Regulator concludes review into SQE marking error 

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By Thomas Connelly on


One student moves from fail to pass

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and assessment provider Kaplan have published the outcome of their review into a marking error on the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

Legal Cheek revealed last month that an issue had been identified in the marking of a number of exam scripts for the April sitting of SQE2.

The error related specifically to a small number of students who achieved low scores on Business Case and Matter Analysis (BCMA), one of the sixteen “stations” that form part of SQE2.

In a bid to reassure students, Kaplan launched a review, the results of which have just been published.

An update on the SRA’s website reveals “no errors were found for the vast majority of candidates and therefore their marks (324) did not change”.

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It states “some candidates’ marks (21) increased very slightly for the BCMA assessment station, but this did not lead to a change in their overall SQE2 result”.

Finally, “one candidate’s marks were increased for the BCMA assessment station, which led to them passing the SQE2 assessment overall”.

The regulator and Kaplan say they have communicated the outcomes to all affected candidates and apologised for the uncertainty this has caused.

The outcome of the review comes just a couple of weeks after students expressed their frustration at having to sit in an online queue for hours in a bid to secure an assessment slot.



Does this mean if you were one of the 346 candidates to receive an email most likely have failed the SQE 2…


Didn’t a bunch of people pass comfortably and then fail this station by a lot (I saw some people getting a 0). It doesn’t make sense. If multiple people fail ONE specific module by a drastic amount – surely there’s a reason?

What are you doing SRA?!?! This is just completely unfair for all the people being forced into this sqe mess simply because of our age/when we decide to go into law


If they comfortably passed all the other stations and failed the one station then they would have passed overall, there are 16 stations. If they failed the likelihood is that they marginally passed/failed other stations as well. It doesn’t reflect well on Kaplan/SRA to have an error but if lots of people did in fact fail this station it could just be that it was a difficult station.


The people were marked zero though prior to the re-mark. After the re-mark their scores were so low that it did not alter the stats enough for the August 2023 statistical report to be altered. It is very strange, given that the pass mark itself was also wrong due to the marking error. This means that a lot of people who were admitted onto the roll were mistakenly admitted Effectively. Kaplan just do not seem trustworthy given that it is in their financial interest to have a whole bunch of candidates resit the paper. Each resit costs nearly £3000 and most of the candidates will not take them to court over what happened.

First stage appeals cost 350 , second stage 850. Kaplan make it very easy for themselves to make profits and make it very difficult for the candidates to appeal. At the moment they are not really being overseen by anyone, inevitably it will be the judicial systems job to address that.

To admit that they have made mistakes in correspondence and simply apologise without offering any quantifiable redress is shocking, they dragged this matter on for months.


Seems very suspect. The original problem was that the candidates got all zeroes. So how does it then follow that “some candidates’ marks (21) increased very slightly for the BCMA assessment station”?

Did all of them do so badly that their marks only increase very slightly? Who did the marking? It just seems that without transparency, it looks like Kaplan and SRA have tried to bury the mistakes while hiding what has actually happened. This article does not even mention that the affected candidates got all zeroes and these were the papers that were re-marked.

I reference a comment made by another poster in the previous article:

“Hold on a moment. Kaplan have stated they’ll remark papers and provide new grade marks. The SQE pass rate is based on a percentage average. Remarking papers previously marked zero is going to raise the average, meaning there will be SQE candidates that didn’t pass after all. It’s unlikely Kaplan can reverse their decision to pass candidates, so the pass mark will remain incorrect. This is an embarrassing mess for Kaplan and the SRA. They owe affected candidates compensation, refunds or resits if only for Kaplans awful response emails to candidates who genuinely queried the error. Kaplan’s email gaslight candidates into believing they’d performed poorly, and should they have it in them (financially and mentally) to challenge further, they could only do so subject to further fees. Disgusting really. Do better Kaplan! SRA, it’s time to step up and have this mess sorted out.”

Does this current development not seem completely suspicious given that the new marks were so low that Kaplan/SRA stated in their press release that the statistical report of August 2023 did not need to be altered? They say “Because of the very limited impact of the isolated error that was found, there will be no change to the post-assessment statistical report.” Why did the re-marked candidates score so low? How can their marking and process be trusted? What was the marking error ? And why was it’s impact very limited?

It just gives no confidence to firms hiring SQE2 graduates that they passed as a result of merit rather than a technical error.

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