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Understanding the UCAS Tariff Point Calculator

Understanding the UCAS Tariff Point Calculator main image

By Steph Ryan

The UCAS Tariff Point is used by universities and colleges in the UK to work out the value of your qualifications and compare them to other applicants. This is done by assigning you one easy figure, following calculations using a universal scale.

UCAS points measure the relative value of all post-16 qualifications in the UK, including BTEC and A-Level.

Do all universities use the UCAS Tariff Point System?

Not all institutions use the Tariff Point System. Some universities are quite specific about applicants receiving particular grades in certain subjects. For example, many engineering applicants must have achieved an A* in either maths or physics to be accepted.

However, if you’ve applied to a university or college that does use the system, your application will be treated with much greater flexibility than if it was only being assessed on grades.

For example, rather than having to get BBB in your A-Levels, you can do better in one subject and worse in another, receiving grades of ABC, and still get the same number of UCAS points.

As a result, UCAS points allow for much greater diversity when universities are selecting students for enrolment.

Calculating your UCAS points

Each qualification, for example an A-Level or Scottish Higher, is allocated a size band value from one to four, based on the number of learning hours.

Each qualification is then also allocated a grade band point from three to 14. These two numbers are multiplied together to produce the number of UCAS points.

Here’s a table showing the value of A-Level and BTEC grades.

UCAS Tariff Point Calculator: BTEC & A-Levels

UCAS Tariff Points

BTEC

A-Level

56

Distinction*

A*

48

Distinction

A

40

 

B

32

Merit

C

24

 

D

16

Pass

E

If you want to work out your own UCAS points, there are many online calculators which are easy to use.

How many UCAS points do I need?

You can find out this information on university and college websites. It may also be of interest to look at the average UCAS points of successful applicants.

Whether you receive an offer that is grade based or determined by Tariff Points, it’s important you work as hard as you can to ensure the best grades possible in each of your qualifications. Even if you think you have enough Tariff Points, your university offer might also require a minimum grade in a particular subject so it’s essential you fully understand the conditions of your offer.

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