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How I Passed my SQE 2 Exams

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Following on from my success with my SQE 1, I completed the first sitting of the SQE 2 in April 2022 and set out below my approach to studying which helped me to achieve 89%.

See my tips and advice on how I passed my SQE 1 exams here

The SQE 2 tests your practical skills and knowledge through 16 “stations” – 12 of which are written assessments (drafting, research, writing and case analysis) that takes place over three days and the other 4 are oral assessments (advocacy and interviewing) across two days.


1. Specification

Whereas in the SQE 1 exams all topics were examinable in the same way (i.e. multiple choice questions), not all practice areas are tested using the same methods with the SQE 2. For example, you may complete two exercises comprising of drafting and research for property and writing and case analysis for wills and intestacy. Therefore, it is very important to understand how each of the subjects may be tested and what the stations involve to ensure your revision is appropriate – the best way to do this, even when you are enrolled on a course, is to review the exam specifications in detail.

Once you understand the specification and the purpose behind each station, you can then look into how-to pick-up marks and refine your examination techniques.


The purpose of SQE 2 is to test your legal practice skills. However, this only accounts for 50% of the marks and the other half is from your legal knowledge and so you need to retain the knowledge from sitting your SQE 1 exams. These should be easy marks to gain, because if you were able to pass the SQE 1 exams, then you should already have the pre-requisite knowledge (or at least are capable of re-learning it). Having good notes from the SQE 1 will therefore be beneficial in your preparations for the SQE 2. You should also remember that not all topics from the SQE 1 exams are examinable in SQE 2, such as solicitor accounts and constitutional law and so it would be worthwhile spending time on the specification to ensure you are focusing on the appropriate material.

3. “Newly Qualified Solicitor” threshold

The standard expected of you in the exams is that of a day-one qualified solicitor – this is a higher threshold than the LPC and whilst it may be seen as daunting, this does not mean you are expected to be perfect.

4. Skills/Practice

Like with all exams, practice is key! The SRA has uploaded a few sample mock exams with answers which would be helpful to look at – I did this towards the end of my revision as I wanted to be in a position to make the most out of these. Before hand, I was fortunate to have access to a course which included a large bank of mocks which I was able to review.

For the written mock stations, I practiced first on an open book basis (i.e. with notes to hand) – I felt this was useful to focus on improving my skills first rather than trying to stress with recalling my legal knowledge. Of course, this naturally also reinforced my knowledge and I eventually progressed to doing the mocks under the exam conditions. I would also review the sample answers in detail – it is important to remember that it is not expected that your answer is the same or even similar to the sample answer. Everyone has different writing styles, and you could ask any two solicitors (newly qualified or even experienced) to write an email or letter, and no two would write it in the same way. What is important is ensuring you are clear, concise and the legal and factual points have been correctly identified.

For the oral mock stations, I would also practice this – for advocacy, I would record myself performing the advocacy and then squirm as I re-watched it. This was useful for identifying issues in my speaking style (i.e. pacing, tone, filer words, and fidgeting) and improve my confidence. I also then considered based on my response potential questions the judge may raise (judicial intervention) and how I would approach answering these. We also had a mock exam with our course, which was by far the most useful mock we completed as we received tailored feedback on our performance and so it would be worthwhile in completing this if you have the opportunity.

For the interview preparations, this was harder to practice but I started with preparing a standard form introduction and closing paragraph as these would almost always be the same in any interview. For the legal part of the interview, this involved reviewing briefs and considering the questions I would look to raise with the interviewee to identify the issues and type of advice that is expected. However, doing this alone I found was limited and so practicing with family and friends was helpful. I would give them the sample brief with all the necessary information and pretend to do a solicitor-client interview.

5. Qualifying work experience

Whilst I appreciate not everyone would have the opportunity to gain work experience prior to completing their SQE exams, I do believe this was the biggest contributing factor to my success. Even before undertaking the SQE exams, I was already preparing written advice and speaking with clients, and so I was able to develop many of the skills that were tested in practice. Therefore, for those of you who do have such an opportunity, always review your performance on written pieces and client interactions whilst working to understand your personal strengths and areas of improvements in those situations – being honest with yourself will go a long way and I believe, be even more beneficial to your exams and career.

Best of luck with your exams.