SQE: Students perform best in ethics and contract, but struggle with business and property

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By Thomas Connelly on


SRA report reveals average score ranges

New statistics have shone light on the subject areas where students excel on the Solicitors Qualifying Examination — and also where they seem to struggle.

The findings, which feature in a new report published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), show candidates sitting SQE1 between September 2021 and August 2022 performed best on questions about ethics and contract law, but struggled to get to grips with topics including dispute resolution and business law.

SQE1 involves two Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) exams and is assessed by 360 multiple-choice single best answer questions. For FLK1, the report shows students secured their best marks in ethics and contract, with average score ranges of 69% to 73% and 66% to 70%, respectively. By contrast, candidates performed worst in business law and practice (50% to 59%) and dispute resolution (53% to 56%).

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As for FLK2, aspiring solicitors again scored well in ethics (65% to 75%) and criminal liability (59% to 72%), but not so well in property practice (46% to 48%) and wills and intestacy (51% to 56%).

Focusing on SQE2, which is assessed by way of 16 skills tasks, candidates performed best in legal research for dispute resolution with an average pass mark of 85%. Students also scored well on criminal litigation advocacy (79%) and case analysis in business (78%), according to the report. Meanwhile, candidates performed worst in the legal writing in dispute resolution (57%), which was the only average score below 60%.

The SRA stresses the report “should be viewed in full so that stakeholders can look at data that is of importance to them and draw their own conclusions”. So check it out in full here.

The regulator previously revealed 53% of candidates passed the first sitting of SQE1, while 77% passed SQE2.

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