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19. Understanding the SQE Format: Structure and Content Overview

19. Understanding the SQE Format: Structure and Content Overview

As the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) grows in popularity, it’s essential for aspiring lawyers to have a comprehensive understanding of its format, structure, and content. The SQE is a two-part examination designed to assess a candidate’s competence to practice as a solicitor in England and Wales. In this article, we will provide an overview of the SQE format, including its structure and content, to help you prepare for success.

1. SQE Format Overview

The SQE is divided into two parts: SQE1 and SQE2.


SQE1 tests candidates on functioning legal knowledge, such as the application of substantive law, legal research, and writing skills. It consists of two, 180-question multiple-choice papers, each lasting three hours and fifteen minutes. The subjects covered in SQE1 include:

  • Business Law and Practice
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Contract Law and Tort
  • Legal System of England and Wales, Constitutional and Administrative Law, and EU Law
  • Property Law
  • Wills and Administration of Estates and Trusts
  • Criminal Law and Practice

To enhance your preparation for SQE1, you can practice with SQE 1 Practice Exam Questions and take SQE 1 Practice Mocks FLK1 FLK2.


On the other hand, SQE2 focuses on practical legal skills required for day-to-day practice. It consists of 15 stations, each assessing a different area of skill. These stations cover:

  • Client Interviewing and Attendance
  • Advocacy and Oral Presentation
  • Case and Matter Analysis
  • Legal Drafting
  • Legal Research and Written Advice

To maximize your chances of success in SQE2, it is recommended to enroll in SQE 2 Preparation Courses that provide hands-on training and guidance in mastering these practical legal skills.

2. SQE Structure

The SQE has a distinct structure that you should be familiar with:

MCQs and Written Assessments

SQE1 consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and written assessments. The MCQs assess your knowledge across various legal subjects, while the written assessments test your ability to apply legal principles and analyze scenarios. It is crucial to have a solid understanding of legal concepts and how to effectively articulate your thoughts in writing.

Practical Skills Assessments

SQE2 focuses on practical skills assessments. In each station, you will encounter a simulated legal scenario and be required to demonstrate your ability to perform the respective task. These stations assess your skills in client interviewing, advocacy, legal drafting, and more.

3. Preparing for the SQE

Preparing for the SQE requires a strategic approach. Here are some important tips to help you succeed:

  • Start early: The SQE is a comprehensive exam that requires significant preparation. Begin your studies well in advance to allow yourself ample time to cover all the necessary material.
  • Understand the exam format: Familiarize yourself with the structure and content of the SQE. Develop a study plan that allocates adequate time to each subject and skill area.
  • Practice extensively: Practice is key to performing well in the SQE. Solve as many practice questions as possible and engage in simulated practice sessions to refine your practical skills.
  • Seek professional guidance: Consider enrolling in specialized SQE 1 and SQE 2 preparation courses that provide expert guidance and support tailored to the exam’s requirements.

For a comprehensive overview of the SQE 1 and SQE 2 examination dates, visit SRA SQE Exam Dates.


The SQE is a rigorous examination that tests a candidate’s legal knowledge and practical skills. By understanding its format, structure, and content, you can develop an effective strategy to prepare for success. Remember to allocate adequate time for each subject, practice extensively, and seek professional guidance when necessary. With proper preparation and a focused approach, you can confidently navigate the SQE and work towards achieving your career goals as a solicitor.