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 UGGA 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 in the first week 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 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.

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 in the first week of March each year.  

The UGAA will be 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 send invitations to sit the UGAA from January. 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.


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
  • accuracy
  • numerical and graphical competence
  • section C: broadly assessed on GCSE syllabus (grades A* to B)
  • section D: broadly assessed on A level syllabus

Section D (see which programmes are required to sit this section)

  • 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 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.

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. 

2019 past papers

UGAA Exam Test 1 2019

UGAA Exam Test 2 2019

2018 past papers

UGAA Exam Test 1 2018

UGAA Exam Test 2 2018

2017 past papers

UGAA Exam Test 1 2017

UGAA Exam Test 2 2017


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).

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