167 candidates take part in SQE2 pilot

Updated 5 June 2020

This information was published, as part of the SQE development process. This remains on our site for information purposes. Visit the main SQE page for the latest information.

SQE2 pilot assessments completed

The SQE2 pilot assessments were held across five days between 10-11 December and 13-15 December 2019. A total of 167 candidates completed four days of assessments across 31 UK Pearson Professional Centres for the written and Functioning Legal Knowledge tests and across two London-based venues for the oral tests. Read the reports on the pilot.

The structure of the pilot

The assessments in the SQE2 legal skills pilot were:

  • client interview
  • attendance note/legal analysis (linked to the client interview)
  • oral presentation/advocacy
  • case and matter analysis
  • legal research
  • legal writing
  • legal drafting.

The legal skills were assessed in the following practice contests:

  • Criminal Litigation (including advising clients at the police station)
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Property Practice
  • Wills and Intestacy, Probate Administration and Practice
  • Business organisations, rules and procedures.

For the purposes of the pilot, candidates completed these seven assessments twice (i.e. they did a total of 14 assessments) as follows:

  • Seven assessments in either (1) Business organisations rules, and procedures or (2) Criminal Litigation
  • Seven assessments in practice contexts which ranged across the five practice areas.

In addition to the legal skills test outlined above, candidates were asked to answer 120 single best answer multiple choice questions. This was done to enrich the analysis of the legal skills data. There is no proposal to include single best answer multiple choice questions in SQE2.

The assessment specification for the SQE2 pilot sets out what we assessed in the pilot, how we assessed candidates and the standards we applied.

The pilot assessment specification includes an assessment blueprint, which sets out which legal skills will be assessed in which context.

We continue to seek views about the structure and content of the assessment specification. This may then change in the light of this work and the pilot findings.

How we selected candidates

Candidates were selected to create a sample group as representative as possible of those who will sit the SQE when it is introduced. In terms of prior education and experience, we were therefore seeking candidates who either:

  • had completed Stage 1 (the compulsory element) of the Legal Practice Course (LPC); or
  • had completed a period of study and/or work experience equivalent to Stage 1 (the compulsory element) of the LPC; or
  • were qualified lawyers in a recognised jurisdiction eligible to qualify via the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme; or
  • were barristers of England and Wales.

We don’t know what the demographic make-up of SQE candidates will be. One of the aims of the SQE is to increase access to the profession.  A comparison with the most recently published LPC data on key demographics for candidates sitting the SQE2 pilot shows:

  • 66% of candidates identified as female compared with 34% male (LPC 2017/18, 64% female, 36% male)
  • 25% of candidates identified as Asian/Asian British (LPC2017/18, 24%)
  • 19% of candidates identified as Black/Black British (LPC2017/18, 11%)
  • 5% of candidates identified as Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups (LPC 2017/8, 3%)
  • 7% of candidates declared a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 (LPC 2017/18, 15% identified themselves as having a disability).

What happened next?

Candidates that completed all of the pilot received a transcript with detailed results including a comparative result, which they will be able to show to any future employer.

Candidates who completed the entire SQE2 pilot received £300. Candidates whose results ranked in the top 10 percent will receive an additional £200.

In addition, leading law firms offered career development opportunities to the best-performing candidates. The opportunities include a training contract assessment day place, open day places, a work experience placement, and career development coaching.

The firms offering these opportunities were:

  • Browne Jacobson
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  • Fletcher Solicitors
  • Mayer Brown
  • Michelmores
  • Mishcon de Reya
  • Moore Barlow

Results of the SQE1 pilot

We reported on the pilot's findings in July 2019. Read the findings.

You can also read the psychometric and statistical report.

How do I find out more detail?

Read more information about the SQE.

If you have any questions please get in touch.