UCAS streamlines the admissions process for university and college applications for higher education in the UK. Among its many services it operates a points scoring system to track university entry requirements across the UK and to enable colleges to make comparisons across courses and report trends to government.
Some universities and colleges use UCAS points in their entry requirements, so you may need to know how many points your qualifications are worth. UCAS Tariff points are allocated to qualifications generally studied between the ages of 16 to 18. The points only apply to Level 3 qualifications, not Level 2 qualifications such as GCSEs.
Each higher education course and each college or university has different requirements – usually a mix of qualifications, subject, or exam grades. Only one third of university courses use the Tariff, and most use qualifications and grades. They typically quote entry requirements as a set of A-Level grades (AAB, for example) and subject grades for Diplomas (e.g. DDM for Distinction, Merit, Merit), but if they use the Tariff they may as for an equivalent number of points.
The Tariff changed in 2017 and the new points are much lower than the original Tariff points. For example, an A level grade A* gets 56 points under the new Tariff, whereas before it got 140. The value of the A level remains the same, but universities will just use lower Tariff numbers in their entry requirements than in previous years.
Current Tariff points
The Tariff is a complex system which may be used to calculate scores from all kinds of qualifications studied in the UK. The two tables below show examples for A-Levels and BTEC Level 3 National Diplomas. There are many more qualifications each with its own tariff.
Level 3 Diploma
For further information refer to the UCAS website where there is a helpful points calculator, as well as listings for all the higher education courses available in the country with their respective entry requirements.