Date of Publication: 14 May 2020
Is the thought of looming university applications on your mind? Or thinking about what you need to think about before picking your A-Levels.
Take a look at our introduction to UCAS points, which answers a lot of the most commonly searched for questions – so you have everything you need to know before you need to start making plans for the future.
What are UCAS points?
According to the official UCAS website;
‘UCAS Tariff points translate your qualifications and grades into a numerical value. Many qualifications (but not all) have a UCAS Tariff value, which will vary dependent on the qualification size, and the grade you achieved.’
Many universities, colleges and conservatoires list a set number of UCAS points in their entry requirements which you should have achieved in order for your application to be eligible to be considered to study there. However, they may also consider other qualifications, so it’s important to always read entry requirements carefully.
How do you get UCAS points?
Students can earn UCAS points by doing AS Level, A-Level exams and IB diplomas, as well as through a few smaller independent qualifications.
You should always check from your course provider whether your qualification will add to your UCAS points or not.
Can you get UCAS points from GCSE?
No, UCAS points cannot be earned from GCSEs, and the majority of students don’t begin to earn UCAS points until they start their post-sixteen study.
If you can’t earn UCAS points from GCSEs, why are they important?
Your GCSE grades will set the benchmark for where to begin searching for university courses. They’ll help to predict what grades you’re likely to achieve during your A-Levels, and so can be helpful in knowing what universities you could consider applying to in the near future, and for which courses.
In addition, your GCSEs will also be important in determining which post-sixteen courses you will be studying and where. Some sixth-form colleges have certain GCSE grade requirements and most A-Level and IB subjects require a minimum GCSE grade in order for you to pursue it in sixth form.
How to find out how many UCAS points you have
We’ve seen lots of people online asking questions like ‘what grades are 300 UCAS points?’ or ‘how many UCAS points is an A*?’
Therefore, we thought we’d pop the official A-Level UCAS tariff points below for you to calculate what grades you have or may need to achieve in order to meet the necessary entry requirements for your chosen course.
A* = 56 UCAS points
A = 48 UCAS points
B = 40 UCAS points
C = 32 UCAS points
D = 24 UCAS points
E = 16 UCAS points
To find out what other qualifications equate to in terms of UCAS points, take a look at UCAS’ official tariff points timetable here. Alternatively, UCAS also has a helpful points calculator which will calculate your points easily for you.
How to get more UCAS points
There are a few ways that you can earn yourself more UCAS points which we’ll share below. However, you should always bear in mind your capacity and what you’ll feasibly be able to do.
Sixth form is a much more in-depth form of studying and will require lots of studying outside of the classroom in order for you to succeed. So, you should always speak with your guidance counsellor, teachers or parents before making any decisions on what extra things you could be doing to earn UCAS points.
Take an additional A-Level
The most obvious route to earn yourself extra UCAS points is to take an additional A-Level.
Most students will study three A-Levels, however it is common for some of the smartest students to take four or even five to increase their UCAS points.
As we said before, you should always consult your school guidance counselor or teachers to talk about whether they think you could handle an additional topic to ensure you don’t struggle with the balancing of work. It’s always better to do well in your three main A-Levels than it is to do badly across four.
Learn to play a musical instrument
If you’re a Grade 6 or above in a certain musical instrument, you can earn extra UCAS points which can be used towards university applications. Additional points range from 5 to 75, and can have a significant impact on your final points balance.
However, some universities will not accept UCAS points awarded from music grading as a way to achieve their entry requirements. Therefore, you should always carefully read the university’s requirements first.
There are a few volunteering qualifications, such as the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) which can be taken alongside your A-Levels or Scottish Highers.
The CoPE in particular can earn you up to 16 UCAS points. Though it’s not a huge amount, the qualification will also help you to develop a range of lifelong skills which will benefit you throughout your future. You’ll study topics such as global awareness, career planning and active citizenship – many of which can be made up by volunteering and making a difference in the community.
If you’re a keen horse rider, then taking qualifications with the British Horse Society can help you earn up to 32 UCAS points per qualification.
These qualifications are designed for those who are looking to pursue an equestrian career, and so not all of universities will accept the UCAS points to use towards their entry requirements. If this is the case, including your equestrian studies as a hobby will be a great talking point on your application and show your passion for extracurricular activities.
Various dance organisations, such as the Royal Academy of Dance will award UCAS points for Grade 6 and upwards in dance – similar to the qualifications for music. If it’s a hobby that you’ve enjoyed doing from a young age, then it’s a great way to also earn extra UCAS points and boost your application.
Though, as we have stated throughout, you should always check with the university course you’re interested in applying to whether they accept these qualified UCAS points as part of their entry requirements.
Looking for more information on applying to university? Take a look at our online Melio Guidance course, where you can receive tailored support from a guidance tutor on how to perfect an application and help you develop key skills for when you arrive at university.