The UGAA gives Admissions Selectors the opportunity to see a sample of an applicant's original work, produced under examination conditions, and seeks to assess applicants from a variety of backgrounds in a fair and equitable manner.
The assessment is three hours long and will consist of English sections and a Mathematics section. It is designed to test your written and numerical skills. The assessment has three sections: comprehension exercises (Section A); essay questions (Section B); mathematical problems (Section C or D). It is not an assessment of general knowledge.
If you apply for a programme at LSE which has a mathematics requirement, we would ask you to complete Test 1. If your programme does not have a mathematics requirement, you would be asked to sit Test 2.
See which test is required for your programme.
UG Admissions Assessment Handbook 2019 *Please note that the Tower buildings referenced in this handbook have been renamed as follows:
Tower 1 (TW1) is now Pankhurst House (PAN)
Tower 2 (TW2) is now Fawcett House (FAW)
Tower 3 (TW3) is now Pethick-Lawrence House (PEL)
LSE requires students studying certain qualifications to complete the UGAA before a final decision can be made on their application. There are a number of reasons why further assessment is needed for students from these educational backgrounds, some of which include:
- the qualification contains few formal examinations – as the majority of assessment at LSE is by exam we need to see how you perform under examination conditions
- the qualification is not standardised – grades can vary from school to school so we would like an independent assessment of your skills
- we are uncertain whether your curriculum offers full coverage of required subject material, especially mathematics
- the qualification is relatively new or recently reformed, or we have not had many applicants with that qualification before. The UGAA gives us an independent measure of how well the qualification prepares students for study at LSE
- you have taken a break from study or followed a non-standard educational pathway
Only the most competitive students with these qualifications are invited to sit the assessment. Applicants cannot request to sit the assessment. Invitations will be sent from January.
Applicants applying for LLB Laws (M100) will not be asked to sit the UGAA. Instead, the essay section of the LNAT will be assessed. Undergraduate Admissions will be in contact with these students from January if the academic selector wishes to assess the LNAT essay as part of their application.
The UGAA is usually held in the first week of March each year and may be taken either at LSE or at any approved examination centre in the UK or abroad. The assessment date for 2020 is Tuesday 3 March 2020. We do not host multiple assessment days, nor can we move the date of the assessment under any circumstances. This is due to the strict time constraints which govern our admissions procedures.
We usually suggest European and international candidates sit the assessment at their school, if they are agreeable. Alternatively, you can enquire with your local British Council as to whether they offer invigilation services.
In previous years we are aware that students studying the CBSE/ISC qualification in India have their exam period during March. Students are expected to make every effort to appear for our assessment, even if they have other exams that day. Specific concerns regarding this matter should be sent to the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
The Undergraduate Admissions Office will send invitations to sit the UGAA from January. Replies must be made promptly to ensure arrangements can be made. The final deadline for response will be stipulated on your invitation. If we have not received a response by the stated deadline, you will no longer be eligible to sit the assessment. Please note the UGAA is a compulsory requirement for all students who are invited. We are unable to further consider students who decide not to sit the assessment, as their application will be considered incomplete.
Applicants taking the assessment at a centre other than LSE should note that the official details of the invigilating centre and representitive must be provided. Failure to do so could mean that the School is unable to proceed with arrangements for the examination.
The criteria below provide a rough guide as to what the Admissions Selector is looking for from candidates. These elements will be taken into consideration alongside your overall mark and UCAS application form.
Students should be able to identify the key points and arguments outlined in the text provided. A word count will be provided in the assessment paper.
- clarity and precision
- competent use of vocabulary and good use of English (to demonstrate understanding of context)
- word limit NOT exceeded
- 'spirit' of text to remain unchanged (ie, no re-interpretation, additional comment or editorialising)
- majority (minimum of 75 per cent) of prose to be in students' own words
We are looking for an original essay, which has an interesting opening, is interesting to read and not formulaic. There is no word count for this component.
- appropriate use of English including clarity, accurate syntax, spelling and punctuation
- evidence of a sophisticated vocabulary
- a logical structure, ie, in paragraphs with each paragraph raising a different point and with an introduction and clear conclusion
- relevance, ie, only answering the question that has been set
- a well developed and reasoned argument
- ability to present alternative views and assess them
- relevant examples
- ability to provide evidence from a range of sources to support argument (multi-disciplinary approach)
Mathematics (for all candidates)
- ability to manipulate, interpret and analyse data
- select and apply appropriate mathematical techniques to solve problems
- evidence of logical reasoning
- numerical and graphical competence
- section C: broadly assessed on GCSE syllabus (grades A* to B)
- section D: broadly assessed on A level syllabus
- knowledge of the key techniques of differential and integral calculus of a single variable
- an understanding of the meanings of the key concepts in calculus (in particular, the derivative and integral)
- an ability to apply these to solve problems requiring an element of mathematical modelling proficiency in algebra and algebraic manipulation
- competence in using algebra and calculus to solve unfamiliar problems (rather than routine problems)
The UGAA does not require any specific preparation; it is designed to test generic skills that should be covered in your current programme of study. We make past papers available so that students can see the level of English and Mathematics that is expected (see below). Note that past papers should be used as a guide for the level of the test, not the exact format of the forthcoming assessment. However, if you are concerned about a particular part of the UGAA and would like to undertake some preparation, our Admissions Selectors have made some suggestions.
- read articles from a quality newspaper and discuss the key points with a friend or teacher (in English, if this is not your mother tongue)
- practice one or two past essay questions under timed conditions
- section C Mathematics: re-visit your mathematics abilities by using websites such as BBC GCSE Bitesize or National Numeracy Challenge
- section D Mathematics: broadly set at A level Mathematics standard. Most of this should have been covered by your school, but you may find the Further Mathematics Support Programme or Bright Knowledge useful if you wish to practice.
The UGAA has a notional pass mark of 60 per cent, including at least 50 per cent in each section. Students applying to programmes with higher entry requirements will usually be expected to achieve more competitive grades. Results are reviewed in comparison to other similar applicants for your programme, and therefore passing the UGAA does not guarantee an offer will be made.
The Admissions Selector’s final decision is based not only on your test performance, but also on a holistic assessment of your overall application. This includes a full range of information on the UCAS application form (ie, predicted/achieved grades, personal statement, and reference).
We are unable to provide mark schemes for many of our mathematics past papers. However, please find copies of the marking schemes from the most recent papers below:
Marking scheme for Mathematics (Section D)
Marking scheme for the English section