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Understanding UCAS Entry Points

UCAS entry points, or tariff points, is a points system which calculates a student’s grades into a final number. Institutions will want to know how many points a student has as it indicates how well they did overall as well as in specific courses.

What are university entry requirements?

Each university or course provider has different requirements they wish their attendees to have. You will find each course will have different entry requirements and they can be a mixture of qualifications, subjects or exam grades.

Do you have to meet the entry requirements?

Although it is best to pass the entry requirements, it is sometimes still possible to attend the university of your choice without them. You can still receive a conditional offer or go through Clearing if you do not get the grades you were predicted.

It’s important to remember not to aim too high when applying for universities, pick courses with entry levels you can achieve for a better chance of receiving offers.

What is the UCAS Tariff Points system?

The UCAS points system takes your AS/A Level or BTEC Level grades and converts them into points. If you receive two B grades and one C grade at A Level they will convert to 280 UCAS points when added together, or a Double Distinction in a BTEC National certificate equates to 240 UCAS points.

Do my AS Levels count?

Generally, AS Levels do count towards your total however it depends on the institution or course itself. Some universities will not accept AS Levels (So be sure to remember that on AS Levels Results Day), so remember to check beforehand to ensure your A-Levels alone will be enough.

Do all universities use the UCAS Tariff system?

Only half of university courses use the UCAS system.

What if my qualification doesn’t attract UCAS Tariff points?

This means that UCAS hasn’t listed it on their conversion table. There is no need to panic as the UCAS system only converts 16 qualifications so there is a chance yours will not be on there. If this is the case then you can contact the university, as they may accept your entry regardless of not having any UCAS points.

If my subject is on the Tariff conversion table this means the university will accept it?

Not all universities accept all qualifications as tariff points. For example, some universities do not accept General Studies A-Levels, and will not count them into your tariff points. This is an individual basis and you can find out which qualifications aren’t accepted by contacting the university.

Are the entry requirements the same across all universities?

No, each university and course have different entry requirements. For example, an English degree at the University of Oxford may require more UCAS points than if you were to take a similar English degree at Royal Holloway in Surrey.

Do universities only use one type of entry requirement?

Some higher education institutions may ask for more than one entry requirement. For example, 280 points may be needed to be accepted onto a course, but you must have received these points from three A-Levels. Some universities may require a more specific amount such as 280 points with 120 coming from a Chemistry A-Level. The university prospectus will let you now the basic entry requirements to attend the university as well as individual course requirements.

Other entry requirements

Some courses have admission tests, interviews or auditions as part of their entry requirements, check the course guide to see the entry requirements of your individual course.

Specific grades

Some courses only accept specific qualifications, subjects or specific grades. If you feel that you may not reach their requirement, contact the course provider or university to see if your application will be considered on a comparable level.

Interviews or auditions

If you were asked to attend an interview or audition remember to check via UCAS track as some universities go through that system. Make sure you are prepared and give yourself enough time whether you need to create a portfolio or practice for an interview.

If you’re looking into your UCAS Entry points, make sure you look at a UCAS Points Calculator and see how you’re doing.