SQE2 Study Approach

sqe2, how to study, study, revision

Congrats, you have survived the horrors of SQE1 and are now looking to what’s next: the SQE2. You may be thinking that preparation for the SQE2 will be less intense and just focused on legal skills. Not quite, unfortunately. The SQE2 is marked 50% on law and 50% on skills, therefore, unfortunately, you cannot completely ignore the legal knowledge component. 

I also found when sitting the exam, that the SRA do like asking somewhat niche and detailed legal questions on the SQE2, so it’s not necessarily as straightforward as you might think. But nevertheless, there are many ways to study for the SQE2 and pass successfully first time. 

I sat the first ever SQE2 exam in April 2022, and when I finished it, I was convinced that I had failed and would need to do it again. I found the assessments a lot more difficult than I expected. But to my great surprise, I passed with 86%. Here are some of the things that I believe helped me get there: 

Set SQE2 subject study schedule 

I studied for the SQE2 part time, whilst working full time in my in-house legal role. I started preparing for the April exams in January and stuck to a quite a strict schedule. On weeknights, I studied 1 subject per night for 1-2 hours. Mondays was wills, Tuesdays was property, Wednesday criminal litigation, Thursdays dispute resolution and Friday business. I sometimes mixed it up, but not too often. In the early weeks, I focused on absorbing the material, making notes and memorising the law. On weekends, I studied more – about 5-8 hours/day and mainly focused on doing mock exams and putting into practice what I studied during the week. 

As I got closer to the exam, I spent more time memorising the law and doing mock exams. During the last month before the exams, I tried to do at least 1 mock exam/day. When doing mock exams, I always tried to be as honest with myself as possible and assess where my gaps were and focus on those. This helped me learn from my mistakes and I definitely felt like I improved greatly by being conscious about my weaknesses.  

Focus on SQE2 legal knowledge memorisation 

Even though the SQE2 is a skills based exam, I found that spending more time on the legal knowledge side beneficial. When you are writing an answer or speaking during an assessment, you are already picking up skills marks by virtue of speaking or writing. If you don’t know the law, however, you will struggle to write/speak. I, therefore, recommend to spend more of your revision time with memorising the law and focusing on the functioning legal knowledge published by the SRA. 

What worked best for me was to talk myself through my notes and explain the legal principles to myself. I then went through everything again without referring to my notes and checked how much I remembered. I would go through this process over and over again until I had memorised most of the law. This active recall technique was definitely the best way for me to memorise tons of law. 

Be creative during the SQE2 exams 

As I mentioned, there were a couple of assessments that threw me a bit and where the law asked for was so detailed, I just didn’t know the answer. Where you find yourself in that situation, try not to panic (easy to say, I know), and be creative. I appreciate this sounds counter-intuitive, but rather than not writing or saying anything (and thereby, not picking up skills marks as well), make up something plausible. If you were the legislator, what would you have the law say? Of course, you may not the get the answer right, but you will definitely pick up more marks than if you don’t respond. These couple of additional marks can make the difference between passing and not passing. 

The SQE2 is a tough exam (for me personally, it was one of the toughest law exams, I took), but with a bit of planning and preparation, you will easily be successful! 

And if you are looking for easy to follow and efficient revision materials, be sure to check out my SQE2 resources page here

All the best with your upcoming revision, and if you have any queries, please feel free to e-mail me madeleine@inhousew.com 

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