How to pass the LAMDA Acting exam
The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) is one of the oldest drama schools in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1861, LAMDA levels and grades have been refined and developed into a comprehensive performance evaluation system by experts in education, acting and communication. In addition to being the UK's largest statutory speech and drama awarding body, LAMDA grade 8 exams count towards that all-important UCAS points total.
Do I need a LAMDA acting exam to get into a drama degree?
While you do not need a LAMDA exam to get onto a drama degree as admission decisions are taken based on auditions, interviews and UCAS points, having LAMDA behind you can help in auditions, interviews and understanding what admissions want you to demonstrate.
This is because the grade 8 acting exam can help you to develop your vocal, physical, and interpretive skills and delve into characters and explore dramatic texts' background. Plus a grade 8 distinction in a LAMDA exam also gives you nearly the equivalent of an A-Level (30 UCAS points). Merit will give you 27 points and a Pass - 24 points.
How to pass Level 3 grade 8
Learners need to perform three monologues for Grade 8. These scenes must be selected from a published play:
Scene 1: • Ancient Greek and Roman (500 BC - 4 BC) • Elizabethan and Jacobean (1558-1625) • Restoration and Post-Restoration (1626-1799).
Scene 2: • 1800-2000.
Scene 3: • Post-2000.
Scenes from television shows and serials are no longer permitted to be used
In your exam, you will also have to answer questions about your three pieces. Knowledge accounts for 25% of grade 8, so you must research your topics as a few lost marks on knowledge can be the difference between Merit and Distinction!. The difference between a Pass, Merit and Distinction is as follows:
Pass a general description. Merit: a secure description. Distinction: a detailed description of the knowledge.
To help yourself with this section consider each of the three characters: What is each of the character's role within the play's context as a whole? What is their purpose and what do they influence? What does the character represent?
Then consider the historical context: What is the acting style of the time? What are the politics of the time and did this influence the way the character was written? Where was this play likely to be performed?
Finally, consider the writing style: What is the written style of each piece? How does the language, affect your performance? And what is the pace and rhythm of your monologue?
Come well prepared
As well as exploring style, form, character, subtext and context you will also need to have technical skills in voice, diction and movement.
Your knowledge of the performance process will also be assessed, so you also need to study and understand the key principles and influences in the process of acting for one of the following practitioners:
• Constantin Stanislavski
• Bertolt Brecht
• Jerzy Grotowski
• Katie Mitchell
• Antonin Artaud
• Joan Littlewood
Ask for help
Not all schools have LAMDA specialist teachers, and this is where a drama tutor can help. The right LAMDA tutor will not only help with your monologues but the interpretation and analysis of characters within plays. They will also help you to understand the assessment criteria and focus on what areas you need to develop and work on to achieve distinction for the maximum UCAS points.