The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) made simple

By Freedom Law Clinic | blog | Published on April 18, 2024

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a pivotal assessment for aspiring solicitors in England and Wales, comprising two main assessments: SQE1 and SQE2. SQE1 focuses on testing candidates’ foundational legal knowledge, while SQE2 evaluates their practical legal skills and application. To qualify as a solicitor, individuals must pass both assessments, hold a degree in any subject (or equivalent qualification or work experience), complete two years of Qualifying Work Experience, and meet the character and suitability requirements outlined by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

SQE1 has gained a reputation for its difficulty, but this challenge can be mitigated by acquiring professional experience before sitting for the exam. Our online SQE preparation course integrates SQE training with Qualifying Work Experience, allowing candidates to fulfil two requirements simultaneously and facilitating a deeper understanding of the exam’s content.

What sets our SQE preparation course apart is our active learning approach. Our seminars are not passive lectures but engaging sessions involving constant testing, recitation, and practical exercises. In our online SQE1 classrooms, candidates are encouraged to participate actively, fostering a dynamic learning environment that mimics real-world legal scenarios.

Experienced solicitors often recommend gaining practical experience before attempting the SQE1 exam. This is because SQE1 assesses candidates’ ability to think like a ‘day-one’ qualified lawyer. Taking the exam too early can lead to lower pass rates due to inadequate preparation and familiarity with legal practice.

Recently, the SRA reported a marginal increase in SQE1 pass rates compared to previous sittings, especially among first-time sitters. Despite a lower pass mark indicating a more challenging exam, the overall pass rate improved. This trend reflects the successful adaptation of candidates, course providers, and employers to the Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) format introduced by the SQE.

However, a significant concern highlighted by the SRA’s data is the disparity in pass rates among different ethnic groups. For example, Black/Black British candidates continue to experience lower pass rates compared to the national average, highlighting persistent issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the legal profession.

To address this disparity, the SRA commissioned the University of Exeter to research the factors contributing to the attainment gap. The findings underscore systemic challenges faced by candidates from minority backgrounds, including socioeconomic barriers and lack of support in education and work settings.

Achieving success in the SQE1 exam requires more than academic proficiency; it demands systemic improvements to promote inclusivity and diversity within the legal field. Educators and employers share a collective responsibility to enhance opportunities for individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and minority groups.

By embracing tailored SQE preparation courses in London that prioritize active learning and practical application, aspiring solicitors can enhance their chances of success while contributing to broader efforts aimed at fostering diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. Our course is designed not only to prepare candidates for the exam but also to equip them with the skills and insights necessary to thrive as solicitors in a diverse and dynamic legal landscape.

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