You need to factor in two costs when considering the SQE: the price of assessments, and fees of SQE prep courses. Learn about both and discover how you can fund your training.

SQE Costs

Exam Costs

The SQE is made up of two compulsory exams, which have separate costs:

  • SQE1 costs £1,622
  • SQE2 costs £2,493

These assessment fees are paid directly to Kaplan, which administers exams on behalf of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

There are also cancellation fees to keep in mind when booking your SQE. These vary based on when you cancel, with the amount you could be refunded reducing the close to the exam date you need to cancel.

Transportation Costs

While the all of the SQE1 can be taken at various Pearson VUE locations, including internationally (like the LNAT), there are restrictions when it comes to SQE2.

The written portion is unavailable in some countries where there is a major time difference. Furthermore, the SQE oral exam only takes place in three cities; Cardiff, London and Manchester in the UK.

Candidates should keep in mind the current locations available and the costs involved when booking exams.

SQE Prep Course Costs

It’s not mandatory to complete a SQE prep course – but a legal training course may increase your chances of passing the assessments.

A prep course lasts around eight months, and there are benefits associated with the costs, such as supported learning, access to your training provider’s resources and, for example, the University of Law offers those on its SQE Masters course four weeks of QWE.

The cost of a preparation course varies across providers and differs between the types of course. The fees for both SQE1 and SQE2 can range from £3,500 to £20,000, depending on the training provider and type of course you select. A one-to-one course will be much more expensive than a self-study course, for instance.

Take a look at our guide to SQE prep courses to learn more about their fees.

How To Fund SQE Course Fees

There are a few key ways to cover the cost of SQE prep courses:

  1. You can self-fund (saving up and then taking some time off to study, or working while you study part-time)
  2. You can take out a loan to cover the fees
  3. You may be able to get a scholarship to cover some – or all – of your fees
  4. Law firms will cover this cost if you have a training contract or apprenticeship
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Postgraduate Government Loans

It’s possible to take out a government student loan if you choose to study a Master’s course that incorporates preparation for SQE1 and SQE2 assessments, because this means you’ll qualify for student finance. This is one of the most popular ways for students to self-fund their studies.

As a Master’s student, you’ll be eligible for a postgraduate government loan of up to £11,836 for the 2022/23 academic year.

Just be aware that you may have to pay for the assessments yourself, so you’ll need to budget for an additional £4,000, approximately.

If you’re considering using a postgraduate student loan to fund your SQE prep, make sure you understand whether the cost of assessments is included or not. Also make sure you are clear about what the government’s Master’s loan entails.

Fund Your SQE With A Private Loan

It is also possible to fund your SQE privately by taking out a bank loan to fund your studies.

Most private loans will allow you to borrow more than a UK postgraduate loan, but the amount you can borrow and the interest rate you’ll be charged depends on your personal financial circumstances.

For an option like the SQE, where you have to factor in the additional cost of the assessments, this option will allow you to cover the entire cost through a loan (if your application is approved).

As well as high street banks, there are also other lenders who specialise in lending to postgraduate law students.

Some various well known options include:

  • Specialist Student Lenders. For example, Future Finance is a specialist student lender that offers specific loans of between £2,000 to £40,000. As a bonus, up to £3,000 of that sum can be for living costs.
  • Retail Bank. For example, Danske Bank is a Danish retail bank that offers postgraduate loans for tuition fees from £1,000 up to the maximum amount for your fees and (as of March 2022) required only interest-only repayments for the first 30 months.
  • Peer-to-peer lending service. For example, Lendwise is a peer-to-peer lending service that distributes funds from individual investors to students on postgraduate and professional courses. This service offers loans between £5,000-100,000, which you start repaying six months after graduation.

Work While You Study To Fund SQE

You can complete an SQE prep course with either full-time or part-time study. This flexibility means that working while you study is a feasible option that may help you fund the SQE course and assessments.

You could also choose a distance-learning prep course so that you can study virtually, if you find that helps you to juggle work and learning.

Another option is to work full-time to fund the SQE1 and then break from work to study full-time. You could do the same again for the SQE2, as the two elements are not required to be completed in succession.

If you choose to work in a role that meets the requirements for QWE, this could even count towards your SQE.

SQE Funding Through Scholarships

There are many scholarship options available for students, from small discounts to full-fee scholarships depending on provider. It’s worth enquiring with your shortlisted prep providers, to see what opportunities they have available to help you finance your studies.

You should research the following opportunities:

  • The University of Law has a number of scholarships outlined on their website
  • The Law Society runs the Diversity Access Scheme which “supports talented and tenacious aspiring lawyers from disadvantaged backgrounds” throughout their journey into the profession. This scheme can be used to meet the assessment costs for the SQE, in addition to any SQE preparation course fees.
  • Kaplan, the company in charge of the SQE exams, has announced that “there are contractual arrangements in place between the SRA and Kaplan which provide for an ‘access and reinvestment’ fund to be established in due course. This fund will include financial assistance for a number of candidates.” We’ll report more when the details are made public.

SQE Funding With Firm Sponsorship

The vast majority of law firms (if not all) who previously sponsored students for their LPC have confirmed that they will fund the SQE course fees and the centralised assessment fees of their SQE trainees.

If you land a training contract, then you should have a signed, formal agreement or contract in place with the firm before you start any education or work.

SQE Funding With An Apprenticeship

A legal apprenticeship provides another avenue for funding your solicitor training. That’s because, as an apprentice, all your training – including any preparation for the SQE assessments – and assessments are paid for by your employer.

There are two types of solicitor apprenticeships available that provide the opportunity for funding:

  • The school leaver solicitor apprenticeship, for aspiring solicitors who have completed A-Levels and want to work at a firm and qualify over six years. You won’t have to get a loan for an undergraduate degree and can qualify without debt.
  • The graduate solicitor apprenticeship, for those who already have an undergraduate degree. These typically combine working for a firm while completing your qualifying work experience, alongside your SQE studies and assessments.

Another benefit of choosing an apprenticeship is that you’ll be paid a salary while you’re studying. Take a look at the closed apprenticeships advertised on our website for a sense of how much previous apprenticeships have paid – and to find any open ones.

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