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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The SQE will be introduced from 1 September 2021 and initially there will be two sittings of each exam per year. Please remember you can only take SQE2 after passing SQE1.

Here are the planned dates for 2021 and 2022. These may change slightly but will be confirmed closer to the time of the assessments.

Year Assessment Bookings close Exam sitting Results published
2021 SQE1 September November 6 weeks later
2022 SQE2 February April 14 weeks later
2022 SQE1 March May 6 weeks later
2022 SQE2 August October 14 weeks later
2022 SQE1 September November 6 weeks later

SQE1 involves around ten hours of examinations, while SQE2 is around 14 hours.

SQE1 is sat over two full days and SQE2 is sat over five half days

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 that are single best answer multiple choice. You must sit all together. These will available to take across a wide geographic area at Pearson VUE test centres.

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.

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.

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

The solicitor trailblazer apprenticeship is a six-year programme where you work and training at the same time. At the end of the apprenticeship, you will sit the same two SQE assessments as everyone else to become a solicitor.

For apprentices, your training and assessments are paid for through the apprenticeship levy fund.

Find out more about Solicitor Apprenticeships

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

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