Your chances of passing the Solicitors Qualifying Exam are higher if you take a SQE preparation course – but how do you know which one to choose? 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.
SQE preparation courses can vary in many ways; institutions offer different resources, different lengths and at different prices but all have one goal – provide you with the knowledge required to pass the SQE assessments in a way that suits your training.
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.
While the move to the SQE means that there are no additional educational requirements beyond passing the assessments, a structured course helps fully prepare candidates, increasing your chances of SQE exam success.
The SRA has published a list of institutions offering various educational resources to support potential SQE candidates. This list contains the organisations who have registered with the SRA that they are currently (or plan to in the future) either delivering SQE education, tutoring or prep courses or producing SQE study materials and resources.
We will provide more information and the prep courses and tutoring on offer further down but to find the complete SRA list, please check their website.
There are over 20 institutions on the SRA page who 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.
SQE courses vary considerably in price, with some shorter courses focused on exam preparation (for example, mock assessments), longer courses offering more comprehensive teaching of examined content and even one-on-one courses that offer personal tutor feedback.
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 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.
Non-law graduates may also consider taking the PGDL law conversion course, which is an additional cost to keep in mind when selecting an SQE course.
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.
We’ve researched a number of SQE preparation course providers to bring you some of the best options for 2022 study.
Information correct as of 6 April 2022
|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.||£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 West England||Solicitors Training Course (Combined SQE Prep)||-||-||£8,000|
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 resources providers for students who choose to self-study in preparation for their SQE assessments.
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