Can you take SQE1 without doing any qualifying work experience? You do need two years of experience as part of the conditions to qualify. But it is not required to take the SQE exam.
In this video, we are looking at the number of people who have taken the first part of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination before doing any qualifying work experience. In this first chart, you can see the percentage of candidates who have said they have done some qualifying work experience before taking the SQE1 assessments.
On average, about half have said that they have some QWE, while just under a quarter have said they did the exam before doing any QWE. If you look at the yellow column, which is the last set of SQE1 assessments in January 2023, you can see that the numbers are slightly more balanced, so going forwards we might see that the split is more even between people taking the exams before getting experience and those doing their experience after the exams.
So you won’t be alone if you do the exams before sorting out some legal experience, but has this made a difference to the marks? Looking at the second chart, you can see not really. Those who have some experience have tended to have slightly higher pass rates than those with no experience, but in the last set of assessments this was reversed, and those who said they had no experience did better.