Featured image for 39. Unveiling the SQE Format: What You Need to Know

39. Unveiling the SQE Format: What You Need to Know

39. Unveiling the SQE Format: What You Need to Know

Are you preparing for the Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE)? The new SQE format is now in place, and it’s important to understand the changes and what it means for your journey to becoming a qualified solicitor. In this article, we will delve into the details of the SQE format, giving you all the information you need to succeed.

1. Structure of the SQE

The SQE is divided into two stages. Stage 1 consists of two written exams, while Stage 2 focuses on practical legal skills assessments. These assessments will test your understanding and ability to apply legal knowledge in real-world scenarios. It is important to note that both stages must be completed to qualify as a solicitor.

23. Understanding the Grading System in SQE

2. The Written exams – SQE1

SQE1 is designed to assess your ability to apply legal knowledge and understanding to practical situations. It comprises of two written exams: Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) and Practical Legal Skills (PLS).

Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) is a multiple-choice exam that evaluates your knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law. The exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions and is divided into two parts, each lasting three hours. It’s important to remember that FLK is not limited to the areas of law covered in the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

Practical Legal Skills (PLS) is a written exam that tests your application of legal knowledge in practical scenarios. This exam is designed to assess your legal research, writing, drafting, and problem-solving skills. It consists of six legal skills assessments and is carried out over two days.

If you’re looking for further support to excel in the written exams, check out our 24. Unlocking Knowledge with SQE Webinars: Expert Insights at Your Fingertips.

3. Practical Legal Skills Assessments – SQE2

SQE2 focuses on assessing your skills in practical legal tasks. This stage consists of a series of assessments that simulate real-life legal scenarios. These assessments will test your ability to apply legal knowledge, carry out legal research, draft legal documents, interview clients, and communicate effectively.

It’s important to note that SQE2 will require you to demonstrate competency in a range of legal practice areas. A detailed understanding of the SRA syllabus is imperative. For more information on the syllabus, check out our article on 4. Unveiling the SRA Syllabus for the SQE.

If you’re seeking guidance on choosing the best SQE course provider, our article on 17. Review of SQE Course Providers: Choosing the Best Fit will provide valuable insights.

4. Preparing for Success

Passing the SQE requires careful preparation and dedication. Here are a few tips to help you on your journey:

  • Review the SRA syllabus thoroughly and ensure you have a strong understanding of the key areas.
  • Develop a study plan that includes regular practice of both legal knowledge and practical skills.
  • Make use of study materials and resources from reliable sources to supplement your learning.
  • Participate in webinars and other interactive sessions to gain valuable insights from experts in the field. Check out our webinars for great resources!
  • Practice time management to ensure you can complete the assessments within the required timeframe.

Additionally, if you’re looking for insider tips and study tricks to conquer the SQE, our article on 31. Conquer the SQE: Insider Tips and Study Tricks for Success will be a valuable resource.


The SQE format introduces significant changes to the qualifying process for solicitors. Understanding these changes and how they impact your journey is essential. By familiarizing yourself with the structure of the SQE, dedicating time to preparation, and seeking guidance from experts, you can position yourself for success in this new era of legal qualification.