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8. SQE1 vs. SQE2: Which Stage Suits Your Legal Career Goals?

8. SQE1 vs. SQE2: Which Stage Suits Your Legal Career Goals?

Are you considering a career in law or looking to take your legal career to the next level? The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is set to replace the traditional route to qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales. This new system is designed to provide a more streamlined and flexible approach to legal education and training. However, with the introduction of the SQE, aspiring solicitors now face an important decision – whether to take SQE1 or SQE2. In this article, we will explore the key differences between the two stages and help you determine which one suits your legal career goals better.

1. SQE1: The Foundation Stage

SQE1 is the foundation stage of the SQE examination. It focuses on assessing the practical legal knowledge and skills necessary to be a competent solicitor. This stage comprises two parts – Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) and Practical Legal Skills (PLS).

The FLK assessment tests your understanding of key legal principles, concepts, and rules across various areas of law. To excel in this part of the examination, it is crucial to have a solid grasp of foundational legal knowledge. You can enhance your preparation by practicing with SQE 1 practice exam questions and SQE 1 practice mocks FLK1 FLK2.

On the other hand, the PLS assessment evaluates your ability to apply legal knowledge to practical scenarios. This part of the examination requires you to demonstrate your legal research, drafting, and communication skills. Developing these skills is essential to succeed in the PLS assessment and in your future legal career.

2. SQE2: The Skills Assessment Stage

SQE2 is the skills assessment stage of the SQE examination. This stage focuses on assessing the application of legal knowledge and skills in a realistic legal context. It comprises three main assessments – the client interview, advocacy and pleading, and legal research and written advice.

The client interview assessment evaluates your ability to communicate effectively with clients, gather relevant information, and provide appropriate advice. The advocacy and pleading assessment tests your skills in presenting legal arguments and cross-examining witnesses. The legal research and written advice assessment measures your ability to conduct thorough legal research and provide clear and concise written advice.

To excel in SQE2, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of legal practice and the ability to apply legal principles confidently. Comprehensive preparation is key to succeed in this stage, and you can find valuable assistance through dedicated SQE 2 preparation courses.

3. Determining Your Legal Career Goals

Now that you have an overview of the two stages, it’s time to determine which one suits your legal career goals better. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Experience and Education: If you have a law degree or substantial legal experience, you may already possess a strong foundation of legal knowledge. In this case, focusing on SQE2 might be more suitable for you, as it emphasizes practical application rather than basic legal concepts.
  • Career Aspirations: Consider your career goals and the types of legal work you wish to undertake. If you envision yourself primarily engaging in client interactions, advisory work, or advocacy, SQE2 might align better with your aspirations.
  • Learning Style: Reflect on how you learn best. If you prefer a more structured and traditional approach to legal education, SQE1 might be a better fit. However, if you thrive in practical settings and prefer hands-on learning, SQE2 might be the right choice for you.

Ultimately, the decision between SQE1 and SQE2 comes down to your individual circumstances and preferences. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each stage and assess which one aligns best with your legal career goals.

To stay informed about upcoming SQE examination dates, check out the SRA SQE Exam Dates page.


The introduction of the SQE has brought significant changes to the legal qualification process. As an aspiring solicitor, understanding the differences between SQE1 and SQE2 is crucial in making an informed decision that aligns with your legal career goals. Consider your experience, aspirations, and learning style when choosing between the two stages. Remember, comprehensive preparation is key to success, and you can find valuable resources and guidance through dedicated preparation courses.