LAMDA Exams

Students who attend classes at the Playing Space studio in Southgate take a LAMDA Exam every year, in December. We also teach in-school LAMDA Exam classes.

This page contains some important and useful information about LAMDA Exams:

What is a LAMDA Exam?
Why take LAMDA Exams?
Who could take a LAMDA Exam?
What happens in a LAMDA Exam?
How is a LAMDA Exam marked?
What is LAMDA?
LAMDA Exams at The Playing Space
Accreditation of LAMDA Exams – the QCF
LAMDA Exams and the UCAS Tariff

What is a LAMDA Exam?

A LAMDA Exam is the speech and drama equivalent of a music grade. Like music grades, LAMDA Exams culminate at Grade 8.

LAMDA Exams cover a range of disciplines:

  • Acting
  • Devising Drama
  • Miming
  • Speaking Verse and Prose
  • Reading for Performance
  • Using Spoken English
  • Speaking in Public

Exams can be taken at four levels:

  • Entry Level
  • Level 1 – Grades 1, 2, 3
  • Level 2 – Grades 4 and 5
  • Level 3 – Grades 6, 7 and 8 (Bronze Medal, Silver Medal, Gold Medal)

There are also Introductory Examinations for young performers (5–7 years) who are taking the first steps in memorising, reciting, and communicating.

Why take LAMDA Exams?

Benchmarks

LAMDA Exams offer an ongoing measurement of progress in speech and drama. The gradual progression through the LAMDA grades provides benchmarks for every stage of a student’s development. The LAMDA grades provide a useful underpinning for The Playing Space syllabus and help us to support a steady improvement in self-confidence, vocal and physical technique, and language awareness.

LAMDA Exams are well tailored to the abilities of students of different ages. For a five-year-old, reciting an eight-line poem is an achievement to be celebrated, and for a sixteen-year-old, delivering a Shakespeare soliloquy or giving a speech on a pressing moral or ethical issue issue is equally praiseworthy. LAMDA Exams recognise these achievements, provide a context within which they can be assessed, and reward them with nationally recognised qualifications.

Objectivity

LAMDA examiners have no connection to The Playing Space. Parents and teachers can be assured that a student’s ability as a performer and communicator is being objectively and fairly assessed.

Inclusiveness

LAMDA’s reasonable adjustment policy makes allowances for students with particular education needs, as well as those with English as a second language. This policy enables The Playing Space to promote its own practice of inclusiveness.

Our fees page includes a guide to entry fees for LAMDA Exams.

Who could take a LAMDA Exam?

All kinds of people could benefit from taking LAMDA Exams:

  • Anyone who loves drama and wants to do more
  • Drama students who want to polish their skills, improve stage technique, work with interesting texts and prepare for auditions
  • Those who want to improve their spoken English and work on presentation skills
  • Students who could use drama as a way of gaining extra UCAS points.

What happens in a LAMDA Exam?

A LAMDA Exam comprises two elements. First the candidate or candidates give a performance, which an examiner watches. Then the candidate or candidates have a short discussion with the examiner.

A performance might consist of acted monologues or scenes, a recital of poems and prose pieces or presentations on chosen subjects.

The kind of pieces chosen for performance, the number and length of the pieces, and the nature of the discussion depends on the grade being taken. Some pieces and subjects will be prescribed by LAMDA, and others may be freely chosen by the candidate.

At one end of the scale, a young beginner taking an Introductory Exam recites a short poem of around eight lines and then talks informally to the examiner about a favourite toy. At the other end, a Grade 8 Acting student present three monologues or scenes, at least one of which is classical, and then has a lengthy formal discussion with the examiner about the technicalities of the acting process and acting theory.

How is a LAMDA Exam marked?

The maximum score in a LAMDA Exam is 100. 40 marks are awarded for Interpretation, 40 for Technique and 20 for Knowledge.

The Interpretation mark reflects the candidate’s imaginative engagement with the written word – how well has he or she grasped and communicated

  • the surface message
  • the underlying emotional content?

The Technique mark reflects the candidate’s vocal and physical performance – how well does he or she use the voice and body to

  • engage the listener
  • give a sense of conviction and truthfulness?

The Knowledge mark reflects the candidate’s

  • theoretical understanding of language and/or performance
  • ability to share their ideas in discussion.

Overall marks are awarded as follows:

80+ Distinction
65–79 Merit
50–64 Pass

What is LAMDA?

LAMDA (founded 1861) is the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. It is one of the oldest drama schools in the United Kingdom and has a global reputation for excellence. You can find out more about LAMDA at www.lamda.org.uk

LAMDA began offering speech examinations to the public in the 1880s. These examinations have been refined and developed over the years. They now form a comprehensive system of performance evaluation.

LAMDA’s mission is to improve standards in communication through the spoken word, foster an appreciation of literature and support creative, intellectual and social development.

LAMDA Exams at The Playing Space

Students who attend classes at the Playing Space studio in Southgate take a LAMDA Exam every year, in December. They move up a grade each year. The Playing Space places students roughly as follows:

The Playing Space level
LAMDA level
LAMDA exam
Age
School year
Introductory 1INTRODUCTORYIntroductory5Reception
Introductory 2Preliminary6Year 1
Introductory 3Preparatory7Year 2
Foundation 1ENTRYEntry8Year 3
Foundation 2LEVEL 1Grade 19Year 4
Foundation 3Grade 210Year 5
Intermediate 1Grade 311Year 6
Intermediate 2LEVEL 2Grade 412Year 7
Intermediate 3Grade 513Year 8
Advanced 1LEVEL 3Grade 614Year 9
Advanced 2Grade 715Year 10
Advanced 3Grade 816Year 11

However, this table is only a guide. Students move around according to confidence, experience, or because siblings or friends want to be in the same class. Our goal is to challenge our students without overstretching them. We aim to help them develop and progress at a rate with which they are comfortable. Our small classes enable us to consider the particular needs of every individual student.

Accreditation of LAMDA Exams – the QCF

All LAMDA Exams have official accreditation as part of the national Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). This framework organises qualifications at a range of levels and across a range of disciplines into a single standardised structure. Within this structure, each qualification has a specific value. The idea is that learners can gain qualifications at their own pace and along flexible routes – standardisation means that the value of assorted qualifications can be instantly appreciated by a potential employer or admissions officer.

The QCF arranges qualifications into 8 levels of difficulty. GCSEs (grades A*–C) are at Level 2 and A Levels are at Level 3. A PhD (doctorate) is at Level 8. LAMDA Exam levels are in line with the QCF levels.

The QCF also arranges qualifications into three sizes:

  • Award
  • Certificate
  • Diploma

The size of a qualification is determined not by its difficulty but by how long it takes to complete.

So here is how LAMDA Exams look within the context of the QCF:

QCF Level
LAMDA Level
LAMDA Exam
Size
EntryEntryEntryAward
Level 1Level 1Grade 1Award
Grade 2Award
Grade 3Award
Level 2Level 2Grade 4Award
Grade 5Award
Level 3Level 3Grade 6Certificate
Grade 7Certificate
Grade 8Certificate


LAMDA Exams and the UCAS Tariff

The Level 3 LAMDA Exams (Grades 6, 7, and 8 – the Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal Exams) are further recognised within the UCAS Tariff. The UCAS Tariff is the system for allocating points to qualifications used for entry to higher education. It allows students to use a range of different qualifications to help secure a place on an undergraduate course.

Universities and colleges use the UCAS Tariff to make comparisons between applicants with different qualifications. Tariff points are often used in entry requirements (although other factors are taken into account).

Here is how LAMDA Medal Exams look within the context of the UCAS tariff:

 
LAMDA Grade
 
UCAS Tariff
Equivalent
 
Grade 8Grade 7Grade 6PointsA LevelAS Level
Distinction65
Merit60DA
Distinction55
Merit50B
Pass45
Distinction40EC
PassMerit35
30D
25
Pass20E

For information about LAMDA Exams, see www.lamda.org.uk/exams/