Featured image for 61. SQE1 vs. SQE2: Analyzing the Differences in Exam Structure and Content

61. SQE1 vs. SQE2: Analyzing the Differences in Exam Structure and Content

61. SQE1 vs. SQE2: Analyzing the Differences in Exam Structure and Content

Aspiring solicitors are required to pass the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in order to practice law in England and Wales. With the introduction of the SQE in November 2021, the previous system of the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) has been replaced. The SQE is divided into two stages: SQE1 and SQE2. In this article, we will delve into the differences between these two stages in terms of exam structure and content.

1. SQE1

SQE1 is the first stage of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. It is a computer-based assessment that tests candidates on their understanding of legal principles and their application in practical scenarios. The exam is divided into two parts: Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) and Practical Legal Skills (PLS).

The Functioning Legal Knowledge section consists of multiple-choice questions and focuses on assessing candidates’ knowledge of key legal principles, including contract law, criminal law, and tort law. It covers a wide range of legal topics, and candidates are expected to demonstrate a solid understanding of the law.

The Practical Legal Skills section evaluates candidates’ ability to apply legal knowledge to practical scenarios. It tests their critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills. Candidates are presented with realistic legal scenarios and are required to draft legal documents, provide legal advice, and undertake legal research.

To prepare for SQE1, it is essential to develop effective study strategies and practice answering multiple-choice questions under timed conditions. SQE Strategies: Proven Tactics to Ace the Solicitors Qualifying Examination provides valuable tips and techniques to excel in the exam.

2. SQE2

SQE2 is the second stage of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. It is a series of practical assessments that assess candidates’ ability to apply legal knowledge and skills in client-facing situations. The exam focuses on three primary areas: client interviewing and advising skills, written skills, and legal research and written advice.

The client interviewing and advising skills assessment evaluates candidates’ ability to effectively communicate with clients, gather relevant information, and provide appropriate legal advice. Candidates are required to demonstrate their interpersonal skills, empathy, and professional conduct.

The written skills assessment assesses candidates’ ability to draft various legal documents, such as contracts, witness statements, and legal correspondence. It evaluates their written communication skills, attention to detail, and legal drafting abilities.

The legal research and written advice assessment tests candidates’ research skills and ability to provide written advice based on legal research. Candidates are presented with a scenario and are required to conduct research, analyze the relevant legal principles, and provide comprehensive written advice to the client.

Preparation for SQE2 requires not only a solid understanding of legal principles but also the ability to apply them in practical scenarios. SQE Case Studies: Applying Knowledge in Real-Life Scenarios offers valuable insights into solving complex legal problems in realistic client situations.


The SQE1 and SQE2 stages of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination assess candidates’ legal knowledge, practical skills, and ability to apply them in real-life scenarios. While SQE1 focuses on knowledge and practical application, SQE2 emphasizes client-facing skills and practical assessments. It is crucial for aspiring solicitors to develop effective study strategies and familiarize themselves with the format and content of both stages of the exam.

To maximize your chances of success, consider implementing sound SQE exam strategies. SQE Exam Strategy: Planning and Executing for Optimal Performance offers valuable insights on planning your study schedule, managing exam stress, and optimizing your performance in the exam.

Remember, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is your gateway to legal practice. By mastering the content and structure of both SQE1 and SQE2, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your legal career.

Interested in learning more about the SQE and improving your exam performance? Check out these related articles: