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Solicitors Qualifying Examination

Oxford University Press is the only publisher to offer a suite of legal resources that take a student from day one of their undergraduate law course through to their professional career and beyond. The advent of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) doesn’t change that; in fact, it gives us the opportunity to further develop both our undergraduate and vocational publishing.

November 2020 update: Introducing SQE Prep & Test for those preparing for SQE 1 assessments

Find out more

Key points

  • The SQE is a new route to qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales. It replaces the Legal Practice Course (LPC), a postgraduate, practical course.
  • Rather than specifying a course, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are putting in this centralised assessment to improve consistency and access to the profession.
  • They are not specifying how candidates should prepare for the assessment.
  • The SQE is divided into two assessments SQE I (on functioning legal knowledge) and SQE II (on professional skills).
  • SQE I is due to be offered for the first time in autumn 2021.

Our publishing plans

We will be expanding our law list to cater for the changes brought about by the SQE. You can read more about them on the following pages:

  • Our undergraduate response ‐ the Principles to Practice series: textbooks in the core areas of the curriculum which respond to the more practical nature of teaching. Find out more >>
  • Our response for specific SQE preparation - developing content designed to support SQE part I preparation, which will map closely to the SRA’s assessment specification. An online bank of sophisticated MCQs will also be available, written by experts in assessment and question writing. Find out more >>
  • Our provision for SQE II preparation – what we provide here will largely be informed by our ongoing research with the market and law firms. If your institution intends on providing an SQE part II prep course we’d love to hear from you. Email Angela Griffin

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ExpandCloseDecember 2019: panel session at SQE conference

OUP Senior Commissioning Editor, Lucy Read is leading our SQE publishing. She outlined our plans at the one-day SRA conference in Manchester on 17 December. The panel session asked six representatives from the world of legal education and training to offer a short presentation of their approach to SQE training, followed by questions.

The session hsoted by the SRA can be watched on this link.

ExpandCloseOctober 2019: a first look at sample MCQs

A core part of our SQE offering will be a sophisticated bank of online multiple choice questions, designed to be used alongside the manual content.

Our team of question-writers are experts in assessment and question writing, and the MCQs will mirror the approach, style, level, and content of those used in the SQE I assessment. Our offering will be interactive and student-focused, including answer-specific feedback to encourage and facilitate learning and consolidation. We are striving towards an offering which best fits the requirements of the SQE assessment and thus fully prepares students for that final examination.

Helen Tinkler, who is leading our team of question-writers as well as writing for dispute resolution and contract and tort, shares some insight into what goes into a question; and we have shared some typical MCQs on our SQE part I plans page.

ExpandCloseAugust 2019: a first look at SQE I pilot results

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.