Decoding the SQE2 Exam Results: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Marks Breakdown?

What you will read in this post

    The SQE2 exam is the second stage of the Solicitor Qualifying Examination. It’s undertaken by aspiring solicitors who have either passed the initial stage (SQE1) or were exempt from it. For instance, LPC graduates are automatically exempt from SQE1. This article serves not only those who have already attempted the SQE2 exam but also individuals in the preparation phase and those who are contemplating applying for SQE exemptions.

    Understanding the SQE assessment process is crucial. Note, we provide the opportunity for a free analysis of your SQE2 breakdown. If you require this service, please book a call at link.

    SQE2 Introduction

    Diverging from the multiple-choice format of SQE1, SQE2 presents a distinctly challenging examination. Unlike SQE1, which focuses on a single best-answer approach, SQE2 evaluates candidates on a combination of skills and legal knowledge through simulations that closely replicate real legal practice. These simulations mirror the day-to-day activities integral to aspiring solicitors practising in the UK. These include:

    SQE2 simulations

    We will henceforth refer to the aforementioned SQE simulations as “SQE2 assessment types.”

    Click on any item above to explore detailed insights and watch a brief video explaining the dynamics of each SQE assessment. Note that even though SQE2 is arguably one of the most interesting and challenging exams globally, it remains an exam. This implies that it does not perfectly align with actual legal practice in the UK and requires a nuanced understanding. Delve into the details on our SQE blog, ‘The ABC of SQE2: What You Need to Know About the Skills Assessment.’

    In contrast to SQE1, SQE2 candidates are evaluated in only five practice areas: Business law, Criminal practice, Dispute resolution, Wills, intestacy and administration of estate, and Property practice. However, don’t rush to relax; substantial law remains integral to these areas, and you will still be assessed to some extent in those subjects. For instance, in Dispute resolution, your practical SQE2 questions may be based on contract or tort law.

    You may download the SQE syllabus here: FLK1 and FLK2.

    SQE2 assessment results

    When the specified date arrives, and you receive the results, SQE Kaplan will send you the SQE assessment results in a 3-4 page PDF format. Note that the results release dates are specified by the SRA in ‘When you can take the SQE’.

    At the beginning of the SQE results report you will see:

    • your name and SQE candidate’s ID number,
    • the dates of the SQE2 oral and written assessments,
    • the date of the transcript,
    • the number of your SQE attempts (remember about the 3 SQE2 attempts limit),
    • your overall SQE2 pass mark for the sitting,
    • your mark and the outcome result: pass or fail
    • quintile – which shows the quality of your results with 5 being the lowest and 1 being similar to a distinction.

    Note, quintiles are crucial for your future employment. You may pass the SQE, but your quintile may fall into a lower class. The highest SQE quintile is 1, similar to university degrees. The SQE quintiles are not to be confused with the actual SQE2 marking system. The SQE2 rating is opposite to the SQE quintiles where 5 is the highest mark.

    After the results, the next step is the ‘SQE2 Full Breakdown of Marks.’ Presented in table format, it is structured per SQE2 assessment type. The breakdown incorporates marks for each assessment criterion for both skills and law. Let’s go through them together, organising the information based on the SQE2 law and skills marking criteria.

    However, before we proceed, let’s briefly consider the actual SQE2 grading. The grading below is translated into numerical marks, where 5 marks correspond to an A and 0 marks correspond to an F. The range spans from the lowest mark of 0 to the highest mark of 5.

    A. Superior performance: well above the competency requirements of the assessment

    B. Clearly satisfactory: clearly meets the competency requirements of the assessment

    C. Marginal pass: on balance, just meets the competency requirements of the assessment

    D. Marginal fail: on balance, just fails to meet the competency requirements of the assessment

    E. Clearly unsatisfactory: clearly does not meet the competency requirements of the assessment

    F. Poor performance: well below the competency requirements of the assessment.

    The purpose of this article is not to analyse the actual SQE2 criteria, but you can read about them in ‘SQE Marking and Passing Marks‘.

    SQE2 skills marks and marking criteria

    So, if you look at the table below, the numbers in bold are actually the marking criteria. Under Skills, there are 3 SQE2 criteria (1, 2, 3), and under Law, there are two SQE2 criteria (4 and 5). The law mark is fixed and has only two criteria. The skills mark has many criteria, and its number and specification vary from one SQE2 assessment type to another.

    SQE2 skills marks and marking criteria

    Under the numbers in bold, there is a row with more numbers. Those are your actual SQE2 marks. To understand which marking criteria each mark corresponds to, you need to check the SQE2 marking criteria for the relevant assessment type. We have summarised them for you in the table below. If we take the SQE2 results example, particularly for Legal Research, you can easily check the table to find the marking criteria corresponding to numbers 1, 2, or 3.







    Client Interview Skills

    Listen to the client and use questioning effectively to enable the client to tell the solicitor what is important to them.

    Communicate and explain in a way that is suitable for the client to understand.

    Conduct themselves in a professional manner and treat the client with courtesy, respect and politeness including respecting diversity where relevant.

    Demonstrate client-focus in their approach to the client and the issues (i.e. demonstrate an understanding of the problem from the client’s point of view and what the client wants to achieve, not just from a legal perspective).

    Establish and maintain an effective relationship with the client so as to build trust and confidence.

    Attendance note/ legal analysis

    Record all relevant information.

    Identify appropriate next steps.

    Provide client-focused advice (i.e. advice which demonstrates an understanding of the problem from the client’s point of view and what the client wants to achieve, not just from a legal perspective).



    Use appropriate language and behaviour.

    Adopt a clear and logical structure.

    Present a persuasive argument.

    Interacts with/engages the court appropriately.

    Include all key relevant facts.

    Case and matter analysis

    Identify relevant facts.

    Provide client-focused advice (i.e. advice which demonstrates an understanding of the problem from the client’s point of view and what the client wants to achieve, not just from a legal perspective).

    Use clear, precise, concise and acceptable language.


    Legal research

    Identify and use relevant sources and information.

    Provide advice which is client-focused and addresses the client’s problem.

    Use clear, precise, concise and acceptable language.


    Legal writing

    Include relevant facts.

    Use a logical structure.

    Advice/content is client and recipient focused.

    Use clear, precise, concise and acceptable language which is appropriate to the recipient.


    Legal drafting

    Use clear, precise, concise and acceptable language.

    Structure the document appropriately and logically.


    SQE2 Law marks and marking criteria

    There are two legal markings applicable to all SQE2 assessments:

    1. Apply the law correctly to the client’s situation.
    2. Apply the law comprehensively to the client’s situation, identifying any ethical and professional conduct issues and exercising judgement to resolve them honestly and with integrity.

    So, considering the example of the results above, number 4 represents the mark for criteria (1), legally correct application of the law, while number 5 is the mark for criteria (2), answer comprehensiveness.

    Analysis of your SQE2 results breakdown

    So, let’s consider a brief example of the SQE2 Advocacy results.

    Example of the SQE2 Advocacy results

    From the results above, it’s evident that the candidate didn’t perform well in the law aspect of Criminal Litigation. Perhaps, the aspiring solicitor misunderstood the legal issues and argued points not intended to be covered in the assessment, or did not know the relevant legal tests. Having such low marks indicates a fundamental issue. On a positive note, the candidate employed appropriate language, demonstrating the demeanour of an experienced legal counsel. While their structure and interactions with the judge were satisfactory, there’s room for significant improvement. Clearly, an area for the candidate to focus on in terms of SQE2 skills is enhancing the persuasiveness of their arguments.

    We provide a complimentary SQE2 results analysis, offering insights for your further improvement and revision. SQE2 is our primary expertise. As a community of successful candidates who have passed the exam, we’ve assisted hundreds of resitters since early 2018, helping them achieve their goals, often with very high scores. Feel free to reach out to us at to book an individual assessment of your results.

    How to Improve or Secure Your SQE2 Result

    Our SQE2 preparation approach revolves around an individual assessment of your performance, bypassing the use of suggested answers, which we deem to be ineffective. Instead, we analyse your actual performance and offer comprehensive feedback on areas in need of improvement. For instance, we guide you on enhancing persuasiveness, improving structure, and addressing various aspects. Don’t assume that a mark of 3 is satisfactory; even though it might be a pass, it might not secure your success. SQE2 results are comparative and competitive, and Kaplan establishes the actual pass mark after comparing candidates.

    Our candidates receive challenging scenarios covering diverse legal topics, helping identify knowledge gaps. We focus on teaching law by exposing you to difficult tasks and instructing you on handling them effectively.

    Prepare for SQE2 with flexible and tailored mocks on SUPEREXAM. Schedule mocks for SQE2 preparation anytime. Choose date, time, subject, and assessment type. No need for a comprehensive package – add individual mocks as needed. Our 1-to-1 SQE2 mock stations are valuable for both SQE2 preparation and assessing your mistakes. Register now to start your SQE2 prep. Follow the link.

    Prioritise quality over brands in your SQE preparation, as individualised attention is crucial for success in SQE2.

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