Oct 25, 2023

Written By Elizabeth Beesley

A Comprehensive Look at the SQE2 & Exclusive Access to Top Resources

Oct 25, 2023

Written By Elizabeth Beesley

Becoming a solicitor in the United Kingdom is a path filled with rigorous academic and professional challenges, and at the heart of this journey is the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). The SQE is a pivotal assessment for individuals seeking to enter the legal profession, and it comprises multiple components, one of which is SQE2. This article aims to provide a comprehensive examination of the SQE2, shedding light on its purpose, structure, and how to prepare effectively.

An In-Depth Overview of the SQE2 Exam

SQE2 is an examination designed to assess the practical legal skills of aspiring solicitors. It differs from SQE1, which evaluates candidates on their understanding of legal principles and knowledge. It focuses on the following skills:

The practice areas in which these skills are assessed are:

These content areas are carefully curated to mirror real-world legal practice, ensuring that successful candidates are equipped with the practical skills needed in their future roles.

Exam structure

The SQE2 exam is divided into two parts: the oral and the written sections. The oral exam takes place over two half days, while the written exam takes place over three half days. This makes up five days in total, although they won’t all be consecutive. For instance, for the January 2024 sitting, the written exam will take place from the 30th January - 1st February. The oral exam will then take place the week after, on either the 6-7th or the 8-9th.

Bear in mind that while you can take the SQE1 and the SQE2 written assessments in different countries, the SQE2 oral assessments are only available in the UK. The five venues are based in: Cardiff, London (two locations), Manchester and Birmingham.

Finally, the exam costs £2,766.

Strategies for Effective SQE2 Preparation

Effective preparation for the SQE2 exam begins with a structured study plan. Candidates should allocate time to each content area, ensuring comprehensive coverage. Setting achievable study goals, managing time effectively, and maintaining a consistent study routine are all vital components of successful preparation. While different people study in different ways, as a guide try to study for approximately 15-20 hours per week over a 3-4 month preparation period. Make sure to plan ahead according to how much time you will personally need. If you struggle to study independently, it might be worth looking into preparation courses.  

Practice makes perfect. You should try regular practice exams and mock practical assessments to become familiar with the exam format. These practice sessions are key to improving time management, refining strategies, and identifying areas that you’re struggling with. Definitely try out SQE2 practice tests and mock assessments. 

Incorporating feedback into the preparation process is essential. Actively seek feedback on oral exams and written responses from mentors, instructors, or peers. Constructive criticism can identify weaknesses and help in refining skills, ultimately leading to better performance on exam day.

SQE2 Exam Day Tips

For the exam days, avoid too much stress by planning in advance. It’s crucial to have all exam-day essentials, such as identification, stationery, and any documents required by the examination centre. Trying to plan travel routes (and accommodation, if necessary) to your chosen centre well in advance can help reduce stress on exam day. Make sure that you have familiarised yourself with all of the exam requirements and general exam etiquette, so that your mind is clear on focusing on the exam at hand. 

Stress management is a key factor in performing well on the exam. Techniques for staying calm, focused, and organised during the assessment include deep breathing, meditation,  and focusing on all the ways the exam could go well. You could also schedule something fun before and after each exam. A calm and focused mind is more likely to perform optimally, even in high-pressure situations.


Post-Exam Steps and Next Stages

You’ll receive the results 14-18 weeks after completion; the SRA will provide you with an exact date closer to the time. There’s no set pass mark; it depends on the level of difficulty of the test.

When you receive your results, you’ll also receive information about resits (if applicable) or remarks. 

Next Steps

After completing the SQE2, you’ll complete two years of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE), if you haven’t done so already. After this, you can apply to join the roll of solicitors

As you embark on your journey to become a solicitor, remember that diligent preparation, the use of recommended resources, and a positive mindset are key to success in the legal profession. Embrace the challenge, try new ways to improve your application, and you’ll be well on your way to joining the ranks of legal professionals in the UK. The road to becoming a solicitor may be demanding, but the reward is a fulfilling and impactful career in the legal world. Good luck on your SQE2 journey!