Is the SQE2 Hard?

is sqe2 hard

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the standard qualification process that you need to complete in order to qualify as a solicitor of England and Wales. The SQE consists of getting two years of qualifying work experience signed off, and passing the SQE1 (a 2-day 360-question multiple choice exam) and the SQE2 (a 5-day practical exam consisting of 16 assessments). 

You might have heard horror stories about the SQE1, but you might be wondering: Is the SQE2 hard? 

Many people think that the SQE2 is easier than the SQE1 (due to the fact that a higher number of people pass it compared to the SQE1). However, the SQE2 is still a very tough exam and not to be underestimated, as the legal questions within it can be extremely niche.

This blog post aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the challenges posed by the SQE2 and how a well-structured SQE2 prep course can make a substantial difference.

Understanding the Structure of SQE2

Before diving into its difficulty, it’s essential to understand what the SQE2 includes. The SQE2 focuses on practical legal skills and is designed to test your ability to apply legal knowledge in a variety scenarios. It comprises 16 assessment that assess six key skills:

  1. Client Interviewing and writing an attendance note
  2. Advocacy 
  3. Case and Matter Analysis
  4. Legal Research
  5. Legal Writing
  6. Legal Drafting

1.-2. are oral exams, whilst 3.-6. Are written exams. 

The written exams are on 3 consecutive days, whilst the oral exams are on 2 consecutive days. 

You will be tested in the following subjects: Wills & Trusts, Dispute Resolution, Criminal Litigation, Property & Land Law, Business. 

Factors Contributing to the Difficulty of SQE2

Breadth and Depth of Knowledge

The first factor contributing to the difficulty of the SQE2 is the breadth and depth of knowledge required. If you look at the SRA FLK here, you will see that a huge amount of legal knowledge is covered. Unlike academic exams that focus on one subject per exam, the SQE2 demands practical application across various areas of law including Wills & Trusts, Dispute Resolution (including Contracts and Tort), Criminal Litigation, Property & Land Law, Business, Money Laundering, Ethics and Code of Conduct issues. 

Time Management

Another significant challenge is time management. Each task must be completed within a strict timeframe, requiring candidates to think quickly and efficiently under pressure. I personally found Legal Writing (30 minutes) and Research (60 minutes) assessments the worst. 

Application and Provision of Client-Focused Advice

This aspect can make the SQE2 quite difficult. It is not enough to just regurgitate the law, you need to provide a solution to the fictional client’s problem. You will need to think logically and consider the client’s needs and requirements. Knowing the law alone will not be enough. You will also need to deploy soft skills like communication, empathy, and problem-solving.

High Stakes

Lastly, the high stakes involved add another layer of difficulty. You have three chances at passing the SQE2, then that is it. Passing both parts of the SQE is mandatory for qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales, putting immense pressure on candidates to perform.

Tips for Succeeding in SQE2

Here are some tips to help you succeed:

Enrol in a Prep Course 

If you can enrol in a full prep course, I would highly recommend you do. There are a number of materials and books out there now, that can support your studying, but even so, these may not completely replace a full prep course. 

If you are looking for additional and efficient SQE2 study materials, be sure to check out my SQE2 resources here

Start Early

Begin your preparation well in advance to give yourself ample time to cover all topics thoroughly.

Focus on Weak Areas

Identify your weak areas (either skills or legal subjects or both) early on and devote extra time to improving them.

Practice and Revise with Active Recall Regularly

Consistent practice is key to mastering practical skills like client interviewing or advocacy. Legal knowledge is key in the SQE2 – you won’t be able to show your skills if you don’t have the legal knowledge. Incorporate active recall revision of the subjects listed in the SRA FLK regularly. 

Conclusion: Is the SQE2 Hard?

In summary, yes—the SQE2 is challenging due to its comprehensive nature, time constraints, client-focus requirements, and high stakes involved. However, with diligent preparation and support from a quality SQE2 prep course and additional materials, these challenges become manageable hurdles rather than insurmountable obstacles.

If you have any questions around SQE2 prep, be sure to contact me at 

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