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Applying to Law degrees

If you plan to enter a UCL undergraduate degree in Law, you’ll need to take the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT). Find out how to get onto Law at UCL, the process, its challenges and how we can help.

Applying to a Law degree at UCL or another top UK university is competitive. There are several things to consider before applying:

Routes into Law from the UPCH


Students on the Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for Humanities (UPCH) course have two possible routes to get a Law degree:

Direct progression to undergraduate Law degrees

The majority of UPCH students applying to LLB Law programmes progress directly to an undergraduate degree in Law. Over the past three years, UPCH LLB applicants have gone on to study LLB Law degrees at:

  • UCL
  • King’s College London
  • Durham University
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Manchester
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • SOAS.

Applications to UCL LLB Law are intensely competitive. For more information on applying to an undergraduate programme at the UCL Faculty of Law, please see UCL Law’s frequently-asked questions.

Applying to Law as a graduate student

There are a number of undergraduate courses at UCL that are suitable for students with an interest in Law, and from which they could progress to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

Many UK students study a classic Humanities degree at undergraduate level, such as English or History, before studying Law.

There are some advantages of taking this route. For example, improving your written English skills throughout the course and developing knowledge in your chosen subject. This will prepare you to study Law at postgraduate level.

Recommended pre-SQE undergraduate degrees at UCL include:

  • English
  • International/European Social and Political Studies (I/ESPS)
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Classics
  • Politics, Philosophy and Economics
  • Economics
  • Business, Politics and Sociology.

For further information on becoming a solicitor/lawyer as a non-law graduate, you should research SQE. 

The LNAT exam


What is the LNAT and what’s involved?

LNAT is the Law National Aptitude Test.

The LNAT is a computer-based, written exam for Law students applying to UCL and certain other UK Russell Group universities. The exam takes two hours and fifteen minutes to complete.

It has two sections: a multiple-choice speed-reading section (Section A) and an essay (Section B).

Speed-reading

Section A is multiple choice with 12 reading passages and 42 questions. You have one hour and thirty-five minutes to complete this section. It tests your critical thinking, comprehension skills and your ability to identify specific details in long passages. A ‘good’ score is 25+. (UCL does not read the essay if the score is below 20).

Essay

Section B is one essay from a choice of three. You have 40 minutes to complete this section. It tests your ability to construct coherent arguments – showing clarity, precision of language and sophisticated vocabulary. Your essay can explore topics relating to education, politics, economics, the NHS, social problems or legal issues. You’re not expected to have specific knowledge of Law at this stage.

Applying to universities that require LNAT

There are some challenges in only applying to universities that require the LNAT:

  • You only have three months to prepare, as you need to take the LNAT test by 20 January.
  • You need an advanced level of English. This is particularly important for the essay element of the LNAT. In the essay, you have to demonstrate excellent English and a confident knowledge of contemporary issues and affairs.

Therefore, you should also consider applying to other universities as well.

When does the exam take place?

There are multiple dates for taking this exam. You can take the exam ONCE only, between September and January in the UCAS application cycle. We recommend late December/early January to allow maximum preparation time. It takes place at a test centre near UCL, or online (depending on Covid restrictions).

If successful in the UPC Oxbridge selection process, you must sit the LNAT exam by the 15th October deadline in UPC Term 1, given the early UCAS application deadline for Oxford University.

LNAT preparation classes on the UPCH


All UPCH Law applicants will take the compulsory eight-week online summer programme (between July-September, before arrival in London). You’ll have a weekly two-hour online personal tutorial. In addition, each week you'll have practice exercises in speed-reading and one essay to complete for which you’ll receive written feedback.

On arrival in London, in Term One, you'll have a weekly (two-hour) LNAT preparation class. You will also have time reading practice and a weekly essay to submit. 

Attendance of this class is compulsory. Commitment to, and successful completion of the LNAT preparation class will be specifically mentioned in your UCAS reference. Your dedicated tutor will assist you in preparing a UCAS personal statement focusing on Law.

Why do we offer preparation support for this exam?

Speed is essential in the LNAT exam. You won’t have tackled 12 complex reading passages and 42 questions in 95 minutes before. Therefore, preparation is vital for a successful result.

You'll need plenty of practice to build up your reading speed and learn effective strategies. We recommend studying the typical question types and how to analyse arguments quickly and effectively.

You'll receive up-to-date information on recurring LNAT essay topics as well as detailed feedback on your weekly essays.

How do I sign up?

If we accept you on the UPCH course with a view to studying Law, we’ll automatically enrol you in the LNAT summer preparation course and dedicated class.

Other challenges of applying to Law


There are other challenges to tackle to get a Law degree. As well as taking the LNAT, you’ll have to demonstrate academic excellence in several areas:

An advanced level of English

You must show that your command of the English language, both spoken and written, meets the demands of the degree programme. UCL LLB demands that applicants demonstrate an advanced level of English. This means having an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall grade of 7.5, with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

An interest in ideas, contemporary affairs, philosophical, political and social issues

Successful applicants to the Law undergraduate programmes need to show evidence of relevant interests. We won’t assess your knowledge of the Law at this stage. Instead, you'll need to demonstrate that you’re able to reason about abstract topics and discuss current affairs. Therefore, you must be up to date with and understand recent political and social issues.

Relevant previous experience (both personal and through work experience or volunteering)

UCL Law has a very active student community. We might take your general achievements into account when considering your potential contribution to the extra-curricular life of the faculty and UCL overall. These include any activities that have broadened your general education, such as music, travel or sports. We’ll also look at evidence of teamwork, leadership and communication skills.

Excellent marks in your past school(s) and predicted and final UPCH grades

UCL Law will consider you if you have excellent marks in high school or high predicted UPCH grades when you apply (A/A*). UCL Law will also consider you for entry to the following year’s undergraduate course if you’re awarded the UPCH certificate with all the following marks:

  • an overall mark of 70%
  • 76% (A*) in one subject subject
  • 70% (A) in a second subject subject.