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What is UCAS and why are UCAS points useful?

UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is the centralized system through which you apply to all UK universities.

numbers on board

Your university application will consist of a single online form on the UCAS website, which will then be sent to the (up to) five universities you are applying to. The UCAS website has lots of really useful information and guides to the whole application process:


UCAS tariff points are one of the ways universities use to measure your qualifications. The UCAS tariff assigns a certain number of points to certain grades in certain qualifications, such as 40 points for a B at A Level, or 144 points for DDD in an Edexcel BTEC National Diploma. This is particularly useful if you are studying a combination of different types of qualifications, so you can work out what the equivalents are. As well as the kinds of qualifications you work towards at school, other qualifications also have a UCAS tariff point value, such as graded exams on musical instruments, or sporting diplomas.

student writing in answers on a test sheet

However, be aware that not all universities choose to use the UCAS tariff points system. Some universities (including UCL) make offers purely on the grades you achieve in your school qualifications, such as ‘A Level grades AAB’. Other universities might make offers based on UCAS tariff points, but only the points you earn through your school qualifications, such as ‘UCAS tariff points of 120 from A Levels’; this excludes points earned through other qualifications like music grades etc. but means you could meet the requirements through various different grade combinations, like ABB (48+40+40), or A*AC (56+48+32). Finally, some universities might make an offer based on UCAS tariff points earned from any of the possible types of qualifications. UCAS gives more information on tariff points here:


All universities publish the entry requirements for their programmes on their website. UCL’s online prospectus can be found here: