Solicitors Qualifying Examination

Yesterday’s first ever Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) | SQE results day hit by technical issues and delays

Yesterday’s first ever Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) results day was marred with delays and technical issues, resulting in some students finding out whether they had passed or failed late into the evening and some receiving other candidates’ scores.

Over 1,000 students who sat the first stage of the assessment, known as SQE1, in November 2021 were due to receive their results on Thursday by 3pm.

Whilst some students were able to successfully access their results ahead of the 3pm deadline, many reported being in a state of panic after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)’s online SQE portal crashed.

SQE support groups and student forums were awash with concerns from students who were left hanging, receiving only part of their results, while others claimed to have been sent results with a different candidates’ name and number.

SQE provider Kaplan, which runs the exam on behalf of the SRA, said in a statement issued this morning to Legal Cheek that it was made aware by “a small number” of candidates of inconsistencies in “non-exam information” displayed on the website. The matter has been investigated and there was found to be “no reportable data breach”, but the SRA has notified the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

A message some students were met with when attempting to log-in to view their results

Legal Cheek understands that a number of candidates were impacted by the delays and technical issues, which went on well past 9pm.

One student told Legal Cheek how she received the results of another candidate yesterday afternoon and how her class-mates, who did receive their results before 3pm, began to query whether they were their actual results, causing panic and confusion. “We just wanted to know our results so we could decide to progress onto SQE2,” she said. “It was a less than positive experience.”

It is understood that the technical issues were resolved by about 10pm and students were able to view their results.

The 2022 Legal Cheek SQE Provider List

A Kaplan spokesperson said in a statement: “A technical issue meant that some candidates were unable to access their SQE1 results yesterday afternoon. We have now resolved this issue, and candidates were invited to access their results from last night.”

“We were made aware by a small number of candidates of inconsistencies in non-exam information displayed on the website,” the spokesperson continued. “We have investigated to ensure that no sensitive information was released in error. We have determined there was no reportable data breach but the SRA has notified their relationship manager at the ICO as part of their standard process. We would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank candidates for their patience.”

SQE1 examines functioning legal knowledge and involves two exams (FLK1 and FLK2), with each being over five hours long and made up of multiple-choice-questions. It costs just over £1,500 to sit, with prep courses at an additional cost.

The pass mark for FLK1 is 57% and for FLK2, the pass mark is 56%. The SRA is expected to announce the pass rate shortly.

The SRA expected to release SQE1 results six to ten weeks after the first SQE1 exams took place in November. The results date was pushed back from 24 December 2021 to 20 January 2022, meaning the SRA took the maximum ten weeks to announce the results, causing further aggravation to some students. “I think it shows exactly how students have been treated by the SRA all along to be honest. It’s been ten weeks and they can’t even sort out a system to handle 1,000 students,” one student wrote on forum The Student Room.

The SQE officially went live on 1 September 2021, setting in motion the gradual phase out of the GDL and LPC. The first SQE2 sit will take place from 11 April 2022, with bookings due to open — tech permitting — on Tuesday.

Read more: Just over half of students pass first ever SQE


Planning to sit the SQE but unsure what your funding options are? Legal Cheek is partnering with BPP University Law School for a virtual student event on Thursday 27 January exploring the different funding options on offer and how exam and prep course fees are charged. Secure your place.

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10 Comments

Observer

Typical.

Lewis

Very typical indeed.

The entire law school system in the UK is a mess.

I’ve heard the US system and Bar Exams also have their flaws.

I’m genuinely wondering which jurisdiction actually has a decent law school system? Australia?

*pretends to be shocked*

So you’re telling me that the SQE providers turned out to be just as incompetent as the GDL and LPC ones?? WhAt a SuRprIsE

Also, did you guys see the news that only half the SQE takers ended up passing the exam?

Truth Serum

The GDL and LPC is seriously flawed and the SQE is not much better unfortunately

Pingu

Only 44% of BAME candidates ended up passing the SQE exam.

It’s ironic that the very reason they scrapped the LPC and introduced the SQE is still a big problem, even bigger than it was before…

Perhaps the problem is the actual law school system? The inadequate teaching, lack of support, the rubbish exam timetables, the poor management from the providers, the sponsored firms demanding too much from future trainees and putting unnecessary pressure on getting certain grades?

Jane

Given this fact they should make SQE have normal legal questions, not MCQ as making it MCQ did not ensure those with poor English did better after all (which is the only reason I believe they went for multiple choice for all SQE1 in the first place – to help those who should not be in the profession because their English is not up to it to get in).

US Firm NQ

Only 53% of test takers passed – I heard it was a difficult exam. Many people who failed include those who studied law and went to Russell Group universities – so a bit surprising! Two paralegals in my team failed and the Partner is not happy as we funded their prep and exam fees!

Ed

It seems the problem was never the students themselves but the actual failures within the law school system

RiRi

I wonder what will happen to those future trainees who took the exam with terms in their contracts that they had to pass each SQE exam the first time and get a certain grade…

Those clauses in the TC need to be scrapped imo. They cause more harm than good and I’m convinced students will perform better without the added pressure from firms demanding perfect performance

Anon

Wait for the retrospective not fit to sit mitigation claims from those that failed

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