Latest SQE2 results: attainment gaps remains

updated on 22 August 2023

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published the results for the April/May 2023 sitting of SQE2, revealing an overall pass rate of 77%, matching the results from April 2022 and up 6% from October 2022’s results.

Nearly 1,000 candidates took the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) SQE2 assessment, which focuses on practical legal skills and knowledge, between 25 April and 11 May 2023. Of those who passed, 80% passed first time.

However, the results also highlight the ever-present attainment gap issue between candidates with different characteristics and backgrounds. According to the report, the SQE2 pass rate for:

  • white candidates was 90%;
  • Asian/Asian British was 71%;
  • Black/Black British was 52%;
  • mixed/multiple ethnic groups was 84%; and
  • other ethnic groups was 55%.

These stats show very little change compared to last year’s SQE2 results when the diversity gap was described as “troubling”.

Much like previous SQE assessment results, the SRA’s report also demonstrates that candidates who had a higher degree classification performed better – for example, the pass rate of those with a first-class degree was 95% but just 63% for those with a 2:2.

Meanwhile, the pass rate for those who said they consider themselves to have a disability was 82%, while for those who said they didn’t have a disability and those who selected ‘prefer not to say’, the pass rate was 81% and 73%, respectively. There was also little reported difference in pass rate between candidates who’d undertaken any qualifying work experience (81%) and those who hadn’t (83%).

The SQE is split into two stages – SQE1 and SQE2. While SQE1 tests candidates’ knowledge of the law and how to apply it in real-life situations as a solicitor, SQE2 focuses on the everyday skills of lawyering, such as drafting contracts and interviewing clients. SQE2 tests many of the same skills as the Legal Practice Course (LPC) but rather than testing at the level of a trainee (like the LPC), it tests to the level of a newly qualified solicitor. Candidates can only sit SQE2 once they’ve passed SQE1.

Find out more about what the SQE assessments in cover in LawCareers.Net’s ‘Everything you need to know about the SQE’ Feature.

For more information on the SQE, updates and advice, head to LawCareers.Net’s SQE hub, sponsored by The University of Law.