About UCAS Points
UCAS Points (also known as the UCAS Tariff) are a way of measuring the relative value of all post-16 qualifications in the UK.
Points are awarded according to the UCAS Tariff, which assigns a numerical score to the possible grades that be can achieved in each type of qualification. As you would expect, the higher the grade you achieve, the higher the number of points.
Why are UCAS Points important?
Some universities and courses will make offers based on the total number of points that you earn.
According to UCAS, two thirds of university courses don't use the Tariff to advertise course requirements, but for those do, it allows greater flexibility over the grade combination needed to meet the requirements.
For example, while a grade-based offer (e.g. ABB) means a student must acheive a certain combination of grades, an offer based on UCAS Points (e.g. 120) allows a student to use any combination of grades to meet the threshold.
How have UCAS Points changed?
You may have heard that UCAS Points are changing, starting with students applying to university for 2017 entry.
While this is true, there is certainly no need to worry – the changes are minor, and the system is fundamentally very similar to its predecessor. Here's what you need to know:
- The number of points assigned to grades has changed, with the figures becoming much smaller. For example, while an A at A Level used to equal 120 points, it is now worth 48.
- AS Levels are now worth 40% of a full A Level (A2), as opposed to the previous system, in which they were worth 50%.
- Universities have changed their offers to reflect the new tariff. In other words, don't go thinking that your A* is now worth a third of what it used to be – it isn't, and it's still worth the same as before.
The following shows how AS and A Level grades are converted into UCAS Points:
|AS Level||A Level||UCAS Points|
The following shows how Scottish Highers are converted into UCAS Points:
|Scottish Higher||UCAS Points|
The following shows how Scottish Advanced Highers are converted into UCAS Points:
|Scottish Advanced Higher||UCAS Points|
The following shows how the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate is converted into UCAS Points:
|Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate||UCAS Points|
The following shows how the International Baccalaureate is converted into UCAS Points:
|International Baccalaureate||UCAS Points|
Finally, athough there are many different types of BTEC, among the most popular is the Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma. The following shows how this qualification converts into UCAS Points (for a full list of how BTECs convert into UCAS Points, please visit the UCAS website):
|BTEC Level 3 National Diploma||UCAS Points|
Why are the UCAS Points scores in the league tables so high?
The Entry Standards column on our league tables is not a measure of the number of UCAS Points required to get into a university – it is the average of the total number of points held by new undergraduate students at that institution (including any recognised qualifications that students may hold but weren’t needed for entry, such as General Studies A Level, or AS Levels in other subjects).
This method is more telling than simply comparing the average entry requirements, as although two universities may have similar entry requirements, the academic standard of students enrolling may be different.
For example, while Course X at University Y may list grades to the value of 300 points in the entry requirements, many students may exceed this score. The average score of successful applicants to Course X may end up being 380 UCAS Points, but that doesn't change the fact that it only take 300 points to be accepted onto the course.
Also note that, due to the data available to league table publishers such as The Complete University Guide, the new UCAS Points Tariff will not feature in the rankings until 2019. Hence, until then the old UCAS Points Tariff will be used.
For help understanding the Entry Standards figures used in our league tables, the following table shows how A Levels were converted into UCAS Points for students up to and including those who started university in 2016:
|AS Level||A Level||UCAS Points (until 2016)|
- Not all qualifications gain tariff points; this does not necessarily mean that a university will not consider your application.
- Not all universities or courses use tariff points.
- Tariff points only count for the highest level of qualification. This means that the AS score and A2 score for a single subject cannot be combined. The same applies for other types of qualification e.g. Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers.
- Use of tariff points varies between institutions and courses. Some will make offers based on grade and simply reference tariff points, others will make offers based on your tariff point score and students may use any combination of grades to achieve the desired score.
- You must understand the entry requirements for your chosen institution(s) and course(s). If in any doubt, contact the university and ask.
You can find a complete list of tariff tables and more information on the UCAS website.