How Do You Get UCAS Points?

How Do You Get UCAS Points?

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Are you a UK student wondering how to get UCAS points? UCAS points are a measurement of the level and grade of a qualification, assigned a certain number of points on the UCAS Tariff system. They’re commonly used by universities and colleges to set entry requirements for their courses. If you’re at this stage in your university application, you’ve likely got the same question on your mind as many other students: how do you get UCAS points?

Well, we have the answers you’re looking for. From details of how UCAS points are awarded to the ways you can accumulate UCAS points to improve your chances of being accepted into your chosen course, we have top advice for you. So, let’s delve into our comprehensive guide on how to get UCAS points.

What Are UCAS Points?

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) score system was set up by the company to assist universities in comparing the qualifications that people are applying to their institution with. Many qualifications carry a UCAS tariff points value which varies depending on the size of the qualification and the grade you ultimately achieve. The numerical value that is assigned to each qualification and grade allows higher education course providers to understand if you meet the requirements for their courses. However, not all qualifications have a UCAS points value. 

How Do You Get UCAS Points?

As UCAS points score each qualification and grade, you can earn them by completing relevant qualifications. Although A levels are a common qualification that allows students to earn UCAS points, there are several other qualifications that you can study at the same level to earn UCAS points. However, the number of UCAS points you earn will differ between qualifications. 

What Counts As UCAS Points?

two students looking up how do you get ucas points

As mentioned above, there are several qualifications that you can complete to earn UCAS points. Naturally, the traditional way of gaining UCAS points is by completing A levels. However, there are plenty of other courses that will provide you with UCAS points as well. These include BTECs, T levels and International Baccalaureate. 

If you aren’t certain how many points the course you’re currently studying carries, you can check the UCAS tariff calculator. However, not all qualifications appear on the tariff calculator. If this is the case, it doesn’t always mean that your desired university won’t accept it towards your application – you should check with them and find out for certain. 

Alternatively, you may be able to work out your UCAS points amount yourself. Each qualification in the UK has a size band value that falls between 1 – 4 depending on how many hours of learning the course should contain. Also, each one is given a grade band point, which is between 3 – 14. To find out how many UCAS points your qualification is worth, multiply these two figures together. 

How Many UCAS Points Is An A Level Worth?

A (Advanced) and AS (Advanced Subsidiary) level courses can earn you a maximum of 56 points depending on your final grade. So, if your desired university requires more than this amount, you must get the right combination of results to achieve the required amount of points.

View our range of online A level courses to gain more UCAS points

This is many points A and AS levels are worth:

A Level GradeUCAS Points Worth
AS Level GradeUCAS Points Worth

How Many UCAS Points Are Highers Worth?

Highers are the Scottish equivalent to British A levels, and you can complete a Highers qualification and an Advanced Higher qualification. However, you can not combine the Higher and Advanced Higher scores for a single subject.

This is how many points Highers and Advanced Highers are worth:

Highers GradeUCAS Points Worth
Highers GradeUCAS Points Worth

How Many UCAS Points Is A T Level Worth?

T levels are an alternative to A level and BTEC qualifications. They are aimed at school leavers and combine practical knowledge with on the job experience. The results of T levels are equivalent to three A levels.

This is how many points a T level is worth:

Highers GradeUCAS Points Worth
Pass (C or above)96
Pass (D or E)72

How Many UCAS Points Is Welsh Baccalaureate Worth?

A Welsh Baccalaureate is a qualification for high school and college Welsh students that aims to provide a broader experience than regular learning programmes. 

This is how many points a Welsh Baccalaureate is worth:

Welsh Baccalaureate GradeUCAS Points Worth

How Many UCAS Points Is The International Baccalaureate Worth?

Like the Welsh Baccalaureate, the International option is open to everyone. It is currently taught in 143 countries around the world, and is regarded as a suitable alternative to A levels.

This is how many points the International Baccalaureate is worth:

International Baccalaureate GradeUCAS Points Worth

How Many UCAS Points Is A BTEC Worth?

BTEC stands for Business and Technology Education Council, and their diplomas combine practical knowledge with theory content. There are over 2,000 BTEC qualifications available for students to take across 16 sectors. 

This is how many points level 3 BTECs are worth:

BTEC GradeUCAS Points Worth

How Many UCAS Points Do You Need For Uni?

university students working in a library

We already know that the number of UCAS points you will need to enrol in a university depends on a variety of factors. As such, each course will have its own unique set of entry requirements, which usually includes final exam grades, subjects taken, and qualifications earned. However, entry requirement generally include the following: 

  • Post-16 Qualifications: A-levels, AS-levels, Advanced Highers, Certificates, Diplomas and Awards are all converted into UCAS points and used to assess your eligibility for university courses.
  • Pre-16 Qualifications: Most courses also require that you have certain pre-16 qualifications, including GCSE Maths and English, which are essential for many degree programmes.
  • Your Subjects: Uni courses often have prerequisite subjects that you needed to have taken in your A-levels. For instance, if you want to study Medicine, you may be required to have studied Biology and Chemistry at A-level.
  • Exam Results: Your offer will usually be conditional on your grades. Most courses require a minimum grade or UCAS points score to be eligible for admission.
  • An Admissions Test: In rare cases, some courses require you to sit an entrance test, sometimes a year in advance. For example, you may need to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) for medical programmes.
  • An Interview: Some courses want to interview students to ensure that they are a good fit for the programme. This can be a formal or informal interview, depending on the course and university.
  • Additional Checks: Some courses require financial and health checks, or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks, especially if the programme involves working with children, vulnerable adults, or patients. These checks are done to ensure that you are suitable for the role and to protect vulnerable individuals.

Can You Go To University Without UCAS Points?

Whether you can go to university without UCAS points depends on the university that you are applying for. Not every university uses the UCAS system: instead, they only ask for your final grades. However, if your desired university utilises the UCAS points system, then you should earn the required amount of points. 

Read More: Can You Go To University Without A Levels?

How To Get UCAS Points From Home?

Gaining UCAS points from home allows you to complete your goals in your time and at your own pace. Fortunately, there are plenty of online courses that you can complete at home that count towards your UCAS points. These courses cover a wide range of subjects, from language courses to professional qualification, so there will be a subject for you.

Additionally, you can also consider gaining work experience or volunteering in your local community, which can also contribute towards your UCAS points.

How To Get Extra UCAS Points

If you are a few UCAS points away from your goal or want to earn some extra to improve your application, there are several ways you can go about it. So, here’s how to get extra UCAS points in several different ways:

  • Take On An Extra A Level – Completing an extra A level alongside your other subjects and aiming for high grades across the board will help you earn more UCAS points.
  • Complete A Music Instrument Exam – If you play a musical instrument, you can complete graded exams that count towards your UCAS score. However, only exams of Grade 6 and above provide UCAS points.
  • Earn A Level 3 Certificate, Diploma or Award – Completing a certificate or award in your spare time counts towards your UCAS points. You can choose to take on a more manageable qualification over a full A level to help you earn more points. Distance learning courses and evening classes are great ways of earning these extra awards. 
  • Complete Graded Dance Qualifications – As with musical instruments, you can complete graded qualifications in dance. However, like with music exams, UCAS points are only awarded on qualifications of Grade 6 and above. 

Hit Your UCAS Points Target

UCAS points are an essential part of the university admissions process for students. However, now we’ve answered ‘how do you get UCAS points’, we hope we’ve set you on the right track. With the best combination of qualifications and extracurricular experiences, you will be able to build a strong UCAS application and increase your chances of securing a place at your desired university. Good luck!


How can I get UCAS points fast?

To get UCAS points quickly, you can consider the following options:

Gain a qualification in Maths
Gain a Certificate of Proficiency in English
Successfully complete a speech and drama exam
Complete an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
Complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s award
Work Experience
Complete pre-university courses
Take online courses

How are UCAS points awarded?

UCAS points are awarded based on the level and grade of the qualification achieved. Each qualification has a set number of points assigned to it on the UCAS Tariff system. For example, an A-level qualification at grade A is worth 48 UCAS points, while a BTEC Level 3 Diploma is worth 112 UCAS points at Distinction level. The points are then used by universities and colleges to determine entry requirements for their courses, with many courses requiring a certain number of UCAS points as part of their admissions criteria.

Do GCSEs give you UCAS points?

As GCSEs are not included in the UCAS Tariff system, they are not assigned any UCAS points. So, GCSEs do not give you UCAS points. UCAS points are only awarded for higher-level qualifications, like A Levels as A-levels and International Baccalaureate Diplomas. However, GCSEs are still important as they are usually a prerequisite for higher-level qualifications and can be used by universities and colleges to determine eligibility for certain courses.

When applying for University, there are lots of factors to consider and many steps to take when applying. Use a personal statement guide to support you along the way!


UCAS. (2021). Tariff calculator. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from 

UK Government. (2018). Introduction of T-levels. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from 

UCAS. (2021). International Baccalaureate (IB). Retrieved March 29, 2023, from 

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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