The overall structure of the SQE and QLTS assessments are similar in the way that they are both divided into two different sections and that the first section must be passed before the second can be attempted. The QLTS is structured into the different parts: Part 1, MCT, and Part 2, OSCE. SQE also has two different parts in stages: SQE1 Stage 1, the Functioning Legal Knowledge Assessments, and SQE Stage 2, the Practical Legal Skills Assessments.
The QLTS and SQE exams are administered by Kaplan, a sole assessment provider that has been appointed by the SRA to carry out the assessments on their behalf. Kaplan is not allowed to offer preparation courses for either the QLTS or SQE.
Likewise in the QLTS, SQE Stage 1 will be available at various international centres, but SQE Stage 2 will only be available in England and Wales initially.
Part 1 of the QLTS, the MCT, focuses on assessing the application of knowledge of substantive law, and is only one assessment, consisting of 180 questions, divided into morning and afternoon periods of 2 hours and 45 minutes each. The MCT lasts 5 hours and 30 minutes. You are given an unlimited number of attempts to pass.
Stage 1 of the SQE will focus on assessing the application of functioning legal knowledge required for effective practice, consisting of 360 questions, divided into two assessments of 180 questions each, which will run across two separate days for a total of 10 hours and 12 minutes. With the SQE, you are given three attempts to pass each assessment in a 6-year period. The content of SQE1 covers more practice areas than the MCT, and assesses substantive, procedural and practical law, whereas the MCT only assesses substantive law. For example, SQE1 will assess civil and criminal litigation where those areas are not currently assessed on the MCT.
Part 2 of the QLTS assesses five different skills across three legal practice areas, has 15 assessments and takes 12 hours and 45 minutes, and also comes with an unlimited amount of attempts to pass. Stage 2 of the SQE assesses six different skills, five legal practice areas, has 16 assessments and takes 13 hours and 45 minutes, but you are given only three attempts to pass each assessment in a 6-year period.
With the QLTS, there is no time frame that both parts much be completed, but with the SQE, both stages must be completed within 6 years.