Some students found out their results late into the night, whilst some claim to have received other candidates’ scores
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).
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.
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.
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.