If you aren’t familiar with them, UCAS Tariff Points can be a little confusing. But basically, they’re an easy way for universities to work out what your qualifications are worth in a simple, straightforward figure.
Not every university uses UCAS Tariff Points to assess your results, but for those that do, we’ll clear up some key questions to help you out.
Join us as we take a closer look at what UCAS Tariff Points are, how they’re used, how many points your qualifications are worth, and what you may need if you’ve got your sights set on higher education in the near future.
- What are UCAS Tariff Points?
- How do UCAS Tariff Points Work?
- How Many UCAS Tariff Points do I Have?
- Why Don’t All Universities Use UCAS Tariff Point Requirements?
- Why Has the UCAS Tariff Point System Changed?
- What Else Do I Need to Consider?
- Where Can I Get UCAS Tariff Points?
Under the UCAS Tariff Points system, the qualifications and grades you have – whether they’re A-levels, BTECs, International Baccalaureates or Welsh Baccalaureates – are translated to a numerical value.
Many qualifications (but not all) have a UCAS Tariff value that varies depending on things like qualification size and the grade you achieved. It’s the numerical value assigned to each qualification or grade that higher education course providers use to see if you meet the entry requirements for a certain course.
Each qualification (e.g., A-level or Scottish Higher) is allocated a size band value from 1-4 based on the number of learning hours on the course. They’ll also be assigned a grade band point from 3 to 14.
So, to work out the number of UCAS Tariff Points your qualifications are worth, you just need to multiply the two together: Size x grade = Tariff points.
Or to make things easier, you can use one of our handy reference tables below.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma itself does not attract UCAS points, but the components which make it up do. To achieve the IB Diploma, you have to pass each component and achieve a total IB point score of 24 or more.
You might see course listings that don’t mention UCAS Tariff requirements and instead just list grades. It doesn’t make any difference; one way isn’t easier, harder or more prestigious than the other, it’s simply a different calculation.
Students of a certain vintage may remember the UCAS Tariff being a little different. If you’re thinking “hang on a sec…” then you’d be right; the old system made way for the new Tariff, which was implemented for students applying to university courses that started in 2017.
This was done for a few different reasons:
- First of all, the old system never considered BTECs. After an increase in students taking vocational qualifications, the new Tariff system started including them.
- And secondly, some general clarification was in order. The old system was just a little bit unclear on how points were allocated in the first place.
How else does it differ? Well, for one thing, it isn’t any easier or harder to get into your university of choice. The new system is more a matter of calculating and attributing value to your UCAS points.
Under the old Tariff, things looked a little like this:
- An offer of 3As at A-level came to 360 UCAS points (one A at A-level was 120 points)
But under the new Tariff, things look more like this:
- The same offer of 3 As equates to 144 points (one A now equals 48 points).
It’s important to understand the entry requirements for the course or university you want to attend, so keep the following things in mind before applying:
- Even if a qualification doesn’t net you any UCAS Tariff Points, it doesn’t mean a university won’t take note. They’ll still look upon any qualifications favourably and consider it an important part of your application.
- Although the university or course you have your heart set on may use grades to determine its offers, they do keep a tally of numbers and report them for government data and league table purposes.
- Unfortunately, it’s not possible to combine the points gained from an AS score and A2 score in the same subject. You’ll only gain the points from your highest level of qualification.
If the entry requirements for your course and university are still confusing, then you should get in touch with the registrar’s offices as soon as possible.
If it’s been a long time since you’ve been in education or you weren’t as passionate about academia back then, then there’s a chance you might not have enough UCAS points to study at an institute of higher education right now.
And that’s perfectly fine, people change. The great news is there are plenty of different ways you can earn UCAS points and get yourself closer to your goal of studying for that dream degree, including:
- Distance learning qualifications: There are all sorts of courses you can study from home to give your UCAS points tally a boost. In fact, you’re probably on the Oxbridge site right now for that very reason. And, we offer plenty of qualifications that are fully accredited – the only difference is you’ll be studying and completing your course in your own time, at your own pace.
- Score points from volunteering: Educational charity ASDAN offers a few different community-based courses that can beef up your UCAS points through volunteer work. For example, their Certificate of Personal Effectiveness will bag you a host of personal attributes and 16 UCAS points over 150 hours (compared to 360 hours for an A-level). Elsewhere, you could garner a total of 18 points from their three different Wider Skills courses: Improving Your Own Learning and Performance, Working with Others, and Problem Solving.
- Have your musical talents assessed: If you’re already a dab hand at your instrument of choice, then you can always get graded on your music skills. If you’ve yet to be examined and are above a grade 6, you can turn your talents into all-important UCAS points through private music tutors in just a matter of weeks.
- Get graded on your speech and drama skills: If you have trodden the boards in the past, then it could be worth honing your dramatic prowess. Earning a distinction at Grade 8 will get you up to 30 points, while the LAMDA Level 3 Certificate in Speech & Drama: Performance Studies will get you 24 points as well as a host of acting skills that could open up all sorts of new opportunities.
- Master your mother tongue: For those with an impressive command of the English language, the Certificate of Proficiency in English can earn you 32 UCAS points. You’ll be assessed on reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities, and it’s a great way of developing skills that will come in useful at uni, whether it’s writing essays or delivering spoken presentations.
The Certificate in Advanced English, meanwhile, can net you 42 points at an A-grade too – well worth taking if your knowledge of the Queen’s is of an exceptional standard.
We hope this guide helps clear up any confusion you have about the UCAS Tariff Points System. Whatever your goals and aspirations, our distance learning courses could help get you there. For more information or to browse our complete range of courses, visit the homepage or call our experienced learning advisers on 0121 630 3000.