Qualify as an English Solicitor

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What is the QLTS?

The Qualified Lawyers' Transfer Scheme (QLTS) or QLTS is a fast-track route for lawyers from other recognized jurisdictions (SRA) and barristers from England & Wales to qualify as English Solicitors. Passing the QLTS opens up a whole new world of job opportunities, as it not only licenses you as a solicitor in England and Wales, but also confers a right to practice in many other countries.

Kaplan QLTS is the sole authorized assessment provider, appointed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) , the regulatory body of the Law Society of England & Wales.

The Assessments (Exams)

The QLTS assessment consists of two parts, a Multiple Choice Test (MCT) (Kaplan) and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Candidates must pass the MCT before enrolling for the OSCE, and both assessments must be passed to qualify as a Solicitor.

Part I – Multiple Choice Test (MCT)

The Multiple Choice Test ("MCT") consists of 180 multiple-choice questions. The questions test your knowledge and understanding of Part A of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Day One Outcomes (SRA) (Professional Conduct, Solicitors' Accounts, Financial Regulation, Property Law, Business Law, Tort, Contract, Constitutional Law, the English Legal System, Equity and Trust, Human Rights and EU Law).

The detailed subject matter outlines of the content of Part A Day One Outcomes have been provided to us, so QLTS Advantage has designed a course which focus' on the teaching of the "fundamental legal principles" that "will be tested on the MCT."

The MCT is divided into two sessions, morning and afternoon, two hours 45 minutes each. Following each exam, the SRA convenes a "Standard Setting Panel" to determine the overall pass rate for that assessment. For further details, see the Marking and Moderation Policy (Kaplan).

Organization and Administration

The MCT is delivered by computer-based assessment through a network of test centers administered by Pearson VUE. Candidates have a choice of locations during the booking process including: London and other UK cities, New York, Singapore, Dubai, India, Johannesburg, several locations throughout Europe...)

Candidates are assessed on the law in force at the time of the assessment.

Upcoming MCT Exam Dates and Enrollment Deadlines (Kaplan)

The July 2021 MCT exam was the last one, so if you have not yet taken and passed it, you will now have to continue on the SQE route and start by taking the SQE1 (which replaced the MCT).

Part II – Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

The OSCE forms the practical aspect of the QLTS assessments. Delegates are examined on Outcomes C, D and F of the SRA's Day One Outcomes (SRA). (Part C covers: Transactional and Dispute Resolution skills; Part D covers: Legal, Professional and Client relationship knowledge and skills; and F covers: Professional Values, Behaviors, Attitudes and Ethics.)

The OSCE is divided into two parts (OSCE I and OSCE II), with candidates required to demonstrate specific skills within the context of three practice areas:

  • Business
  • Property and Probate
  • Civil and Criminal Litigation
Upcoming OSCE Exam Dates and Enrollment Deadlines (Kaplan)

Bookings for the November 2021 OSCE sitting will open at 10:00 UK Time on 16 August 2021. The Kaplan booking deadline is 17:00 UK Time on 11 October 2021. The last OSCE exam is currently planned for late March/early April 2022. Kaplan will confirm dates for these assessments as soon as possible.

Candidates are advised to book their assessment as early as possible and should note that all assessment places may be filled some time before the booking deadline.

Please see the SRA website for details on the transitional arrangements to the SQE.


Which skills are tested on the OSCE I assessments?

OSCE Part I tests your Interviewing and Advocacy/Oral Presentation skills.

How are these skills assessed?

Client interview: The skills are assessed through simulated legal environments called 'Stations'. Actors play the role of clients, and, for example, may ask delegates for advice on removing a director from their business; how to minimize their tax liability on a transfer of property, to review their will and advise on tax implications... Clearly the possible scenarios are vast!!!

From Kaplan :

Preparation (10 minutes)

Candidates are given an email from a partner or a secretary indicating who the client is and something about what the client has come to discuss. The email may, but will not necessarily, be accompanied by documents.

The email also gives guidance on whether candidates should deal with client care, funding or money laundering issues in the interview and subsequent attendance note/case analysis. If the email tells candidates not to deal with these issues then there is no need to do so. The email may also indicate specific legal issues which candidates should have particular regard to in the interview and the subsequent attendance note/case analysis.

Candidates can make notes during the preparation.

Interview (25 minutes)

The client is already present in the room and the interview commences when the candidate enters the room. The client may, but will not necessarily, bring documents with them. During the interview candidates are able to refer to the notes made during preparation and to make additional notes.

Candidates should have 2 main objectives during the interview: First, to win the client's trust and confidence and to ensure that the client wishes to instruct or continue to instruct their firm. Secondly, candidates should try to obtain all the relevant information and as full an understanding as possible of the client's concerns. Candidates need not provide detailed advice at this stage. They can conduct the interview on the basis that they will be advising the client in detail at a later date. However, candidates do need to give enough preliminary advice and to address enough of the client's concerns to establish the client's trust and confidence.

At the end of 25 minutes if the candidate has not already brought the interview to a close, the client will do so.

Candidates have 25 minutes to write by hand an attendance note/case analysis of the interview they have just completed. They can consult the notes they made earlier.

All relevant information obtained during the interview should be recorded in the attendance note/case analysis. If candidates choose to they can do this by incorporating the notes made earlier where appropriate. Documents which the client has given the candidate should be attached to the attendance note. Candidates should provide an analysis of any legal issues that arise in the matter and record their initial advice for the client. The attendance note/case analysis should also identify the next steps to be taken by the solicitor and, where applicable, the client. Also record in the attendance note/case analysis any professional conduct issues that arise and how they should be dealt with. If the email from the partner/secretary has asked the candidate to deal with any specific issues then advice on these issues should also be included. Please note that legal issues, advice for the client, next steps and any professional conduct issues should be recorded in the attendance note even if they have already been discussed in the interview.

Preparation (45 minutes)

Candidates are given a separate case study on which they will conduct a piece of advocacy/make an oral presentation. An email asks the candidate to conduct the advocacy/make the presentation and tells them before whom this will be made. Where relevant candidates are also given a file of documents. This file may contain relevant authorities and cases but only where it is considered that a Day One solicitor would need to look up these authorities and cases.

Candidates can make notes during the preparation. They are given 45 minutes to prepare for the advocacy/presentation but the advocacy/presentation itself should not last longer than 15 minutes.

Advocacy/oral presentation (15 minutes)

Candidates make their submission/presentation to a decision maker who is present in the room. The decision maker may ask questions. Candidates can use the notes made earlier. The presentation should not last longer than 15 minutes and candidates will be stopped at the end of this time.

In total, delegates undertake 18 assessed exercises: 6 in Business, 6 in Property and Probate, and 6 in Civil and Criminal Litigation.

What level of competency are you expected to demonstrate?

The SRA has defined the level of competences expected as that of a competent newly qualified Solicitor:

"You are expected to demonstrate a level of knowledge, professional skills and understanding of legal practice and the law, similarly to a competent newly qualified solicitor, that is likely to avoid a negligence claim.

In simple cases you can identify a client's problem and the main legal issues raised. You should be able to recognise and respond appropriately to common situations which raise issues of professional conduct. You will normally know your limits when ignorant; know to what sources to refer for information; and ask for help when the problem is too difficult to deal with.

The advice you give a client will demonstrably progress the client's matter and be clear enough for the client to understand. It will rarely be wrong. You can communicate in a professional and appropriate (though not necessarily sophisticated) way with others including clients, courts, colleagues and other solicitors. Your use of English is readily comprehensible to clients of any background. Following a meeting most clients will have some confidence in you and your ability to deal with their legal problem.

You can make a reasonably persuasive presentation of your case and defend it at least to some extent. You can draft simple legal documents effectively and with few mistakes, can review and make an initial judgment about some aspects of more complex legal documents and can progress routine legal transactions."

In short, you should know and understand the relevant legal principles and foundation law, be able to explain those to the client using accurate and timely advice, know which documents to use and also to draft various documents yourself when needed.

Marking the OSCE I

An assessor who has been trained in playing the role of the client assesses candidates' performance during the interviews. These assessors mark candidates purely on skills, not on the law. All other exercises are marked by solicitors and are marked on both skills and law. For further detail and an outline of the assessment criteria see Kaplan's Marking and Moderation Policy.


Which skills are tested on the OSCE II assessments?

OSCE II tests your skills in Legal Writing, Legal Research and in Legal Drafting.

How are these skills assessed?

From Kaplan :

Legal Drafting

In the legal drafting assessed exercise candidates are given 45 minutes to draft a legal document or parts of a legal document. This may take the form of drafting from a precedent or amending a document already drafted but it may also involve drafting without either of these.

Candidates may be provided with relevant cases and authorities but only where it is considered that a solicitor in practice would need to look up these cases and authorities.

Candidates have access to Lexis Library and Westlaw while doing the legal drafting but there is not time to do any significant research.

PLEASE NOTE that if, as a result of technical difficulties, one or both of these legal databases are not available during the assessed exercise, candidates are expected to complete the exercise without reference to the database/s.

Answers are written in Microsoft Word using MS Office Professional 2010 or on an electronic form depending on the task.

On-line Legal Research

The on-line legal research takes the form of an email from a partner asking candidates to research an issue or issues so that the partner can report back to the client. Candidates are given 60 minutes to complete the on-line legal research.

Candidates are provided with an electronic template on which to write the answer. The template is divided into 2 sections, namely advice to give to the client, and legal reasoning mentioning any key sources or authorities.

Candidates are provided with a computer with the databases Lexis Library (not Lexis PSL) and Westlaw on which to conduct the research. There is no access to other sites. All legal research questions can be answered using either Lexis Library or Westlaw but in any particular case it may be easier to use one of these databases rather than the other. PLEASE NOTE however that in the event of technical difficulties with one of the databases during the exam period candidates are expected to do the legal research on the other database.

PLEASE NOTE All QLTS candidates are eligible for temporary access to Lexis Library and Westlaw at a reduced fee. Candidates should contact Lexis Library and Westlaw for further details.

Answers are written in Microsoft Word using MS Office Professional 2010.

Legal Writing

In the legal writing assessed exercise candidates are given 30 minutes to write a letter or an email as a solicitor acting in or assisting with a matter.

Candidates may be provided with relevant cases and authorities but only where it is considered that a solicitor in practice would need to look up these cases and authorities. Candidates have access to Lexis Library and Westlaw while doing the legal writing but there is not time to do any significant research.

PLEASE NOTE that if, as a result of technical difficulties, one or both of these legal databases are not available during the assessed exercise, candidates are expected to complete the exercise without reference to the database/s.

Answers are written in Microsoft Word using MS Office Professional 2010. Candidates are provided with an electronic template on which to do this.


The MCT is a test of common law principles in multiple choice format. It requires you to read through fact patterns and identify the right answer.

The OSCE is a practical exam that requires computer-based writing exercises and interviews with actors playing clients. The goal of the OSCE is to replicate your first day in an office.

See the QLTS Overview for more detailed description of the format and subjects tested on both Assessments.

The MCT and the OSCE exams are administered separately, usually three months apart. However due to increased demand with the end of QLTS (before it is replaced by the SQE in late 2021), additional OSCE sittings have been added. (See below: "What are the next MCT / OSCE exam dates?")

QLTS Advantage Live Tuition sessions are typically held about 2-3 weeks prior to the exams, and video recordings of the sessions are posted online for remote viewing at this time as well.

MCT – 7-July 2021 – was the last QLTS MCT.

OSCE – 20 Nov. to 3 Dec. 2021 // late Mar. to early Apr. 2022 (TBC, the final OSCE sitting)

No, we are only the training provider. Kaplan QLTS is the sole authorised assessment provider for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) of assessments under The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS).

Suggested study times vary, but as a General Rule, we suggest 80-100 hours for delegates with a Common Law background, and anywhere up to 200 hours for Civil trained lawyers. (As soon as you enroll, you will be directed to sit our Diagnostic test, that's graded by a QLTS tutor and returned to you with a recommended study schedule.)

Read more FAQs

Benefits of Becoming a Solicitor

Where will I be able to practice law?

Passing the QLTS not only licenses you as a solicitor in England and Wales, but also may confer a right to practice in many other jurisdictions including:

Alberta Isle of Man Saskatchewan
Anguilla Israel Singapore
Antigua and Barbuda Jamaica South Africa
Bahamas Malaysia South Australia
Barbados Manitoba St. Lucia
Belize Montserrat St. Kitts and Nevis
Bermuda Newfoundland St. Vincent and the Grenadines
British Columbia New South Wales Tasmania
British Virgin Islands New Zealand Trinidad and Tobago
Cayman Islands Northern Territory Turks and Caicos
Dominica North West Territory Victoria
Grenada Nova Scotia Western Australia
Guyana Ontario Yukon Territory
Hong Kong Papua New Guinea Zambia
India Prince Edward Island

Note: In some instances, further academic and/or practical legal training may be required. Minimum periods of residency may also apply.

Qualify as a Solicitor and have the skills and credentials to work in 48 countries and 6 continents.

Why sitting for another bar exam makes sense:
  1. While the information is still 'fresh', parlay your recent bar prep knowledge/experience to earn an international license.
  2. Set your CV apart by adding this distinguished qualification to your list of accomplishments.
  3. Instantly, gain the credentials for employment in 48 countries.
  4. Leverage your dual-qualified status to secure positions with firms engaged in transnational commerce. (ie. Financial services, Intl. Arbitration, Aviation, Oil & Gas, Insurance and Assurance houses, Intl. trade divisions of large accountancy firms)
  5. Add a little 'class' to your professional title:

    [ Your Name Here ],
    Solicitor of England & Wales.

SQE – The Future

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) or SQE, also known as the new solicitor "super-exam" is a new type of assessment, announced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), that everyone will have to take and pass in order to become a Solicitor in England. It will replace the current exams required to become a solicitor, such as the QLTS, and aims to ensure that individuals meet the same high standards in a consistent way from when they first qualified, by providing one single assessment for everybody.

The SRA has appointed Kaplan for a period of eight years to deliver the SQE. The introduction of the assessment is planned for September 2021.

Most future solicitors start by studying a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD). This could be the LLB, or a non-law degree and the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Afterwards, they have to complete their LPC (Legal Practice Course) and undertake a 2-year training contract with a law firm.

The (currently compulsory) QLD, GDL and LPC will be gradually replaced with a variety of new preparation courses for the SQE, that all aspiring solicitors will be required to take and pass. The SRA is introducing these changes to make sure all solicitors are assessed in a consistent way. The first assessment is planned for November 2021.

Just like the QLTS, the SQE exam will require thorough and extensive preparation and we will develop a new range of courses specifically designed for passing the SQE over the coming months.

The SQE will consist of two parts. Stage 1 focuses on the legal knowledge of the participants and Stage 2 will assess practical legal skills.

Stage 1 will contain six exams covering the following topics:

  • Principles of Professional Conduct, Public and Administrative Law and the Legal Systems of England and Wales
  • Dispute Resolution in Contract or Tort
  • Property Law in Practice
  • Commercial and Corporate Law and Practice
  • Wills and the Administration of Estates and Trusts (WAET)
  • Criminal Law and Practice

All Stage 1 exams need to be passed before being able to take the Stage 2 exams. A period of work experience will also have to be completed – at the moment this is the Training Contract – before doing the Stage 2 exams.

Stage 2 will contain five unseen skills-based exams, which will all include tasks that a newly qualified solicitor would be expected to do.

The five exams will be:

  • Client Interviewing
  • Advocacy
  • Case and Matter Analysis
  • Legal Research and Written Advice
  • Legal Drafting

The Legal Drafting and Legal Research/Written Advice will be computer-based. The Client Interviewing, Advocacy and Case and Matter Analysis will be assessed through role-plays with trained actors playing the role of a client.

The exams will be based around 5 practice contexts and students will be able to choose two contexts:

  • Criminal Practice
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Property
  • Wills and the Administration of Estates and Trusts
  • Commercial & Corporate Practice

Solicitors wanting to be admitted under the newly planned SQE route, will need to:

  • Pass the SQE (both stages)
  • Meet certain suitability and character requirements as set out by the SRA
  • Hold a law or non-law degree or equivalent qualification
  • Complete 2 years of QWE (Qualifying Work Experience)

The new route requires solicitors to undertake 2 years of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). Whilst a training contract usually involves two years of work-based training in a single law firm, the QWE can be obtained at up to four organisations, in a maximum of four periods. The intention behind this is to give you greater flexibility and a wider range of options to develop the required skills to practice as a solicitor.

You can still undertake the full two years with a single law firm, but you could also potentially count your time spent working in a student law clinic or a placement during your law degree.

Any QWE will have to be signed off by a solicitor which is usually the compliance officer at your respective firm, who will also be required to obtain and review feedback on your work. As stated by the SRA, they anticipate that a considerable amount of QWE will have to be undertaken before taking the second stage of the SQE (however, this is not a stipulation).

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has confirmed that all students will have to pass the SQE to become a solicitor as of September 2021. Students who have already started a law degree, GDL/CPE, LPC or who are on a training contract before September 2021, will not have to take the SQE and can continue on the old routes. The new and current systems will run alongside each other for some years to allow for a transition period.

The OSCE is less complex than the SQE2.

Substantial additions have been made to the FLK (Functioning Legal Knowledge) requirements in the SQE syllabus, with many extra topics added throughout all 5 subject areas, like Company Finance and Personal Insolvency in Business, Appeals Procedure in Criminal Litigation, Planning Law in Property, and Dispute Resolution. The SQE will also include a whole new skill, which is not currently part of the OSCE – Case and matter analysis.  Less topics to prepare for = less study time!

Make use of a success-proven route.

Especially if you have previously started to study for the OSCE, it only makes sense to finish with the QLTS route and our success-proven training, rather than being one of the first groups taking the new SQE exam, with added uncertainties.

Become a solicitor this year.

Otherwise, the soonest would be a year from now (Aug/Sep 2022) if choosing the SQE route. After taking the MCT, the black letter law is still fresh in your mind and you can make use of a tried-and-tested exam that our delegates typically pass at their first attempt.

Time is running out!

There are only 2 more OSCE sittings: Nov 2021 and Apr 2022 (TBC). Details of the final OSCE exams can be found on the Kaplan website. The last MCT exam took place on 7 July 2021. Please see the SRA website for details on the transitional arrangements to the SQE.

No Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) needed.

The QLTS has no training or work experience requirement – you only need to pass it to qualify as a solicitor in England & Wales. After the introduction of the SQE in 2021, you might need a minimum of 2-years professional experience, to prove to the SRA that you are competent to practice. Read more in the Principles for Qualified Lawyers.

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