The stations in the SQE2 exam will sample across the range of skills and practice areas. Candidates will not be able to choose the practice area for their skills assessment.
The client interviewing and advocacy assessments involve role-play exercises. An assessor who has been trained in playing the role of the client assesses the client interview. The attendance note which follows the interview is marked by a solicitor. The advocacy exam is assessed during the submission or presentation by a solicitor acting as the decision maker.
The legal research, legal writing, legal drafting, and case and matter analysis assessments are completed on a computer. The exercises are marked by a trained assessor, who is a qualified solicitor according to the SRA criteria.
For practical purposes the SQE2 exam is divided into two parts as follows:
SQE2 Oral Assessments
- Interview and attendance note/legal analysis
SQE2 oral will take place over two half days. The following table shows the assessments candidates will undertake on each of the days. Candidates will take a total of four oral legal skills assessments, as shown in the table below:
|Day 1||Day 2|
|Advocacy (Dispute Resolution) x1||Advocacy (Criminal Litigation) x1|
|Interview and attendance note/legal analysis (Property Practice) x1||Interview and attendance note/legal analysis (Wills and Intestacy, Probate|
Administration and Practice) x1
SQE2 Written Assessments
- Case and matter analysis
- Legal research
- Legal writing
- Legal drafting
SQE2 written will take place over three half days. The following table shows the assessments candidates will undertake on each of the days. Candidates will take a total of 12 written legal skills assessments:
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Case and matter analysis x1||Case and matter analysis x1||Case and matter analysis x1|
|Legal drafting x1||Legal drafting x1||Legal drafting x1|
|Legal research x1||Legal research x1||Legal research x1|
|Legal writing x1||Legal writing x1||Legal writing x1|
|Two of these exercises will be in the context of Dispute Resolution and two will be in the context of Criminal Litigation||Two of these exercises will be in the context of Property Practice and two will be in the context of Wills and Intestacy, Probate Administration and Practice||Candidates will sit all assessments in the context of Business Organisations, Rules and Procedures|
The SQE2 exam will include at least one task involving negotiation. Negotiation may be assessed in either interview and attendance note/legal analysis, and/or case and matter analysis, and/or legal writing.
Candidates must pass the two parts of SQE1 before they can attempt any of the SQE2 exams.
SQE2 assesses candidates’ practical skills over their legal knowledge, and involves, for example, simulations of solicitor/client interactions, file reviews, and court-based scenarios. For example, an assessment might test whether a candidate can conduct an interview with a client who is confused, forgetful, emotional, unreliable, or with whom the candidate has to establish their credibility. The SQE2 exams would not be designed to test recall of legal knowledge.
Candidates will be provided with all relevant legal materials. Getting the law right is clearly a core competency, and candidates who misconceive or misapply the law and who are not able to correctly identify and apply legal principles or ethical considerations will fail the SQE2 exam.
The pass mark for SQE2 is set by borderline regression accompanied by quality assurance measures. In essence, an overall view is taken of whether or not a candidate reaches the standard of a newly qualified solicitor in England and Wales. The spread of candidates’ marks are then reviewed in the light of these judgements and a pass mark is determined. A correction will be made for error measurement in the test using standard psychometric procedures (SEm). In this way a pass mark which is empirically justified is established.