On 31 July the SRA released the findings from the SQE I pilot that was carried out in March. Details can be found on their website.
Lucy Read, in the law team at OUP has summarised the key findings of the pilot and what they might mean for our plans:
The SRA deemed the pilot to be a successful exercise which confirmed the SQE to be ‘reliable, accurate, valid, and manageable’ but in response is planning two major changes to the structure of SQE 1:
The assessment will now comprise two assessments rather than three – each will include 180 questions (it was previously 120 questions), so the total number of questions overall remains the same. The new assessment structure is:
- Assessment 1: Business law; dispute resolution in contract/tort; public law/English legal system/legal services
- Assessment 2: Property and land law; wills and trusts; solicitors accounts; criminal law and practice
The skills assessment as it currently stands was not considered effective. The SRA acknowledges that this element needs to change format, but have not yet made a decision on how this part of the assessment will change or even whether skills will remain part of SQE 1.
There is no change to the date of the introduction of the SQE – this remains autumn 2021.
The SRA is planning to finalise the SQE I assessment specification ‘later this year’; if a decision about the skills element has not been made by this point, the assessment spec will be published with the detail on skills to follow as and when.
Impact on our planned SQE publishing: None of the above changes impact the topics being covered as part of SQE I, so our plans for six manuals and accompanying question banks publishing in early 2021 remain appropriate. See our SQE part I plans page for details.
We remain vigilant over decisions around skills assessment, and will ensure our offering best fits the requirement of the assessment. Our SQE series will mirror the assessment, and if you’d like for more information, why not get in touch and volunteer to review our content as it becomes available.