important deadlines they need to know about
Who: Maxine Warr, Head of Education and Training, SRA (Chair), Carol Cook, Policy Manager, SRA and Natalie Crowton, Authorisation Officer, SRA
Qualifying work experience explained (YouTube)
Date: 6 April 2022, 13.00 – 13.45
What is qualifying work experience (QWE)? Join our free webinar to find out and get the facts on:
- what counts as QWE
- how someone meets our requirements
- what confirming QWE involves and who can do it
- how a candidate records their QWE and what they need to tell us
Who: Maxine Warr, Head of Education and Training, SRA (Chair) and Richard Williams, Policy Manager, SRA
SQE assessments: mitigating circumstances (YouTube)
Date: 5 April 2022, 13.30 – 14.15
This free webinar tells you the options available to candidates whose performance in SQE assessments is negatively impacted by particular circumstances – commonly known as mitigating or extenuating circumstances. It will provide an overview of:
- the mitigating circumstances and ‘Fit to Sit' policies, which includes candidate illnesses or other personal circumstances beyond their control, mistakes or irregularities in the assessment and any evidence of bias
- the application form and possible outcomes.
Who: Carol Cook, Policy Manager, SRA and Jackie Panter, Head of Equality and Quality, Kaplan
Qualifying work experience – networking events for employers and work experience providers (various locations)
We are running face-to-face networking events in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Swansea. Join us to discuss how changes to the qualification process have created new opportunities for law firms and in-house teams in how they can train future solicitors.
Free to attend, they are open to employers or a work experience provider, such as a charity or law clinic. The events will offer an opportunity to:
- explore qualifying work experience - discussing opportunities and how to manage any risks
- input into our plans for evaluating the impact of the SQE and wider qualification changes
- network with other employers
- talk to the SQE team from the SRA and get answers to your questions
Choose the best location below to book your place.
On demand webinars
Navigating the SQE training market
There are lots of different ways to learn and train for the new SQE assessments. Watch our free webinar to find out how the education and training market has developed since the SQE's introduction last year. Aimed at aspiring solicitors, join us to get impartial hints and tips to help you choose an education and training provider.
SQE1 - how the first assessment went
Want to know how the first SQE assessment went? Watch our webinar offering an update on what we learnt. Find out more on the results, such as pass marks, how candidates performed and standards setting, contingency planning and next steps.
Preparing for SQE2
by Julie Brannan, Director of Education and Training
SQE2 is an assessment of the core skills all solicitors need to be competent practitioners.
Candidates must pass SQE1 before they can attempt SQE2. But you should be wary of rushing to take SQE2 as soon as you have got through SQE1.
Just because you have passed SQE1, that does not mean you are ready for SQE2. They assess very different things. And in practice, many candidates are unlikely to do well in SQE2 without a good chunk of QWE under their belts, perhaps in combination with some formal skills training. That will take a bit of time.
The essential elements needed for admission as a solicitor don't need to be done in any particular order, provided they are all in place by the time a candidate applies for admission. Under our regulations, you can do QWE before, during or after SQE1 and/or SQE2. But this doesn't mean that it is sensible for most candidates attempt SQE2 before they have any practical experience of the work of a solicitor.
SQE2 is all about professional skills. The standard is that of a newly qualified solicitor - higher than the Legal Practice Course, which was set at the level of a day one trainee solicitor. QWE should help you develop exactly the skills which you will be assessed on in SQE2.
Our QWE guidance reminds candidates that their QWE should be broad and varied and cover a wide range of the competences assessed through SQE2.
Good quality QWE will:
- give a candidate the opportunity to see how an experienced solicitor undertakes a client interview, or drafts a letter, or analyses a case
- provide an opportunity for a candidate to have a go themselves, under supervision, and learn from feedback given by their supervisor
- understand what the day one solicitor standard is.
Everyone has only three attempts at each assessment, to be passed within six years from the first sitting of an SQE assessment. Wasting an attempt by having a go before you are ready is not only expensive, but could risk being demoralising and slowing down your qualification journey.
So before you decide to attempt either SQE1 or SQE2, take a moment to think about whether you are ready:
- Do you understand what the standard is? Do you know what you need to do to provide a competent service to your clients?
- Do you understand how the assessment works?
- Have you, for example, seen a client interview conducted for real? Do you know how to explain complex legal concepts to a client? Have you read and drafted documents and letters, so you understand the need for professional language which is clear, precise and accurate? Have you practised making a formal submission to the court? Have you seen how an experienced solicitor spots and addresses tricky ethical issues?
Talk to work colleagues - do they think you are working at the standard of a newly qualified solicitor? And take a look at the SQE2 assessment specification, which explains in detail how the assessments work and the criteria by which you will be judged.
It's your choice. Everybody's circumstances will be different. But you will want to make sure you feel confident you can do yourself justice in the assessment.
And very good luck!
Other ways to get involved
Join our LinkedIn reference group. It will help you keep up to date with the latest SQE developments and opportunities to get involved in our surveys and events.
If you are thinking about taking the SQE, or know someone who is, please follow Career in Law for the latest information aimed at aspiring solicitors.
If you have any questions, or want more information on how you can get involved, contact us.