University entry requirements: understanding the different qualifications
University offers for A-level students are normally expressed as three or four grades, and these are usually the minimum requirements. Some universities will ask that students achieve a particular grade in certain subjects – for example, “AAB with an A in Physics.”
UCAS points are another common means which UK universities use when making offers to applicants. The UCAS points system can be used to convert A-level grades into an overall mark – for example, two A grades and a B grade add up to 136 UCAS points in the current system.
Note – for more information on the UCAS points system, and how they relate to UK university entry requirements, check out the UCAS tariff calculator.
The International Baccalaureate
For IB students, universities will generally ask for an overall IB score, but they might also have specific requirements for certain subjects taken at Higher Level, or the grades a student has achieved at Higher Level.
So a UK university might express IB entry requirements as something like “665 at Higher Level, with at least a 6 in English” or “Must have Maths and Physics at Higher Level”
For students applying with BTECs, eligibility will depend on which diploma they are applying with (e.g. 90 Credit Diploma, Subsidiary Diploma, National Diploma or Extended Diploma). Some universities allow students to combine A-levels with BTECs, or may allow the two qualifications to be used interchangeably.
Universities will normally ask for BTEC qualifications at a certain level – e.g. DDD = Distinction, Distinction, Distinction; DDM = Distinction, Distinction, Merit.
Students should check an individual university’s BTEC requirements if applying with this qualification.
Again, universities might ask for a set of scores e.g, D1, D2, or may require a student to have attained a certain grade in a certain subject (e.g. D2 in French). Once again, it’s worth checking specific course entry requirements.