HOW UCAS POINTS WORK


You are going to need a certain number of UCAS tariff points to get into university, but what are they? How do you get them? What can you do with them?


You must have heard of UCAS points when you were looking through the prospectus, seeing what courses you want to apply for. Some of them are going to talk about grades, some of them are going to talk about points, and some of them are going to talk about a combination of the two. You can get UCAS points from a range of different things. You can get them through A-levels, AS levels, the Extended Project Qualification, Scottish Highers, Scottish Advanced Highers, Scottish Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International Pre-U Diploma, Cambridge Technicals, or the Welsh Baccalaureate International Diploma. I'm not going to go into every single one here because the UCAS guide on this is 170 pages long. It is thoroughly comprehensive. The reason they've moved towards points instead of just grades is to level the playing field for people that are coming in who haven't done A-Levels, who are coming through a somewhat non-traditional route. So that it's easy for universities to see and compare somebody that has A-levels, somebody that has NVQs, and somebody has an International Baccalaureate.


Your offer might say you need 112 points. It might mean you need 112 points from three A-Levels. It might say you need 112 points from at least two A-Levels. You need to be careful when you're applying when you get your offer, that you understand it correctly. The point system cannot be played, okay. You can't just do seven AS levels, get your 112 points, and think that you didn't, you manage to get around not doing full A-Levels. It doesn't work like that. AS levels you only get about 40% of the points that you get for whole A-Level.


A-Levels and Highers



Grade



A-Level



AS-Level



EPQ



Advanced Highers



Highers



A*



56





28







A



48



20



24



56



33



B



40



16



20



48



27



C



32



12



16



40



21



D



24



10



12



32



15



E



10



6



8







International Baccalaureate - IBO Certificate



Grade



Higher Level



Grade



Standard Level



Grade



Extended Essay



H7



56



S7



28



A



12



H6



48



S6



24



B



10



H5



32



S5



16



C



8



H4



24



S4



12



D



6



H3



12



S3



6



E



4



H2



0



S2



0







H1



0



S1



0







AP (Advanced Placement) exams



Grade



Points



5



28



4



24



3



20



2



16



1



12



Gaokao



Grade



Points



Top tier



64



Second tier



48



Third tier



40



The UCAS guide covers GNVQs, all kinds of baccalaureates, YMCA qualifications, loads and loads of other qualifications you wouldn't necessarily have thought of. 



What to do after you have accepted your offer


The UCAS process is an incredibly long one, and I'm afraid it doesn't stop after you've accepted your offers. Once you've made your decision, but before you actually know your A-Level results, so before you definitely know where you're going, you still have more decisions to make. You still have more forms to fill in, you still have more things to do.


There are two important things that everybody needs to take into consideration. You need to apply for your student finance. If you want your student finance to be in place by the time you start university, this needs to be done by the end of May. Before you can apply for your student finance, you need to have made the decision and accepted a firm place. And this is what you put in on your student finance form.


Secondly, with the university, you need to think about your accommodation. You need to think about the location of the accommodation, whether it's going to be catered, self-catered, whether you're going to have en-suites, or whether you're going to have a shared bathroom, whether it's going to be a small flat with maybe only a couple of bedrooms, or whether it's going to be a big house. There were 13 people in the house that I lived in at university. You need to think about whether it's going to be for term time only, or whether you can stay there and leave your stuff there over the holidays. So even though you're paying for the time in the accommodation that you're not actually using, you don't have to move out and move back in again over Christmas, Easter, and potentially even reading week.


If there are any additional things that you are going to need to be supported with at university, now is also the time to apply for them. Make sure that you've got everything in place. That when you turn up for fresher’s week in September or October, you are ready and raring to go, and you're not held back by having to fill in loads of forms or waiting for a support cheque to come through or waiting for accommodation allowance to be put in place.


If you're an international student, you will also need to get on with applying for visas.


Well done on accepting your place, good luck with your exams that are coming up soon, but I'm afraid we still have loads and loads of things to do.