SQE2 assessment days

Overview

SQE2 consists of a single exam. In order to pass SQE2 you must obtain the overall pass mark for SQE2. SQE2 will test oral and written legal skills in 16 assessment stations. The SQE2 written and oral assessments must be completed in the same assessment window.

What happens on the day

SQE2 written assessment days

Assessment centres and arrival times

After you have booked your SQE2 written assessment, we will send you an email that includes:

  • confirmation of the address of the assessment centre
  • the time you must report to the assessment centre to go through the booking in process
  • the start time of the assessments
  • the length of the assessment day.

You must be on time. If you are late, you cannot enter the assessment.

Arriving at the test centre before the start of the assessments

When you arrive, you will register and complete ID and security checks. Please check the information in your booking confirmation email before setting off for your assessments.

Watch a video showing what happens when you arrive at the assessment centre.

Once you are seated at your workstation, you must make a Fit to Sit declaration and confirm that you understand that the content of the assessments is confidential, and that you are bound by the Assessment Regulations.

Learn more: Fit to Sit Policy
Learn more: Candidate Confidentiality Policy
Learn more: Assessment Regulations

You won’t be allowed to take the assessment if you don’t complete these requirements. Once you have completed the assessment, if you feel that something has happened that could affect your performance during the assessment, you can submit a claim for mitigating circumstances.

Pearson VUE testing rules

Key points in the Pearson VUE testing rules:

No personal items (including but not limited to water, mobile phones, other electronic devices, watches, purses, books and notes) are allowed in the assessment room. There will be a secure place to store your items during the assessment.

You will be provided with an erasable whiteboard notepad and marker pen to be used only during the assessment. These must be handed in at the end of the assessment.

The test administrator will:

  • log you onto your assigned workstation
  • verify that you are taking the intended assessment
  • start the assessment.

You should also check your screen to ensure that you are logged in and are taking the intended assessment.

Once the assessment has started, you must remain in your assigned seat until escorted out by a test administrator.

You must not eat, drink, chew gum, smoke or make noise that disturbs other candidates during the assessments. 

You will be monitored at all times during the assessments. This can include CCTV recordings.

You must leave the assessment room during all breaks. After all breaks ID checks are carried out before you will be readmitted to the assessment room.

During any unscheduled breaks:

  • the assessment timer is not stopped.
  • access to personal belongings, other than for water or to obtain medication, is not permitted.

You must notify the test administrator immediately of any problems or distractions which affect your ability to do the assessments by raising your hand.

Test administrators cannot answer questions about the content of the assessments.

COVID-19 related measures

Please see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) related information.

Materials, pens and calculators

The SQE2 written assessments are computer based, with one screen per candidate. You will be provided with all necessary materials and equipment, including an online calculator, an erasable whiteboard notepad and a marker pen. You may not use any other equipment.

Personal possessions

Please do not bring personal possessions into the assessments. Your booking confirmation email has more information about what to expect in a Pearson VUE Test centre.

As storage space is limited, you should bring only a small bag. All personal belongings must be put in the secure lockers provided.

Dress code

There is no dress code for SQE2 written assessments. You can wear what you feel comfortable in, but you may be asked to remove bulky external clothing during security checks.

Length of SQE2 written assessments

There are 12 written assessments, taken over three separate days. On each day, you will sit four assessments. On each day there will be two sessions, each consisting of two assessments.

Session 1: 1 hour 30 minutes
Scheduled break: 15 minutes
Session 2: 1 hour 45 minutes

Leaving the assessment room during the assessment, including access to water

You may only leave the assessment room to use the bathroom, have a drink of water, eat or obtain medication if necessary. This will be monitored and any breach of this can be reported as a breach of the SQE Assessment Regulations. If you do access water, food or medication, this is an unscheduled break and the assessment timer is not stopped (i.e. your assessment time continues to run). Talking to other candidates during an unscheduled break is not permitted. If you think you will need to take medication during the assessment, please contact us in advance.

Leaving early

You cannot leave the assessments early.

Scheduled break between the assessment sessions

A 15-minute scheduled break is provided at the end of Session 1.

During this scheduled break you are:

  • not permitted to leave the assessment centre
  • only permitted access to your personal belongings to drink water or take medication. 

Water and other refreshments

Water and refreshments aren't provided for the assessments. You must make your own arrangements for water, food, and other refreshments. If in doubt, please bring your own supplies. Water and refreshments are not permitted in the assessment room.

Length of each SQE2 written day

The booking confirmation email will confirm the length of your day; the total amount of time is given in minutes and includes the:

  • explanatory tutorial
  • time allowed to complete the Fit to Sit declaration and the NDA
  • 15 minute scheduled break.

Temperature of the test centres

Pearson VUE aim to provide a comfortable temperature for candidates at the test centres. However, we understand that some candidates may prefer a cooler or warmer environment as a matter of personal choice. We suggest that candidates wear appropriate layers at the assessment for maximum flexibility, but please note the point above that you may be asked to remove bulky external clothing during security checks.


SQE2 oral assessments in Birmingham, London, Manchester or Cardiff

Assessment centres and arrival times

Each assessment day runs from 8am - 8pm, with candidates attending for between 4.5 to 7 hours within this window. We therefore advise making travel and other arrangements around these times. We will send you an email after you book your SQE2 oral assessments confirming the assessment dates and the exact location of the assessment centre.

We will send you an email after you book your SQE2 oral assessments confirming the assessment dates and the location of the assessment centre.

We will send you an email with joining instructions, containing details of what time you must report at the assessment centre, approximately two weeks before the assessments.

You must arrive on time. If you are late, you cannot enter the assessments.

Arriving at the test centre before the start of the assessments

On each day you will be required to:

  • leave all personal possessions in the secure storage area
  • register for the assessment day
  • verify your ID and undergo security checks
  • sign a Fit to Sit Declaration and confirm that you understand that the content of the assessments is confidential and that you are bound by the Assessment Regulations
  • collect your identification badge. You must wear your ID badge at all times when you are in the assessment centre.

After the security check you must not leave the assessment centre until you are instructed to do so at the end of your assessment day.

COVID-19 related measures

Please see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) related information.

Materials, pens and calculators

You will be provided with all necessary materials and equipment. In relation to stationary, you will be provided with a calculator, black ball point pen, writing paper, and a highlighter. You may not use any other equipment.

The legal analysis/attendance note which is completed after the client interview is hand written. Assessment papers are in hard copy format and you may write on these as you see fit. Assessment papers that you are provided with to prepare for the client interview and advocacy assessments can be taken with you to the assessment room.

Personal possessions

Please do not bring personal possessions into the assessments. You should bring only a small bag as storage space is limited. All personal belongings must be put in the secure lockers provided.

Leaving the assessment room during the assessments

You may only leave the assessment room during the scheduled breaks.

Leaving early

You cannot leave the assessment centres until you are instructed to do so at the end of your assessments. Please take this into account when making travel arrangements or other plans for later in the day. If in doubt, you should travel on the day after the end of the SQE2 oral assessments.

Dress code for SQE2 oral assessments

Please wear clothing suitable for a business environment.

You should bring a warm item of clothing (e.g. a scarf) that can be removed easily in the assessment room. You may find the temperature at the assessment centre comfortable, but this gives you the option of making adjustments.

Criminal litigation advocacy assessment

You will be expected to stand to deliver submissions for the criminal litigation advocacy assessment (subject of course to any agreed reasonable adjustments).

Interviewing assessment

You do not need to shake hands with the examiner playing the role of the client.

Clocks

Clocks are provided in the preparation or base rooms and the assessment rooms. Please note that watches are not permitted to be used during the assessments and should be left with your belongings.

Assessment structure

You will have preparation time for each assessment in a preparation room. You will then be escorted to your assessment room by an exam marshal for you to conduct the client interview or oral presentation as appropriate. After you have conducted the client interview, a marshal will escort you to a base room to complete the attendance note/legal analysis. Marshals will indicate how much time you have for each element of the assessment.

Further details on timings and the assessment structure are available in Assessments in SQE2.

Water and refreshments

Water is freely available in the preparation or base rooms.

Light refreshments will be provided during registration and your scheduled break.

You will not have access to your own water or your own refreshments once you have put your belongings away. If you require refreshments for medical reasons please contact us.

SQE2 oral assessments timetabling

Adding an extra group of candidates. We are able to offer more spaces for the SQE2 oral assessments by allocating a number of candidates a later reporting time and asking them to remain in a quiet comfortable area for approximately 2.5 hours after reporting at the test centre. This is so that the security of the questions can be maintained.

Timetabling candidates. You will be randomly allocated your reporting time once the booking window has closed. You will then receive your joining instructions for the oral assessment approximately two weeks before the assessment as usual, and that will state if you will be in this later group. This will apply for both days of your oral assessment. While we understand that some candidates may find this inconvenient, we are adopting this approach to provide opportunities for more candidates to take SQE2. Some candidates may welcome the extra quiet time for revision.

Candidates with a report time of 12:40pm. You will await the assessment briefing under supervision.

During this time you:

  • Register for each day
  • Complete the identification and security checks
  • Can have access to any books, printed material and hard copy notes that you bring to the assessment centre. All other personal belongings, including telephones and other electronic devices, must be deposited as directed by the invigilators upon arrival
  • Can talk to other candidates in the your group.

During the waiting time you are not permitted to:

  • Use electronic devices or have access to mobile telephones, laptops, Bluetooth headphones etc.
  • Leave the area to purchase any food or beverages
  • Leave the assessment centre early and return. If you decide to leave the assessment centre you will not be permitted re-entry.
  • Talk to any other candidates not in your designated group.

Cancellations and reasonable adjustments. The usual terms and conditions and cancellation provisions apply. You will be asked to confirm that you have read the relevant information on the booking page of your candidate account and this information before you can make a booking. If you have a disability or other condition which means that this timetabling in the later group is not appropriate for you, you should apply for a reasonable adjustment as soon as possible. You do not need to wait until a booking window has opened to do so. You can apply immediately.

Refreshments for candidates in the later group. We will provide more information about the arrangements relating to food for this later group of candidates in your joining instructions.

Length of the assessment. The length of the assessment, including briefings, time with the assessors and pre and post oral assessment work, is approximately 2 hours per day however you may be in the assessment centre for between 4.5 to 7 hours (from your report time). This will be confirmed in your joining instructions.

Length of the SQE2 oral assessment day. The assessment day for candidates in the later group will end at approximately 19:30, and you will be asked to arrive at the test centre at around 12:40 pm. If you are in this group, you are required to remain at the test centre for approximately seven hours and can not be released early. There will be no opportunity for you to purchase food during this time. For other candidates, each assessment day is up to 4.5 hours long (from your report time). You must stay at the assessment centre for the entire time, and cannot leave earlier.

Waiting periods. The assessment is approximately two hours long per day but additional time is needed to:

  • maintain the security of the assessments
  • complete registration and security checks
  • move groups between assessment rooms
  • allow a break between the assessments.

Therefore, there may be a period of time where it may seem that you are waiting unnecessarily, but this is for the reasons stated above. Please feel free to speak to a marshal on the day of the assessment if you are unsure as to where you should be or what will happen next in your assessment. If you are scheduled into the later session, you may be required to wait for an extended period (approximately 2.5 hours) before starting your assessment once you have completed the registration, ID validation and security checks. This will be confirmed in your joining instructions.

Further information. If you have any further questions please contact the Candidate Services Team.


What to expect at the assessment centre

SQE2 written

The assessment environment

SQE does not have exclusive occupancy of Pearson VUE centres. You should be aware that rooms may be occupied by candidates who are sitting an assessment of a different length and so may arrive before or after your assessment has started. Some candidates may also have reasonable adjustments and may be finishing their SQE assessment at a different time or may be sitting in a different part of the building.

Therefore you may find the Pearson VUE test centre environment different to what you have encountered before when sitting exams, for example at university or at other educational establishments. You are advised to familiarise yourself with the Pearson VUE setting by watching the short video about the Pearson VUE test centres.

Language and signage

The SQE is an assessment taken in English or Welsh. Please note however that due to the international nature of the assessment, staff at test centres may only speak the local language of that country. Also, any signs will only be in the local language. Therefore, please bear this in mind when considering where to take the SQE.

Nature of the assessment

The SQE is a rigorous professional assessment. It is designed to assure consistent, high standards for all qualifying solicitors and is a key milestone to qualifying as a solicitor of England and Wales. Candidates may not have experienced an assessment of this nature and duration before.

You can therefore expect a different assessment experience to other assessments you have taken. Other candidates may be very focused on their preparation on the day and may not wish to engage in conversation. You should also consider your preparation for the assessments, such as planning carefully your revision time, having appropriate rest before and in between assessments and bringing sufficient refreshments on the day to maintain your energy levels during breaks.

SQE2 oral

The oral assessments are administered by Kaplan SQE directly, and are not held at Pearson VUE centres.

We have some general information about the SQE2 oral venues for candidates.

Every effort is made to provide a quiet environment for all assessments. But assessment centres are sited in city centres, and we have no control over building or traffic noise which may occur outside.

 

Learn more: Further information about SQE2 oral assessment centres


Identification and security

You will need to provide ID and go through security checks before you take your assessments.

Learn more: ID verification

Ready to register for the SQE?

Create your personal SQE account and book your assessments.

Register for SQE 

Have you passed the SQE?

Find out what happens after passing the SQE and admission to the roll of solicitors.

Learn more

Ready to register for the SQE?

Create your personal SQE account and book your assessments.

Register for SQE 

Have you passed the SQE?

Find out what happens after passing the SQE and admission to the roll of solicitors.

Learn more about Have you passed the SQE?