SQE1 and SQE2 assessments

For people qualifying via the SQE after 1 September 2020

SQE1 (Functioning Legal Knowledge)

You will be tested on the application of Functioning Legal Knowledge by single best answer multiple choice questions.

SQE2 (Practical Legal Skills Assessments)

You will be tested on:

  • client interviewing with linked attendance note/legal analysis 
  • attendance note/legal analysis
  • advocacy
  • case and matter analysis
  • legal research and written advice
  • legal drafting
  • legal writing.

Read the SQE2 Assessment Specification for more detail on what will be tested.

Sitting the SQE and related topics

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Following further engagement with stakeholders, below are the planned assessment dates for 2021 and 2022. We have also included timings for 2023. Please note that:

  • there are two SQE1 sittings in 2023, in January and July. We will continue to monitor demand for introducing additional SQE1 sittings, looking to add sittings when appropriate, for example, in April and October
  • there are two SQE2 sittings in 2023, rising to three SQE2 sittings in 2024 (January, April and July), and ultimately rising to four SQE2 sittings (January, April, July, and October)

These will become the regular pattern of SQE sittings following the transitional years of 2021 and 2022. We will aim for assessment dates that are within the same weeks of the same months as far as possible. These will be published 12 months before each relevant assessment.

Year Assessment Exam sitting*
2021 SQE1 8 and 11 November**
2022 SQE2

Written part: 11-13 April***

Oral part: ****

  • First sitting 19-20 April
  • Second sitting 21-22 April
2022 SQE1 July
2022 SQE2 October
2023 SQE1 January
2023 SQE2 April
2023 SQE1 July
2023 SQE2 July

*Bookings will close approximately five weeks before the assessment sitting

**We expect results for the first sitting of SQE1 to be published within 6 - 10 weeks

***SQE1 and SQE2 written will take place at Pearson VUE test centres in the UK and internationally

**** SQE2 oral assessments will take place at locations in Cardiff, London, Manchester. Please note that some oral sittings may not be available in all locations. The venues for the oral test centres will be available on the SQE website from summer 2021. Exact dates for each location will be available when the booking window opens.

Further SQE2 oral assessment dates may be added at later date if needed to meet higher demand.

For more information on test centres, please see Which Pearson VUE centres will run the written skills assessment for SQE2?

The SQE1 and the written elements of SQE2 will be available to sit in England and Wales, as well as some international locations

SQE1 includes two exams (Functioning Legal Knowledge assessment 1 and Functioning Legal Knowledge assessment 2) that are single best answer multiple choice. These will be available to take across a wide geographic area at Pearson VUE test centres and each Functioning Legal Knowledge assessment is taken on a separate day (see 'Timings' above for the SQE1 assessment dates).

For SQE2, you will be assessed in client interviewing with linked attendance note/legal analysis, advocacy, legal writing, legal research, legal drafting and case and matter analysis. There will be a more limited choice of centres for this assessment.

Ahead of the launch of the SQE website, we are sharing information to help you understand how the SQE will operate. This will include publishing key policies and procedures as well as practical information about the assessment.

The total fee for taking both SQE assessments will be £3,980.

When it is introduced in September 2021, these fees will cover:

  • SQE1 - with a fee of £1,558 for the two examinations consisting of 180 questions each testing candidates' functioning legal knowledge.
  • SQE2 - with a fee of £2,422 for the written and oral tasks testing both practical legal knowledge and skills, which includes advocacy, client interviewing (with written attendance note/legal analysis), legal research, legal writing, legal drafting and case and matter analysis.

Ethics and professional conduct are tested throughout both SQE1 and 2.

The fees do not include training costs, which will vary depending on a candidate’s choices. Find out more about SQE training providers.

You will only be allowed three attempts at each assessment - SQE1 Functioning Legal Knowledge assessment 1, SQE1 Functioning Legal Knowledge assessment 2 and SQE2. This means one sitting and two resits.

You must take any resits within six years of your first SQE sitting. If you fail these, at the end of the six years you can start again from the beginning.

Each time you resit the SQE assessments you will pay the full costs again. This unless you are only resitting one part of SQE1 (ie Functioning Legal Knowledge assessment 1 or Functioning Legal Knowledge assessment 2).

If you are already on your way to becoming a solicitor, take a look at the transitional arrangements we will have in place after the SQE is introduced.

We publish a list of providers and organisations who:

  • deliver SQE education, tutoring or training services (or plan to in the future)

  • produce SQE-related study materials and resources (or plan to in the future).

Take a look at the providers

Follow Career in Law to get the latest information for aspiring solicitors

Qualifying Work Experience: Benedict Fisher, Maxine Warr and Richard Williams