SQE1 Trends and Analysis: Tell Me Something I Don't Know!


Yesterday I attended the LegalEx Conference where the SRA spoke about the ‘SQE Assessments and Learning So Far’. Much of the information they shared with us is readily available in their SQE1 July 2022 Statistical Report dated 5 October. However, in summary this is what we learnt from their talk:


1. It Is A Man’s World, But Not For Much Longer

Male and female candidates had identical pass rates in November 2021 but Males slightly outperformed Females in July 2022. While not a major issue of concern at this time, it is interesting to note that Females outnumber Male candidates by almost 2 to 1 and the legal profession is undoubtedly becoming more Female.


2. Mind The Attainment Gap

White Candidates and those from Multiple Ethnic Groups performed better than candidates from other Ethnic Groups. White Candidates had a pass rate of 66%, Asian Candidates had a pass rate of 54% and Black Candidates had a pass rate of 23%. The SRA have asked the University of Exeter to research this pronounced attainment gap and the results of that research are to be published in late 2023. However, the SRA did hint not to expect a solution to what is a complex question which involves the intersection of many strands of data.


3. A Level Playing Field

There was not significant difference in performance by candidates school type or socio-economic background which means that whether you attended a state school (selective entry or otherwise) or fee paying school, this had a minimal impact on your performance.


4. Your Degree Matters

Candidates with a higher degree classification performed better than those with a lower degree classification. This is interesting as it seems to suggest that if you have the academic skills to score a first or upper second class degree at University, then you have the skill set to pass the SQE. Candidates who had a lower second class degree or less did poorly.


5. Qualifying Work Experience Helps

Candidates who had undertaken work experience performed better than those who did not. It is hard to say whether working in a legal environment enhanced those candidates SQE knowledge or if this is a better indicator of candidates who are more motivated in entering the legal profession, but clearly work experience is helping candidates.


The information that was NOT published by the SRA was the ratio of students who are sponsored by law firms vs those who are self-funded. I asked the SRA if this information is collected and if it can be cross-referenced against ethnicity to see if this is having on an impact on the attainment gap.


For candidates who want to know more about the most recent sitting of the SQE, please have a look at the Revision Killer posts on TikTok on the SQE1 July 2022 results @revisionkillersqe


Sunit Tejura is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Roehampton Law School and leads the Law School’s SQE Foundations Course. Prior to joining Roehampton University he worked at Kaplan for seven years teaching on their Legal Practice Course, Graduate Diploma in Law and writing multiple choice questions for the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (the precursor to the SQE). Sunit is a qualified Solicitor (England and Wales) and Attorney at Law (New York).