The introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) in September 2021 sees the replacement of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) with a new assessment framework that involves no additional educational course – a move that may make funding the SQE more manageable.
The SQE’s introduction, and the removal of a formal education element, thus poses the question – how can you prepare for the SQE1 and SQE2?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority have confirmed a number of providers who will offer training courses, tutoring and education to prepare students for the SQE assessments to support candidates’ successful outcomes.
There are two parts to the SQE; SQE1 and SQE2. The first involves written assessments that test Functioning Legal Knowledge to the level of a newly qualified solicitor, while the second part includes both written and oral assessments of your practical legal skills. Preparation courses offer structured teaching and resources to help ensure you have the knowledge you need to pass the assessments.
SQE preparation courses can vary in many ways; as there is no standard course institutions vary the type of courses they offer for SQE preparation. Some institutions offer separate courses to prepare candidates for SQE1 and SQE2, while other institutions offer a combined course. Some course providers choose to teach their courses through interactive online materials while other institutions offer 1-1 or small group tutoring.
While there is no standard course or course delivery for the SQE however, all SQE preparation course providers share one goal – to provide candidates with the knowledge required to pass the SQE assessments in a way that suits your training.
Technically, to complete the SQE, you don’t need to take an SQE prep course. However, many candidates choose to take a preparation course in order to fully prepare for the exams and increase their chances of SQE exam success. The variety of course options means that candidates can find a course that meets their teaching needs without having to meet any course criteria as with the LPC route.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published a list of institutions that have registered that they are offering SQE preparation resources. This list includes providers who are exclusively providing SQE study materials as well as institutions providing more hands-on prep such as tutoring and preparation courses.
The SRA SQE provider list provides an institution’s contact details rather than their course information and students are advised to make their own enquiries about the educational offer. To help SQE candidates determine the SQE preparation course options, we have compiled a list of course providers below.
We’ve researched a number of SQE preparation course providers to bring you some of the best options for 2023 study.
Information correct as of 30 March 2023
|Institution||Course (with hyperlink)||Fees – SQE1||Fees – SQE2||Total cost for both|
|BPP||Recently updated SQE prep courses include a combined option or SQE1 and SQE2 separately.|
LLM SQE1/2 course also available
|£2,999 for self-study|
From £5,500 for law grads
From £8,000 for non-law grads
|£3,799+||£11,500+ for law grads
£13,500+ for non-law grads
|Barbri||Two separate courses: SQE1 & SQE2.||£2,999||£2,999 for alumni |
£3,499 for others
|£5,998 – £6,498 (details here)|
|QLTS School||Split into the SQE1 and SQE2 course.||£1,590 – £2,390||£1,590 – £2,390||£3,180 – £4,780|
|The College of Legal Practice||Taken in two parts: SQE1 and SQE2.||£1,800||£2,300||£4,100|
|DC Legal Services||You can do a combined prep course or split SQE1 and SQE2 up.||£2,000||£3,500||£5,000 for complete course
£5,500 for the two combined
|TA Master Law Tutors||Offers small-group or one-to-one tuition for SQE1 and SQE2.||£4,500 for group teaching|
£7,500 for one-to-one
|£7,500 for group teaching|
£12,500 for one-to-on
|£12,000 for group teaching
£20,00 for one-to-one tutoring
|Freedom Law Clinic||Combined prep course with qualifying work experience included||–||–||£3,528 split into 12x monthly payments of £294|
|Law Training Centre||Split into two courses||£990 – £2,300||£2,500+||£3,400 – £4,800+|
|The University of Law||They have a few SQE courses, including SQE1 and SQE2 prep.||£4,000-£5,650||£4,000-£5,650||£8,000 – £11,300|
|University of Coventry||Offer LLM Professional Legal Practice aligned with SQE 1 & 2||£11,200|
|University of West England||Solicitors Training Course (Combined SQE Prep)||–||–||£8,000|
There are over 20 institutions on the SRA page that have confirmed the details of their SQE prep course – so how do you choose?
Although the move to the SQE establishes a more cost-effective (and accessible!) route to becoming a solicitor, acquiring the training support you may need to secure your success will still cost.
The variability of SQE preparation means that SQE courses vary considerably in price. Some providers offer shorter courses focused on exam preparation (for example, mock assessments) which cost less than the more comprehensive and longer courses which offer broader teaching of examined content. It is also important to consider the size of classes when looking into the prices of SQE preparation as some institutions offer one-on-one courses that provide the opportunity for personal tutor feedback – at a higher price of course!
Additional courses candidates may lean towards taking along the SQE route are also a factor to consider in determining the potential cost of an SQE preparation course. For example, although the law conversion course is no longer a requirement for non-law students who wish to qualify as a solicitor, some non-law graduates have opted to substantiate their legal knowledge by taking on the PGDL before the SQE. While this poses an additional cost it may also decrease the amount needed to be spent on SQE preparation which is another consideration when deciding on how to prepare for the SQE.
There isn’t one right way, the course you need will reflect your knowledge base and the gaps you need to cover in order to pass the SQE. It will also be determined by your learning style, if you need more hands-on tutoring you may be drawn towards a course with fewer people and a greater opportunity for tutor feedback.
It is also important to note that there are many ways to fund your SQE and choosing a Master’s with SQE prep included may be more appealing because you may qualify for a government postgraduate loan.
Courses also vary on time commitment. The SQE training and assessment can be completed in one go or by undertaking the SQE1 and SQE2 in separate parts, allowing students to work between studying. Many of the prep courses can also be completed part-time with flexible commitments so that you could complete your SQE1 prep within 20 or 40 weeks and your SQE2 training in 12 weeks while other courses can be done in a more concentrated manner in full-time education.
The SQE prep, as no specific time-frame or structure is dictated for its completion, can also be completed through tutoring sessions with a schedule decided by the student. This option may suit those who have some of the required knowledge who just need some final additional support in an adaptable manner to aid their success.
Location is another factor to consider when deciding on a particular SQE prep course. Many courses now offer online options which may support a more flexible schedule compared to the more demanding commitment of an in-person taught course, with distance learning students getting the opportunity to have weekend commitments on certain courses.
It is also important to note that course providers who offer in-person courses in different locations may vary their prices depending on the selected campus.
You may also be able to combine your SQE preparation with a postgraduate degree, such as a LLM. One of the benefits of this is that you could qualify for government funding for postgraduate study. If you choose a SQE prep course that isn’t part of a Master’s, you may need to fund this yourself.
Some examples of combined Master’s and SQE prep include:
There is no mandatory prep course for the SQE, so you may prefer self-study. The SRA website includes plenty of SQE study material and resource providers for students who choose to self-study in preparation for their SQE assessments.
It is clear that there is no one correct way to prepare for the SQE, and the benefit of its introduction is the freedom of choice. Unlike the LPC, qualifying as a solicitor is no longer a one shoe fits all process and candidates following the SQE qualification route can now choose how they steer their own qualifying journey. Taking into consideration your own knowledge, study style, budget and course preferences, you now have the tools to choose the right SQE preparation course for you.
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