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23. Understanding the Grading System in SQE

Understanding the Grading System in SQE

When it comes to the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), understanding the grading system is crucial for aspiring solicitors. The grading system provides a fair and transparent evaluation of candidates’ knowledge and skills, allowing them to gauge their performance and progress.

Before we delve into the details of the grading system, it is important to note that the SQE is divided into two stages – SQE1 and SQE2. SQE1 assesses candidates’ functioning legal knowledge, while SQE2 tests their practical legal skills.

The Grading Structure

The SQE grading system is structured in a way that allows candidates to receive a clear and comprehensive assessment of their performance. The grading scale is divided into four categories:

  • Competent
  • Standard
  • Advanced
  • Exceptional

The “Competent” grade indicates that the candidate has achieved the minimum standard required to qualify as a solicitor. This grade ensures that all candidates meet the core requirements set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The “Standard” grade represents a level above the minimum requirement. Candidates who receive this grade demonstrate a sound understanding of the legal principles and are capable of applying them effectively. Achieving a “Standard” grade is a positive indicator of a candidate’s potential as a solicitor.

The “Advanced” grade is awarded to candidates who exhibit a deep understanding of the legal principles and are able to apply them in complex scenarios. This grade signifies a high level of competence and expertise.

Finally, the “Exceptional” grade is reserved for candidates who demonstrate outstanding knowledge and skills. Achieving this grade indicates a superior level of understanding and an exceptional ability to apply legal principles.

Assessment Criteria

The SQE assessment criteria are carefully designed to evaluate candidates’ knowledge, application of legal principles, and practical legal skills.

For SQE1, the assessment consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and single-best-answer questions (SBAs). These questions assess candidates’ understanding and application of legal concepts, as well as their ability to analyze and evaluate legal scenarios.

On the other hand, SQE2 focuses on assessing candidates’ practical legal skills through tasks such as legal research, case analysis, and drafting legal documents. The assessment includes both written and oral components to evaluate candidates’ ability to communicate and present their legal arguments effectively.

Interpreting Your Results

After completing each stage of the SQE, candidates will receive a detailed feedback report providing insights into their performance. The report will highlight the areas where candidates have excelled and areas that require improvement.

It is important to remember that the grading system is designed to provide a fair and accurate evaluation of candidates’ abilities. The feedback report will help candidates understand their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to focus on areas that need improvement.

To make the most of your SQE results, it is highly recommended to seek guidance from experienced professionals. Consider attending SQE webinars and expert insights to gain valuable insights and tips to improve your performance. You can find more information on SQE webinars here.


The grading system in the SQE is designed to provide a fair and transparent evaluation of candidates’ knowledge and skills. Understanding the grading criteria and interpreting your results is essential for aspiring solicitors to identify areas for improvement and focus their efforts on becoming competent and successful legal professionals.

For more information on choosing the best SQE course providers and conquering the SQE exam, check out these related articles:

  1. Review of SQE Course Providers: Choosing the Best Fit
  2. Conquer the SQE: Insider Tips and Study Tricks for Success
  3. Unveiling the SRA Syllabus for the SQE
  4. Grading System in SQE: Understanding How Exams are Evaluated