Undergraduate Admissions Assessment

The Undergraduate Admissions Assessment (UGAA) is used to fairly assess applicants from non-traditional educational backgrounds.

The School appoints examiners to prepare the UG Admissions Assessment (UGAA), designed to test literacy and numeracy. The UGAA is conducted as an online examination.

The purpose of the Undergraduate Admissions Assessment

The Undergraduate Admissions Assessment is used in order to fairly assess applicants from non-traditional educational backgrounds. It provides an opportunity to see a sample of the applicant’s original work, produced under examination conditions, and seeks to assess applicants from a variety of backgrounds in a fair and equitable manner.

There are several reasons why applicants should be tested in this way:

  • the applicant has no recent (i.e. within three years of the proposed programme start date) or relevant record of study and examination
  • the applicant is on a Foundation or Access course
  • the applicant’s qualifications are acceptable but only in conjunction with the UGAA.

Key dates

Applicants who are required to sit the Undergraduate Admissions Assessment will be advised of this in advance.

The Undergraduate Admissions Assessment usually takes place at the end of March. 

Applicants who are required to sit the UGAA will be contacted by the Undergraduate Admissions team as soon as the details have been finalised. 

What is the UGAA?

The assessment is three hours long and will consist of an English section and a Mathematics section. It is designed to test your written and numerical skills. The assessment has two sections: an essay question (Section A); and mathematical problems (Section B or Section C)It is not an assessment of general knowledge.

Section B is for non quantitative programmes without a Maths requirement. Section C is for quantitative programmes with a Maths requirement. You will be assigned the appropriate Maths paper on this basis (Section B or Section C).

Who sits the UGAA?

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 exam based, 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. 

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 if the academic selector wishes to assess the LNAT essay as part of their application.

When and where is the UGAA?

The UGAA is usually held at the end of March each year.  

The UGAA is conducted as an online examination.

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.

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 Undergraduate Admissions


The Undergraduate Admissions Office usually sends invitations to sit the UGAA in early March. Applicants who are required to sit the Undergraduate Admissions Assessment will be contacted by the Undergraduate Admissions team as soon as the details have been finalised. 

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. Assessors will inform candidates that should they decide not to sit the UGAA, their application will be unsuccessful.

Criteria for assessment

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.


We are looking for an essay that:

  • answers the essay question clearly and thoughtfully
  • shows an ability to present alternative views and assess them
  • contains a well-developed and reasoned argument supported by evidence
  • incorporates information from the source texts critically, analytically and selectively
  • summarises and paraphrases the source texts accurately and appropriately  
  • has a logical structure including an effective introduction, conclusion and paragraphs
  • makes appropriate use of English including language style, clarity and accuracy
  • is at least 500 words long

Mathematics (for all candidates)

  • ability to manipulate, interpret and analyse data
  • select and apply appropriate mathematical techniques to solve problems
  • evidence of logical reasoning
  • accuracy
  • numerical and graphical competence
  • section B: broadly assessed on GCSE syllabus (grades A* to B)
  • section C: broadly assessed on A level syllabus

Section C

  • 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)

How do I revise?

The UGAA does not require any specific preparation; it is designed to test general 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 B Mathematics: re-visit your mathematics abilities by using websites such as BBC GCSE Bitesize or National Numeracy Challenge
  • section C 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.

Past papers

Below you can find previous papers to help you understand what was expected of students in previous years. However, assessment is reviewed on a yearly basis and therefore these should only be used as a guide to the level of testing not the specific format. 

2021 past papers

UGAA English Paper

UGAA Maths (Non Quantitative) Paper C

UGAA Maths (Quantitative) Paper D

2020 past papers

UGAA Exam Test 1 2020

UGAA Exam Test 2 2020

2019 past papers

UGAA Exam Test 1 2019

UGAA Exam Test 2 2019


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 (i.e. predicted/achieved grades, contextual information, personal statement, and UCAS reference).