SQE Update September 2023: Key Changes for 2024 Exams

SQE Update September 2023: Key Changes for 2024 Exams

Explore the pivotal SQE update from September 2023 and its implications for 2024 exams. Stay informed and strategise your SQE preparation effectively.

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) has seen notable changes today, particularly regarding SQE1. As you gear up for this pivotal step in your legal career, it's vital to grasp these updates and their implications for you. Here's a quick overview:

  • Introduction of Scaled Scoring (the major shift)
  • Updated SQE1 Results Page
  • Additional Data for Training Providers (might not directly concern you, but worth mentioning)

Let's delve deeper:

Expanded Assessment Date Options

From January 2024, SQE1 will offer week-long assessment periods for both FLK1 and FLK2.

Here's the schedule:

  • FLK1 Dates: 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 January
  • FLK2 Dates: 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 January

The advantage? You can select a date that aligns with your availability. For example, you might choose FLK1 on 16 January and FLK2 on 24 January. However, remember that not every test centre operates daily, so ensure you check their schedules when booking. It's worth noting that the SRA has increased SQE1 sessions from 3 sittings in 2022, to 4 in 2023, and now 5 in 2024. This progression speaks volumes about the SQE's growing success.

Introduction of Scaled Scoring

Here's the biggie, but don't fret! It's mostly positive news (awaiting 2024 Statistical Report).

From the SRA :

The number of questions a candidate answers correctly out of the 180 questions on each FLK is called the ‘raw’ score. If two individuals with the same ability take different papers their raw scores might differ due to the varying difficulty of the papers. Converting the raw score to a scaled score allows scores to be directly compared to reflect the candidates’ relative performance, despite any differences between the assessments. Candidates will be given their raw score. They will also be given their mark expressed as a scaled score figure out of 500. The pass mark will always be 300.

⁠Since there are 5 sittings, 5 different exam papers will be distributed. To uphold the exam's credibility while offering varied date options the SRA introduces us to 'scaled scoring', a method prevalent in high-stakes professional tests.

In the past, SQE1 scores were determined using averages and quantiles then adjusted by the SRA. This method was somewhat fair for 2 or 3 different exam sessions. However, with the increasing number of sessions, the SRA now needs a more equitable scoring approach, especially to avoid disadvantaging those who might get a tougher paper. Enter scaled scoring: questions are now graded based on difficulty.

And don't worry; this doesn't mean you'll answer 500 questions instead of 360. Think of it as a conversion, like centimeters to inches.

This scoring system is favored in high-stakes exams due to its precision and fairness. So, even if you score fewer correct answers in the 15th January session compared to a friend on the 18th January, you could still pass SQE1 if your paper was more challenging.

(For those interested in understanding the math, here's an excellent short video for clarification : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTGQaC4KnWU )

Essentially, it's a more equitable grading scale.

Previously:

  1. The SRA determined the raw score based on correct answers.
  2. Depending on average scores, the SRA adjusted the pass rate to ensure a specific percentage of students passed.

Now:

  1. The SRA calculates the raw score from correct answers.
  2. This raw score is then converted to a scaled score out of 500, factoring in elements like question difficulty.
  3. A consistent pass rate is now set at 60% (which is 300 out of 500).

SQE1 Candidate Results Page Update

Starting January 2024, the SQE1 results page will show scores by specific practice areas:

  • FLK1: Business Law, Dispute Resolution, Contract Law, Tort, Legal System, Legal Services, Ethics and Professional Conduct.
  • FLK2: Ethics and Professional Conduct, Property Practice, Wills/Intestacy, Land Law, Trust Law, Criminal Liability, Criminal Law/Practice.

This change helps candidates see their strengths and weaknesses in each area.

If someone needs to retake the exam, they can better identify what to focus on or if you need to prove to your employer that you aced business law, because you work in the corporate world, you can prove it by showing the breakdown!

For Training Providers

From January 2024, training providers, like us, will receive group performance data for their candidates in each practice area. This invaluable data aids us in refining and enhancing our courses. However, it's essential to note that this data will only encompass candidates who've indicated in the diversity survey that they trained with that specific provider. Rest assured, the data will be structured in a way that individual candidates remain anonymous.

So, if you're gearing up to ace your SQE1 exam with our guidance (a wise decision, we must say!), please remember to mention us in the survey. Your feedback fuels our commitment to excellence. 😉


FQPS Academy - Blog - Tom Lewis

Tom Lewis

SQE Academic Advisor

Tom is a legal academic. He has been a part of academia for the past 15 years, with a focus on Intellectual Property and Contract law. He has been guiding SQE aspirants and has a deep understanding of the academic rigour and the nuances of the examination process. Tom's writing combines an academic perspective with a keen understanding of what students need. His posts are often heavy on legal theory, but always relate back to the practical needs of an SQE candidate. Tom enjoys breaking down complex legal concepts into easily digestible articles, helping readers to grasp the essence of the law and apply it in their studies.

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