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New Ucas Tariff: everything you need to know

The Ucas Tariff points system, which universities use to communicate their entry requirements, is undergoing some changes you should know about...

Why the new Ucas Tariff?

There are a couple of reasons. One is the increase in students taking vocational qualifications like BTECs, something which the current system doesn’t quite take into consideration.

Also, it's all a bit fuzzy as to how points are allocated in the first place. 

All in all, it’s hoped that the new system will be simpler, fairer and more efficient.

Don't worry, it's not all change

According to Ucas, it will be a case of business as usual for the most part when it comes to Ucas points and admissions: 

All qualifications that are currently on the UCAS Tariff will continue to attract points under the new system. New UCAS Tariff points should not have any impact on students' decisions on qualification choices at school or college, or their preparation for higher education. The change to new UCAS Tariff points will not in itself change entry requirements for university and college courses. Carys Fisher, Ucas Policy Executive
So good news, you shouldn't notice much of a disruption.

How is the new Tariff different?

A new Tariff doesn't mean it's any easier or harder to get into university. It's more to do with the way Ucas points are calculated and attributed value. In fact, it's all a bit less intimidating now.

For example, under the old tariff, an offer of 3 As at A-level equated to 360 Ucas points (one A at A-level was 120 points). Under the new Tariff, this same offer of 3 As equates to 144 points because one A now equals 48 points. Much more manageable and less scary, right?

So how are points calculated under the new Tariff?

Now, each qualification (e.g. A-level, Scottish Higher etc.) will be allocated a size band value from 1-4, based on the number of learning hours. Meanwhile each qualification will also be allocated a grade band point from 3-14. To work out the number of Ucas points your qualifications is worth under the new Tariff, just multiply the two together 

Size x grade = Tariff points

Or, you can cut out the mental arithmetic and use one of our infographics below.

Calculate your Ucas points under the new Tariff

We've made things easy! Just look up your qualifications below to see what it's worth under the new Tariff:

A-levels and Highers

New Ucas Tariff - A-levels and Highers

BTEC Nationals

New Ucas Tariff - BTEC Nationals

International Baccalaureate

​The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma itself does not attract Ucas points but the components which make it up do. To achieve the IB Diploma, you have to pass each component and achieve a total IB point score of 24 or more.

New Ucas Tariff - International Baccalaureate

Welsh Baccalaureate

The information below refers to the new award being taught from September 2015:

New Ucas Tariff - Welsh Baccalaureate

Will it be harder to get into university? 

Not at all. What you actually need to achieve to get on to a particular course will remain the same; how this is displayed will change.

Will universities count both your AS and A-levels?

No, universities will only count your highest level of achievement. So if you take a subject at both AS and A-level, they will only count the A-level.

Will all universities use the new Tariff?

No. As it stands, only a third of undergraduate courses list a Tariff entry requirement anyway; the rest just list grades. Ucas expects this to remain pretty much the same. 

However some universities may use the switchover to reconsider how they do things. Remember, you can always check a course's up-to-date entry requirements here on Which? University; once you’ve searched for a course, you can read exactly what grades or Ucas points that university is asking for.

Why will AS-levels be worth less than before?

Under the current system AS and A2 years are seen as equal in terms of how demanding they are. Qualification regulators OfQual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) feels this isn’t quite true and have readjusted a few things. Under the new Tariff, AS levels will be worth 40% of an overall A-level as opposed to 50%.

So, will I be affected by the new Tariff?

The new Tariff will be used for those applying to university from September 2016 (to begin their course in September 2017). Until then, the current system will remain.

Can I start searching for courses?

Yes! Our course search has been updated to reflect the changes; so you can search for courses safe in the knowledge that you're reading the right entry requirements. What are you waiting for? Take a look and see what you could study.

Want to know more?

Ucas - learn more about the new Tariff, including a video explaining the changes 

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