SQE preparation courses

updated on 17 November 2022

Find out which institutions offer Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) preparation courses by using our Courses search.

The SQE was introduced in September 2021 to replace the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and become the final, centralised assessment that all aspiring solicitors must pass to qualify as a solicitor, regardless of the route taken (eg, legal apprenticeship or university).

Unlike the LPC, the SQE is a set of exams (SQE1 and SQE2) and is not a course. However, over the past year, education providers across the country have been developing various SQE preparation courses designed to prepare candidates to sit and pass the SQE assessments.

You can read LawCareers.Net’s ‘guide to SQE preparation courses’ for further information.

The SQE aims to ensure that all aspiring lawyers are assessed using the same methods, with various options for training and preparation ahead of candidates taking the assessments. Although these courses are no longer a requirement, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is encouraging all candidates to complete such preparation to give themselves the best chance of passing SQE1 and 2.

Who is eligible

There are various transitional arrangements in place but anyone who wants to qualify as a solicitor, who doesn’t meet the SRA’s transitional arrangements (ie, to continue with the old LPC route), will have to complete the SQE. The various preparation courses that have been created will be aimed at individuals at different stages – for example, there are SQE preparation courses designed specifically for non-law students.

You can find out more about this via the SQE hub, sponsored by The University of Law, and our guide to SQE preparation courses.

What you learn

There’s no single SQE preparation course. Instead, law schools and universities will offer their own SQE preparation courses, with full-time and part-time study options, differing structures and course length and content.

You could take an undergraduate law degree that includes preparation for SQE1, or an LLM that includes preparation for both SQE1 and SQE2.

For example, The University of Law’s (ULaw) LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&2), which guarantees candidates will receive four weeks of qualifying work experience (QWE), is split into three parts:

  • SQE1 preparation;
  • SQE2 preparation; and
  • SQE plus.

Nottingham Trent University has various courses on offer, including its PGDip Professional Legal Practice: SQE1 Preparation Course. This course will prepare candidates to take SQE1 via the study of the six subject areas that make up the first assessment – the teaching will be conducted via lectures, weekly workshops and e-learning activities, as well as formative assessments throughout.

There are also specific courses on offer for non-law graduates that will act as conversion courses – for example, ULaw’s MA Law (SQE1). This course will help non-law graduates develop the key professional skills and behaviours that lawyers need to succeed in the profession, on top of the skills required to sit and pass SQE1 and opportunities to complete QWE.

You can find out more about the different courses and their content via LCN’s ‘guide to SQE preparation courses’.

Where to study

There are several factors that’ll likely play into choosing where to study, including where you’ve studied previously, costs and whether you’ve received a training offer from a firm. 

Choosing a course and provider isn’t a decision to take lightly. You should conduct some research into the course content and structure, the education provider’s links with the profession, the careers advice offering, the facilities that are available and the provider’s reputation.

As mentioned previously, some firms will have exclusive partnerships with specific education providers, so it might be the case that if you’ve secured a training contract with a particular firm, you’ll have to complete any SQE preparation with the provider that they’re in partnership with.

Use LawCareers.Net’s Course search to find the right course for you.

Law school sponsorship

Find out which institutions offer the SQE by using our Course search

With some universities incorporating SQE1 preparation into their undergraduate law degrees, the cost of SQE1 prep could be covered via the normal student finance route. This opens the door to complete a cheaper SQE2 preparation course later down the line.

Completing SQE1 and SQE2 preparation as part of an LLM is also a viable option and such courses will be eligible for postgraduate student loan funding.

Otherwise, like the LPC, some firms will be providing funding options for their SQE cohorts. Many firms require that their future trainee lawyers complete SQE preparation with a specified provider and, as such, will cover the costs of the preparation courses and the fees associated with sitting the assessments.

There are a growing number of different SQE preparation courses on offer with various funding and sponsorship options available so it’s important to do your research to find the course that best fits your needs.

When and how to apply

With the variety of SQE preparation courses on offer, the deadlines for applying and ways to apply differ from provider to provider. Many of the preparation courses offer several start dates throughout the year in line with the multiple assessment windows, offering greater flexibility to candidates.

If you’ve secured a training contract with a firm, it’s likely that you’ll be required to complete a preparation course with a specific provider with the firm funding your studies and assessments.

Similar to the LPC, many providers will require applications to be made via the Central Applications Board (CAB); however, this isn’t the case for all of them. For example, ULaw asks that those applying to secure a spot on a full-time course, apply via the CAB, while those who are applying to study part-time should apply direct to the university. With start dates at various points throughout the year, it offers candidates the chance to choose a study period that best suits them and their chosen SQE1/2 assessment date.

While various other providers also request candidates apply through the CAB, QLTS School has preparation courses available to access all year “to study whenever and wherever you want”. The Law Training Centre also accepts applications throughout the year so candidates can start their learning whenever it suits them.

There will be universities that have stricter deadlines than this, for example the University of Bristol updates its deadlines for SQE1 and 2 preparation on its website.

Ultimately, you’ll need to check when and how to apply for SQE preparation courses on a case-by-case basis.

You can find out more about the different courses and their content via LCN’s ‘guide to SQE preparation courses’.