Though being arguably cheaper compared to the LLB and LPC costs in the UK, the SQE does come at a price. The SQE costs include:
SQE Assessment Fees
The SQE1 and SQE2 assessment fees that have recently been increased by 11%:
- SQE1 – from £1,622 to £1,798
- SQE2 – from £2,493 to £2,766
Resitting these assessments – which is not uncommon – will be an extra burden on the SQE candidate.
SQE Preparation Fees
Fees for SQE preparatory courses and study materials. The SQE requires a lot of intensive preparation. While it’s true that you can self-prepare and pass the Solicitors Qualifying Exam without enrolling in a prep course, it mostly holds true for the SQE1. Extensive and thoughtful reading combined with regular practice in multiple choice questions can indeed get you through stage 1 of the SQE.
However its next stage, SQE2, builds up on the knowledge that has already stood the test of time (and SQE1) – and assesses aspiring solicitors on legal skills and application of law.
With this in mind, it seems a safer approach to select a SQE2 prep course that satisfies your needs – particularly in view of the fact that SQE candidates are limited to three attempts in each SQE assessment. The prices for SQE courses vary:
SQE providers and prices
|SQE providers||Online / In person||SQE1 prep price||SQE2 prep price||SQE1+SQE2|
|Future Solicitor||Online||£197 per month||–||–|
|OSCEsmart||Online||SQE1 Lectures Package – £972
SQE1 Lecture – £45 per one
|SQE Skills Package – £680 |
SQE LPC Package – £1,777 (1-to-1 mocks)
SQE QLTS Package – £1,885 (1-to-1 mocks)
SQE2 1-to-1 mock exams from £70 to £120 (discounts available on a bulk purchase)
SQE2 Lectures Package – £567
|SQE1 + SQE2 Package – £3000|
|The Law Simplified||Online||SQE1 Prep Masterclass – £1,549
SQE Prep FLK1 – £599
SQE Prep FLK2 – £599
|The College of Legal Practice||Online||SQE1 Preparation – £1,800||SQE2 Preparation – £2,300||–|
|QLTS school||Online||Basic – £1,890
Advantage – £2,390
Premium – £2,890
|Basic – £1,890
Advantage – £2,390
Premium – £2,890
|Brighlink Learning||Online||SQE1 Revision only – £900
SQE1 for Law Graduates – £1,855
SQE1 for Non Law Graduates – £2,900
|Law Training Centre||Online||SQE1 Full Prep – £1,950
SQE1 FLK1 Prep – £875
SQE1 FLK2 Prep – £875
SQE1 Express – £990
SQE1 Just Mocks – £395
SQE1 FLK 1 Just Mocks – £250
SQE1 FLK2 Just Mocks – £250
|SQE2 Exemption plus – £2,950
SQE2 Full Prep – £2,500
SQE2 Express – £495 per area
SQE2 Just Mocks – Oral Skills – £375
SQE2 Just Mocks – Practice area – £295 per area
|BARBRI||Online||SQE1 Prep Course – £2,999||Full SQE2 Prep course – £3,499
BARBRI SQE1 Prep alumni – £2,999
|BPP||Both||SQE1 Preparation (Self-study) – £3,300 (online)
SQE1 Preparation – £6,500 (London), £5,500 (online)
LLM Law Conversion with SQE1 – £17,100 (London), £14,200 (online)
|SQE2 Preparation Course – £4,000 (online)||SQE1&2 Diploma – £12,100 (London), £10,300 (online)
LLM SQE1&2 – £14,600 (London), £12,400 (online)
|The University of Law||Both||SQE Law Essentials Online – £3,900
SQE1 Preparation for Legal Professionals Online – £4,500
SQE1 Preparation Course – £5,900 (London)
SQE1 Exam Preparation Course – £500 (short revision course)
MA Law (SQE1) – £17,100 (domestic/London), £18,450 (non-domestic/London)
|SQE2 Preparation Course – £5,650 (London)
SQE2 Exam Preparation Course – £1,000 (short revision course)
|LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&SQE2) – £16,950|
|London Metropolitan University||In person||Professional Legal Practice – PG Cert – £4,500||–||–|
|NTU NLS||Both||Law and Legal Practice: SQE 1 Preparation Course – £12,600
Professional Legal Practice: SQE 1 Preparation Course PGDip – £4,700
Professional Legal Practice: SQE 1 Preparation Course LLM – £8,400
|Advanced Legal Skills: SQE 2 Preparation Course – £3,300||Advanced Professional Legal Practice: SQE 1 and SQE 2 Preparation Course – £11,400|
|Arden University||Online||–||–||LLM in Professional Legal Practice (SQE1 and SQE2) – £10,550|
|De Montfort University||Both||–||–||LLM SQE – £11,200|
|The Open University||Online||Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB) – £20,772
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (graduate entry) – £13,848
SQE Travel Expenses
- While the SQE1 is offered in various locations, in Pearson VUE centres in the UK and internationally, many candidates still find themselves having to travel to take the exam, at least within their locality.
- Currently, the SQE2 oral assessments are only conducted in the UK, specifically in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Manchester. Even though the SRA are planning to make international locations available in the future, so far it remains just a plan.
In the previous qualifying examination (QLTS), aspiring foreign lawyers typically spent between £7,000 and £30,000 or more in total. In the SQE, these estimates can turn out to be significantly higher – considering that now SQE preparation is included in Master’s, LLB, or GDL programmes offered by universities.
So let’s explore the possibilities and strategies of cost-effective preparation for the SQE exams, and try to understand whether self-preparation is a viable option.
Meaning of self-preparation
Self-study is an essential part of any exam preparation, since knowledge and skills cannot be purchased. Regardless of your chosen provider, the ultimate outcome of your SQE preparation depends on your own efforts and dedication – after all, the knowledge tested in the SQE exams cannot be obtained out of thin air. Law as a social science is best learned through interactive and collaborative methods, especially when developing the skills necessary for the SQE2 assessments. Consider partnering with a study friend or joining a study group to enhance your learning experience.
We view SQE self-preparation as a way to prepare when you do not rely solely on a single training provider that offers a comprehensive program, including SQE lectures, notes, books and mock tests for the SQE1 or SQE2. Instead, you take advantage of various sources, including marketplaces providing access to individual sessions or revision materials, and recommendations of successful candidates who have already passed the SQE exams. Drawing on multiple sources gives you diverse perspectives on the application of your knowledge, and allows you to work on various legal skills. Besides, you can benefit from a broader range of recommendations and suggestions from different SQE providers – shaped by their unique SQE expertise.
SQE prep options
There are numerous preparation options available to SQE candidates, and the choice between them should certainly be determined by the candidate’s personal circumstances, objectives and perspectives.
|SQE prep option||Advantages||Disadvantages||Suitable for|
|University LLM/LLB degree integrating SQE prep||1. Even if you don’t pass the exam, you will obtain a degree.|
2. Depending on the course, there are higher chances of obtaining thorough knowledge of the law.
3. Student visa for international aspiring solicitors.
|1. Expensive and time consuming.|
2. Universities have limited experience with the SQE2 and are unlikely to be able to teach you specific exam techniques and tactics.
3. Universities tend to provide limited practical experience. This drawback can be counteracted by law clinics recently opened at some universities – their effectiveness for the SQE however is yet to be proved.
|1. Non-law graduates.|
2. Those who do not have a degree.
|Online preparatory course||1. Preparation by online SQE training providers is cheaper compared to the LLM/LLB degrees. At the same time, there is considerable price variation in this sector.|
2. The study content and study sessions are more SQE focused.
3. The course is usually more flexible and less time-consuming.
4. Smaller-scale training providers offer a more personalised approach, with one-to-one study sessions and individual feedback.
| 1. If you do not pass the exam, it can be a waste of money – you won’t obtain a degree.|
2. Not all providers have the knowledge it takes to properly prepare you for the SQE.
3. Among hundreds of online SQE courses that have recently flooded the market, there are those whose services are rather doubtful. Please note, these SQE training providers are not regulated by the SRA. For this reason, it is crucial to work with the providers that you can trust – based on:
1. how long they have been in the market
2. whether they used to prepare candidates for earlier qualifying exams (like QLTS)
3. whether anyone you know has already studied with them and passed the SQE.
These points are especially relevant for the SQE2 where proper training is the key to success. Here at OSCEsmart, we pride ourselves on having passed the qualifying exams ourselves and accumulated years of experience providing individual study sessions with personalised feedback.
|1. Experienced professionals who already have a UK law degree.|
2. Experienced foreign lawyers based in other jurisdictions.
3. Aspiring solicitors with limited financial resources.
4. Legal apprentices.
5. UK law graduates.
|Self-preparation as defined above||1. Flexibility and thoughtful decision-making allow you to save costs.|
2. Self-prep contributes to your professional growth by developing your soft skills: critical thinking, independent work, self-planning. That will make you a better and more employable practitioner.
3. SQE self-prep is easy to combine with an actual legal career.
|1. SQE self-preparation may take longer and requires more effort from the aspiring solicitor.|
2. You should think critically about all the materials that you will come across.
|1. Everyone who has limited financial or time resources.|
2. Resitters – now you know that you should only rely on yourself.
3. Not recommended for non-law graduates that are not legal apprentices.
Your decision on which SQE training provider to choose should definitely be informed and well-grounded. At the same time, no training provider cancels the need to invest your own effort in SQE preparation. In other words, the ultimate result of any SQE prep method you choose is determined by how prepared you are to sweat over it.
While financial resources do not guarantee success in the SQE assessments, it is still important to allocate some funds for the necessary expenses related to preparing and passing the exams. These, together with exam fees, can be considered basic costs – and will be addressed in our next publication.
To summarise, self-preparation for the SQE assessments is not only possible, but inevitable. By relying on yourself and taking control of your preparation, you obtain an opportunity to structure your knowledge, develop valuable hard and soft skills, thus creating an effective springboard for a remarkable legal career.