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44. Unveiling the SQE Format: Structure and Components of the Exam

44. Unveiling the SQE Format: Structure and Components of the Exam

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the structure and components of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). If you are a law graduate or an aspiring solicitor, understanding the format of the SQE is essential to your exam preparation. In this article, we will explore the various sections of the exam, provide insights into each component, and offer tips to excel in each section.

The SQE Format: An Overview

The SQE is a two-stage examination that replaced the previous qualification process for solicitors in England and Wales. The exam assesses candidates’ competence in both practical legal skills and legal knowledge. The SQE is designed to ensure that all qualifying solicitors meet the necessary standards of legal practice.

Stage 1: SQE1

The first stage of the SQE, known as SQE1, consists of two written papers and tests candidates’ understanding of law and legal procedure.

Paper 1: Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK)

The FLK paper assesses candidates’ knowledge and understanding of legal principles across the subjects of business law and practice, dispute resolution, contract law and tort law. This multiple-choice exam requires candidates to select the most appropriate response from a set of options. To excel in the FLK paper, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of the core legal principles and their application in different scenarios.

For additional guidance on how to conquer the multiple-choice questions (MCQ) in SQE1, check out our article on Conquer the Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) in SQE1.

Paper 2: Practical Legal Skills (PLS)

The PLS paper tests candidates’ ability to apply legal principles to practical scenarios. This paper assesses candidates’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and understanding of legal ethics and professional conduct. The PLS paper consists of client interviewing, advocacy, and case and matter analysis. To perform well in the PLS paper, candidates should focus on developing their practical legal skills and familiarize themselves with real-life case studies and scenarios.

To learn more about applying legal knowledge in real-life scenarios, read our article on SQE Case Studies: Applying Knowledge in Real-Life Scenarios.

Stage 2: SQE2

The second stage of the SQE, known as SQE2, is a series of practical assessments that test candidates’ ability to handle legal transactions and client issues.

Client Interviewing and Prerogative

This component of SQE2 assesses candidates’ ability to interview clients and provide appropriate legal advice. Candidates will be evaluated on their communication skills, legal knowledge, and the ability to apply legal principles to client scenarios.

Advocacy and Persuasion

Candidates’ advocacy skills will be put to the test in this part of SQE2. They will be required to present arguments, cross-examine witnesses, and deliver persuasive speeches.

Legal Writing and Drafting

This section evaluates candidates’ ability to draft legal documents, such as contracts, wills, and letters. Candidates must demonstrate precision, attention to detail, and clarity in their written work.

Legal Research and Legal Analysis

Candidates will be given legal research tasks and asked to analyze complex legal issues. The ability to access relevant legal materials, apply legal principles, and provide sound legal analysis is crucial in this segment.

To master time management strategies for efficient exam completion in SQE2, refer to our article on Mastering Time Management in SQE: Strategies for Efficient Exam Completion.

Preparing for the SQE

As the SQE is a comprehensive examination, proper preparation is key to success. Here are some tips to enhance your SQE preparation:

  1. Develop a study plan: Organize your study schedule and allocate sufficient time for each section of the exam.
  2. Practice past papers: Familiarize yourself with the format of the exam by practicing with past papers and sample questions.
  3. Identify areas for improvement: Analyze your mock results to identify weak areas and focus on improving them.
  4. Seek guidance: Consider enrolling in SQE training programs or seeking advice from experienced professionals in the field.

For an in-depth guide on analyzing mock results for SQE and identifying areas of improvement, check out our article on Analyzing Mock Results for SQE: Identifying Areas of Improvement.


Understanding the structure and components of the SQE is essential for any aspiring solicitor. By familiarizing yourself with the SQE format, preparing diligently, and focusing on enhancing your legal knowledge and practical skills, you can increase your chances of success in the exam.

For more information on the SQE and how it can be your gateway to legal practice, read our article on Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE): Your Gateway to Legal Practice.