Are you an incoming student at LSE? Or are you getting ready for summer school at LSE? Whatever the case, I’m sure you have some concerns regarding the dreaded ‘LSE Exams’. I must say before I joined and even after I did, I heard so many stories about how LSE Exams are the worst that in my mind I had many preconceived notions. However, having written five exams this Exam Season (two of which were on the same day, I might add), I’m here to debunk certain myths about LSE Exams and possibly give you tips on preparing for them.

Myth 1: LSE Exams are designed to make you fail

This is false. I remember one of my professors mentioning in his first lecture that at LSE failing is actually hard. He said that you’d have to work extremely hard to actually fail a module. This is because by attending the lectures, being thorough with them before the exam and revising the topics properly, you are putting yourself in a good position to pass. The pass mark for most courses is 50. A mark within 60-69 is considered to be a merit.

Myth 2: It is impossible to get a distinction

This is partially true. It is quite hard to get a distinction (70 and above). This is because, if you look at the explanation given in the scoring matrix, one has to come up with very innovative answers to be awarded a high mark. However, it is not impossible. You can see for yourself by checking out the mean, median, minimum and maximum scores of students who previously took that module. You can put yourself in a good position to score a distinction by being prepared well in advance. Going through past papers and doing some extra reading and research helps as well.

Myth 3: Getting a ‘fail’ in one exam is the end of the degree

Sometimes, the worst could happen and a ‘fail’ mark (below 50) could be awarded. Don’t panic! First, you need to understand that there is a difference between a ‘fail’ and a ‘bad fail’. A ‘bad fail’ is when you receive a mark from 0 to x (where x could be 19, 29 or 39) depending on your course and a ‘fail’ is when you receive x+1 to 49. For example: For taught Masters courses, x is 39 and a ‘fail’ is when you score between 49-39 and below 39 is considered to be a ‘bad fail’. Now that this is clear, note that you will not get your degree only if you ‘fail’ in 2 or more papers or obtain a ‘bad fail’ in one or more papers.

Note: some of the points mentioned here may slightly differ with respect to the course you are pursuing. You can get more information on the LSE website.

Stay calm and good luck!


Janice Rachel Shwetha Jacob

Janice Jacob

Hey there! I'm Janice from Chennai, India. I'm doing my Masters' in management at LSE. My interests include music, cooking and writing. I can answer Harry Potter trivia like a boss, sing Disney songs without needing to look at the lyrics and make the world's best hot chocolate.