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60. SQE1 vs SQE2: Comparing the Two Examination Stages

SQE1 vs SQE2: Comparing the Two Examination Stages

Preparing for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a significant milestone in every aspiring solicitor’s journey. With the new two-stage format introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), candidates now face the challenge of navigating both SQE1 and SQE2 exams. In this blog post, we will compare and contrast these two examination stages, giving you a clear understanding of what to expect and how to prepare. Let’s dive in!

SQE1: The Foundation Stage

SQE1 focuses on assessing candidates’ legal knowledge and understanding. This examination stage consists of two separate assessments: Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) and Legal Research (LR). The FLK assessment evaluates your understanding of legal principles, rules, and procedures across various practice areas. On the other hand, the LR assessment tests your ability to find, interpret, and apply legal sources.

Preparing for SQE1 requires a solid foundation in legal knowledge. It’s essential to study the core areas of law thoroughly, such as contract law, criminal law, constitutional law, and more. Utilize online resources, study guides, and webinars, such as the ones provided by SQE Exam Law (24. Unlocking Knowledge with SQE Webinars: Expert Insights at Your Fingertips), to enhance your understanding and keep up with the latest legal developments.

Time management is crucial when preparing for SQE1. With multiple subjects to cover, create a study plan and allocate sufficient time to each topic. Efficient time management strategies, as discussed in our article on Time Management for SQE (Time Management for SQE: Strategies for Efficient Study Planning), will help you stay organized and focused throughout your preparation.

SQE2: The Skills Stage

SQE2 focuses on assessing candidates’ practical legal skills. This stage consists of five assessments: Client Interviewing, Advocacy, Legal Writing, Legal Drafting, and Case and Matter Analysis. Each assessment tests your ability to apply legal knowledge and skills in practical scenarios, simulating real-world legal practice.

Unlike SQE1, which relies on your knowledge of legal principles, SQE2 emphasizes your ability to demonstrate your skills in a practical setting. To excel in SQE2, it’s essential to practice and refine your legal skills regularly. Participating in role-play assessments and mock interviews, as discussed in our article on Role Play Assessments in SQE (Role Play Assessments in SQE: Tips for Nailing the Practical Skills), will help you gain confidence and develop your practical skills.

Legal writing and legal drafting assessments require careful attention to detail and precision. Mastering these skills is crucial for success in SQE2. Practice writing case summaries, opinions, and legal advice to enhance your legal writing skills. Additionally, develop your drafting skills by creating agreements, contracts, and other legal documents.

Preparing for Success in Both SQE1 and SQE2

To excel in both SQE1 and SQE2, an integrated approach to preparation is essential. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:

  1. Develop a study schedule that balances your preparation for both examination stages.
  2. Utilize a variety of study resources, including textbooks, online materials, and practice questions.
  3. Take advantage of expert insights and study tricks in our article on Conquering the SQE (Conquer the SQE: Insider Tips and Study Tricks for Success).
  4. Participate in SQE webinars to enhance your understanding of complex legal concepts (24. Unlocking Knowledge with SQE Webinars: Expert Insights at Your Fingertips).
  5. Focus on regular practice and mock assessments to build your confidence and refine your skills.
  6. Stay updated with the latest legal developments and changes in practice areas.
  7. Seek guidance from experienced solicitors or mentors who have already gone through the SQE process.

Understanding the grading system in SQE, as discussed in our article on Grading System in SQE (Grading System in SQE: Understanding How Exams are Evaluated), will also assist you in setting realistic expectations and gauging your progress.


The SQE presents an exciting opportunity for aspiring solicitors to demonstrate their legal knowledge and practical skills. By understanding the differences between SQE1 and SQE2 and tailoring your preparation accordingly, you can approach both examination stages with confidence. Remember to utilize various study resources, seek expert insights, and dedicate ample time to practice and refine your skills. Good luck on your journey towards qualification as a solicitor!