The SQE is made up of two compulsory exams, which have separate costs:
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.
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.
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.
There are a few key ways to cover the cost of SQE prep courses:
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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:
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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