It's important to be aware that not all qualifications attract a Ucas point score and, in the majority of cases, only the top level of achievement is counted.
It’s worth checking all qualifications you are completing on the new Ucas tariff calculator. Only level 3 qualifications are on the tariff, but this does include qualifications such as graded music qualifications from grades 6-8, as some will gain you extra tariff points.
Since the scope of qualifications that attract Ucas points is vast - think horse care, functional skills and hairdressing - it is worth cross checking with Ucas' comprehensive list to make sure you know exactly what your score is and if you could qualify for any additional points.
So what's new?
According to Margaret Farragher, Ucas’ head of policy and qualifications, for most people, the new points shouldn’t make any difference to their university applications:
- We changed the tariff to make it fairer and to include a wider range of qualifications taken by students applying to higher education. The new tariff comes into effect for higher education courses starting in September 2017
- The main thing about the new tariff is that all the numbers are much lower than the old tariff as a completely different scale has been used. For example, an A-level grade A* gets 56 points in comparison with 140 previously. But the ‘value’ of the most popular qualifications - including academic and vocational - is exactly the same.
- One key change is that the AS qualification has been repositioned to 40 per cent of an A Level, rather than 50 per cent. This is in line with statements made by the UK qualification regulators. While the decoupled AS no longer counts as a ‘stepping stone’ to a full A-level in England, it continues to be the first stage of an A level in Wales and Northern Ireland, contributing 40 per cent of the overall marks.
- Only level 3 regulated qualifications can come onto the new tariff as these are designed to ensure they support progression to higher education. However, not all universities accept all qualifications - it depends on whether a qualification is right for their course
- Just because a qualification is on the tariff, it doesn't mean a university or college will accept it for entry to their courses. Equally, if a qualification is not on the tariff, it may still be accepted by a university if it’s relevant. It's essential to check the course entry requirements and speak to university admissions staff, if necessary.
To quickly review your A-level point score online, check out the Ucas tariff calculator. Below is a basic outline for A-levels and the International Baccalaureate.
A-level and A/S exams
A* = 56
A = 48
B = 40
C = 32
D = 24
E = 16
A = 20
B = 16
C = 12
D = 10
E = 6
International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)
Tariff points for the IB are calculated by adding together the points for each of its separate parts.
Certificate in Higher Level
H7 = 56
H6 = 48
H5 = 32
H4 = 24
H3 = 12
H2 = 0
H1 = 0
Certificate in Standard Level
S7 = 28
S6 = 24
S5 = 16
S4 = 12
S3 = 6
S2 = 0
S1 = 0
A = 12
B = 10
C = 8
D = 6
E = 4
Theory of knowledge
A = 12
B = 10
C = 8
D = 6
E = 4
To get evidence of your ability to sustain concentrated and progressive study, we normally ask for completion of three subjects to be taken to A level.
Our typical offer range is AAA-BBB. We consider all aspects of your application when making a decision, so if you fall outside this range we may still be able to make you an offer in some cases.
If you have completed an AS qualification before application we will normally wish to see a good level of achievement in it as evidence of your general ability and – where it is relevant to your application – of your subject competence.
If you have found it impossible to study a normal load of AS/A level subjects then your application will be considered and you may still be made the offer of a place, although it may depend on the level of competition for places and the reasons for your situation.
We consider the following circumstances on a case by case basis, depending on the course you're applying to and the information supplied in your application:
- A levels taken over three years
- Modern foreign language A levels taken by native speakers
- General Studies and Critical Thinking A levels
Other UK qualifications
Other UK qualifications considered by us include, but are not limited to, the following:
Access to Higher Education Diploma
Our typical offer would be between:
- Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 21 credits at Distinction and 24 credits at Merit or higher; and
- Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 39 credits at Distinction and 6 credits at Merit or higher
We will consider this qualification alongside A Levels, as equivalent to one A Level. You would need to pass the qualification with a grade A-B in the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.
Depending on the BTEC qualification taken we will consider them as equivalent to up to three A Levels, we may ask for an additional A Level subject.
We may require the BTEC to be in a specific subject, this is determined by the department and their typical entry requirements. Some departments will require the specific subject to be from an A Level qualification instead of the BTEC. You should check with the relevant department if this is the case.
We consider the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma if you are taking three Principal Subjects with grades ranging from D3, D3, D3 to M2, M2, M2.
We would also consider a Cambridge Pre-U Certificate in a Principal Subject in conjunction with other A Level subjects.
Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers
Most departments will require you to be taking at least 2 Advanced Highers on top of their 5 Highers, although some departments will accept 5 Highers on their own for entry onto their programmes.
Typical entry ranges from AABBB at Higher to AA at Advanced Higher.
Extended Project Qualification
The University recognises the benefits of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. The Extended Project is not a compulsory element of post-16 study and as a result, the University will not include it in the conditions of any offer made to you. However, if you choose to undertake the EPQ we would strongly encourage you to draw upon this experience within your personal statement as it may be taken into account when we consider your application.
The EPQ can also contribute to the requirements of the Realising Opportunities scheme aimed at helping students from underrepresented groups.
Open University courses
We consider modules worth 60 credits or more on a case-by-case basis.
We also consider:
- Advanced Diplomas
- OCR National qualifications
- OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical qualifications
- Higher National Certificates
- Higher National Diplomas