UCAS Tariff Points – How It All Works

UCAS Tariff Points

The UCAS tariff point system is basically a way of giving students a little more flexibility when working towards a university application. The thing is, occasionally people tend to do a little worse than they were expecting in one area, and a little better in another. We all know the deal – a bad exam here and a good one there. There’s not much else to say on the subject. The tariff point system is a way of averaging this out.

The best way to explain this is to picture a 280 point offer from a university. About 20 years ago this would be equivalent to a BBC grade at A Level, which would have been the one advertised. Under the UCAS system, though, you’re allowed a bit more flexibility. You could get an DMM in your BTECs, for example, or even an A*CD at A Level. So if you do well in one subject and badly somewhere else, you’ve still got a shot at university.

Under the UCAS system you’re allowed a bit more flexibility. If you do well in one subject and badly somewhere else, you’ve still got a shot at university.

The thing to remember about this grading system is that, although it’s very useful, not every university will use it and you can’t rely on it as much as you’d like. Some conditional offers have caveats attached to them – you have to get a certain grade in your chosen subject of study (fair enough), or you need a minimum of Cs in at least three subjects. That kind of stuff. The point is that you’ll have to pay attention to exactly what every university is offering you, and be sure not to make any assumptions. Some Universities will only be interested in students who have completed A Levels, BTEC’s or the International Baccalaureate, even though you could use music examinations to give you UCAS tariff points.

Of course, trying to play the system by using things like UCAS tariffs is only going to go badly – just do as well as you can do in all of your exams and hope for the best in each. That’s really the right way to do your A levels. Attempting anything else is just asking for trouble. Do your best, work hard, and all will go well*.

You can get UCAS points from a handful of other qualifications, too, which can be very useful – things like musical grades and key skills and various other bits and pieces can be worth some points, so make sure to check if you have any certificates or extra grades tucked away somewhere that could be converted into points. Mostly, though, it will be your grades achieved at school or college that will earn the points. How many points is shown in our table, below:

A2 Double Award A2 Level AS Double Award AS Level IB Diploma Points BTEC Extended Diploma BTEC Diploma BTEC 90 credit Diploma BTEC Subsidiary Diploma BTEC Certificate Tariff points

45

720

44

698

43

676

42

654

41

632

40

611

39

589

38

567

37

545

36

523

35

501

34

479

33

457

32

435

D*D*D*

420

31

413

D*D*D

400

30

392

D*DD

380

29

370

DDD

360

28

348

27

326

DDM

320

26

304

25

282

A*A*

DMM

D*D*

280

A*A

24

D*D

260

AA

MMM

DD

240

AB

220

D*D*

210

BB

MMP

DM

D*D

200

BC

DD

180

CC

MPP

MM

DM

160

CD

A*

D*

140

DD

A

AA

PPP

MP

MM

D

120

AB

110

DE

B

BB

MP

100

BC

90

EE

C

CC

PP

M

80

CD

D*

70

D

DD

A

PP

D

60

DE

B

50

E

EE

C

P

M

40

D

30

E

P

20

It’s easy to see just how much your grades matter here (of course), whether they’re in UCAS point or traditional grades format. However you swing it and however they’re represented, the best thing for you to do is stop worrying about the possible permutations and get back to work in achieving the best possible grades – that’s how you’re going to get into university, not by knowing about UCAS points.

*We hope.