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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Here are the planned assessments dates for 2021 and 2022. Those date following the initial sitting of SQE1 (November 2021) and SQE2 (April 2022) may change in light of further stakeholder engagement. We will confirm the dates closer to the time of the assessments. In April we expect to confirm the exact date for the first sitting of SQE2 taking place in April 2022.

Year Assessment Bookings close Exam sitting Results published
2021 SQE1 September 8 and 11 November 6-10 weeks later
2022 SQE2 February April TBC
2022 SQE1 March May (TBC) TBC
2022 SQE2 August October (TBC) TBC
2022 SQE1 September November (TBC) TBC

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 (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