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37. Understanding the Grading System in the SQE: How Scores Are Determined

As an aspiring solicitor, you have your sights set on passing the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) and embarking on a successful legal career. And to achieve that goal, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of the grading system in the SQE and how scores are determined.

The SQE is a two-part exam that assesses candidates’ knowledge and skills in various areas of law. Part 1 consists of multiple-choice questions, while Part 2 involves practical skills assessments. Both parts are graded on a scale of 0-180, with a score of 100 considered a passing mark.

But how exactly are these scores determined, and what factors contribute to your final grade? Let’s delve deeper into the grading system in the SQE and unlock the insights you need to succeed.

Understanding the Different Types of Questions

Before diving into the grading system, it’s important to understand the types of questions you’ll encounter in the SQE. Part 1 of the exam consists of single-best-answer multiple-choice questions, where you’ll need to select the most appropriate response from a list of options.

Each question in Part 1 carries one mark, and there are no negative marks for incorrect answers. This means that even if you’re unsure of the correct response, it’s always better to make an educated guess rather than leaving the question unanswered.

Part 2 of the SQE assesses your practical skills through role play assessments and written skills assessments. These assessments are designed to test your ability to apply legal knowledge to real-life scenarios and provide practical solutions.

Role play assessments involve simulated client interviews, negotiations, and advocacy exercises, where your communication and problem-solving skills are put to the test. Written skills assessments, on the other hand, assess your ability to draft legal documents, analyze case law, and provide legal advice.

The Grading Scale and Score Bands

Now, let’s explore how scores are determined in the SQE. Both Part 1 and Part 2 are graded on a scale of 0-180, but the grading criteria differ slightly between the two parts.

In Part 1, scores are converted to a scaled score ranging from 0-180. The passing mark is 100, and scores below this indicate a candidate’s lack of knowledge or understanding in the subject area. Scores above 100 demonstrate a higher level of competence and proficiency.

In Part 2, the grading scale is divided into three score bands: A, B, and C. The score bands indicate the level of performance in the practical skills assessments.

A score band of A is awarded to candidates who demonstrate exceptional performance and consistently meet or exceed the expected standards. This indicates a high level of legal knowledge, strong communication skills, and the ability to provide practical solutions.

Candidates who perform at the expected standards but may display some minor errors or omissions are awarded a score band of B. This suggests a satisfactory level of competence and proficiency in the practical skills assessed.

A score band of C is given to candidates who fail to meet the expected standards. This may be due to significant errors or omissions in their performance or a lack of understanding of the assessed skills.

Factors Influencing Your Final Grade

Your final grade in the SQE is determined by a combination of your Part 1 score and your performance in the practical skills assessments in Part 2.

The Part 1 score accounts for 60% of your overall grade, while the practical skills assessments contribute 40%. This means that performing well in both parts is crucial to achieving a high overall grade.

Therefore, it’s essential to allocate sufficient time and effort to studying for both parts of the exam. Focusing solely on Part 1 and neglecting the practical skills assessments could significantly impact your final grade.

Furthermore, time management plays a crucial role in your success in the SQE. Proper planning and organization of your study schedule will ensure you have enough time to cover all the necessary topics and practice the practical skills assessed in Part 2. Check out our article on Time Management for SQE: Strategies for Efficient Study Planning for tips on optimizing your study routine.


Understanding the grading system in the SQE is vital for your success in the exam. Familiarize yourself with the different types of questions, the grading scales, and the factors influencing your final grade.

If you’d like to learn more about preparing for the SQE and enhancing your study strategies, be sure to check out our related articles:

24. Unlocking Knowledge with SQE Webinars: Expert Insights at Your Fingertips

31. Conquer the SQE: Insider Tips and Study Tricks for Success

Grading System in SQE: Understanding How Exams are Evaluated

Time Management for SQE: Strategies for Efficient Study Planning

Role Play Assessments in SQE: Tips for Nailing the Practical Skills

By comprehending the grading system, optimizing your study routine, and leveraging the insights shared in our related articles, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the SQE and pave the way for a successful legal career.