When students start thinking of choices in regard to their futures, many think of choosing further education – maybe sixth form or college and then university. Yet there can be confusion as to how exactly students transition from one step to another. As new options for post-GCSE education are brought in, students may find themselves being even more lost. A common question is how many UCAS Tariff points do post-GCSE courses offer. T-Levels are the newest post-GCSE option, therefore there are inquiries on how many UCAS points students get from them.
The UCAS points students get for T-Levels depends on which of the five grades they achieve: distinction*, distinction, merit, pass (C or above on the core subject) and pass (D or above on the core subject). They must achieve an overall pass in order to receive any points. The UCAS points are displayed in the table below.
|T-Level grade||UCAS Tariff Points|
|Distinction*(A* on core and
distinction in the occupational
|Pass (C or above on core subject)||96|
|Pass (D or above on core subject)||72|
While this may have provided you with a brief overview of how many UCAS points are allotted to each grade received for T-Levels, you should read on for a more detailed breakdown of how it works exactly.
Table of Contents
What are UCAS Tariff Points?
UCAS Tariff points are a way to allocate a numerical value to grades received for post-GCSE courses. These allow comparisons between differing qualifications when selecting candidates for universities. Some colleges and universities use UCAS points as a way to set entry requirements. One third of courses offered when searched up on the UCAS website have a Tariff entry requirement, as written on their website.
If students are curious about the specifics of the UCAS Tariff Point system, this article on the UCAS website breaks down frequently asked questions and gives a more in depth look.
However, although many universities and colleges do consider the Tariff system, they choose their own entry criteria and accept qualifications outside the Tariff system. They are not obligated to accept a qualification just because it meets the Tariff standards. Click here for a more in-depth Think Student article about the average of UCAS points universities accept.
What are T-Levels?
T-Levels were first introduced in September 2020. They are two-year courses designed to prepare students for further training, work, or study, with specialised skills to meet the needs of the industry. They are likely to be replacing the BTEC qualification that we have all become so familiar with – check out this Think Student article to find out more.
T-Levels are an alternative option to post-GCSE education. They are equivalent to three A-Levels and are a mixture of orthodox classroom learning and experience working in an industry placement. This placement takes place for approximately 315 hours, or 45 days. T-Levels are available for 16 to 19-year-old students. They are also available to students up to the age of 24 who have an education, health, or care plan.
Students can immerse themselves in learning the practical and technical aspects of working for an employer in an industrial setting. They are currently one of the main choices for students after GCSEs and offer a high-quality system that students can understand.
The total time for a T-Level is around 1,800 hours over the two years, which includes the industry placement. The course includes the core elements of an industry placement and a technical qualification. This includes theory, concepts and skills for that particular industry, as well as particular skills for that career. Click here to find out the range of T-Levels available and more details on them on the UCAS website.
Many schools and colleges around the UK now offer T-Levels as part of their post-16 curriculum. T-Levels are becoming more and more requested and the options are increasing rapidly. While the range of subjects to choose from isn’t as broad as A-Levels, T-Levels give more in-depth and richer knowledge of a specific career. Therefore, it might be worthwhile to consider for students wanting to focus on their future careers.
The grade requirements to continue with T-Levels are a minimum of 5 GCSEs at 9-4 including GCSE Maths and English Language. If you want to find out more on taking T-Levels and getting into university with them, this Think Student article can give you a more detailed explanation.
T-Level vs A-Level UCAS Tariff Points
All T-Levels are worth the same UCAS points as they depend on the grade you get, not the option you choose. Students who want to progress into higher education will be able to see how UCAS points are earned from their T-Level. They must achieve at least an overall pass grade to receive tariff points, as shown below:
|UCAS Tariff Points||T-Level grade||A-Level grades|
|168||Distinction*(A* on core and
distinction in the occupational
|96||Pass (C or above on core subject)||CCC|
|72||Pass (D or above on core subject)||DDD|
To find out more about the T-Level Tariff point system, it might be helpful to click here to read the UCAS article about the Tariff system in regards to T-Levels. You can calculate your own Tariff points by clicking here if you have predicted grades or have already gotten your grades.
How are T-Levels graded?
Like A-Levels, the grade earned from a T-Level is based on work in school, which contributes to approximately 80% of the overall mark achieved. There are multiple parts to T-Level qualifications. Only the specialism and core subject are graded as part of the T-Level, whereas the rest is to achieve the certification.
The grades for the core are given in A*-E, similarly to A-Levels, while the specialism is graded as pass, merit, or distinction, similarly to BTECs. These grades are then combined to give an overall grade, which is then displayed on the certificate along with the separate grades. They are put into a grade of Pass, Merit, Distinction, or Distinction* (which can be achieved with a distinction, and an A* respectively).
The grading for these different parts is done based on a combination of coursework, exams and other similar requirements, just as other qualifications are. The exact method of grading will depend on what course you have chosen, so if there is any confusion in regard to how the course will be assessed, contact your school for more information about it.
To find out more about how T-Levels are assessed, this Think Student article can be a helpful guide.
Are T-Levels right for you?
In terms of UCAS Tariff points, there are no drawbacks to picking T-Levels. T-Levels give students approximately the same points they would get if they picked A-Levels. Therefore, they hold the same validity of points as A-Levels.
However, from a more future-based standpoint, T-Levels are specialised for particular industries. The skills students will learn and knowledge they will receive will be mostly kept to that industry field. The industry placement will give students experience for that specific career. Therefore, students must be sure of themselves and the T-Level they choose when selecting T-Levels as an option.
T-Levels are specific to a certain field of work, which means that selecting T-Levels as an option could potentially limit the range of jobs available to students in the future. This could be considered a disadvantage if a student no longer wishes to pursue a certain career. The safety net of jobs available is simply much smaller, as only one T-Level can be taken. To find out why only one can be taken read this Think Student article.
However, T-Levels grant a much more immersive experience for the student to learn from, with hands-on experience in an industrial setting, therefore it can be worthwhile. To read more about the pros and cons of T-Levels and A-Levels, here is a Think Student article on the topic.
Do BTECs provide UCAS Tariff Points?
In short, yes! BTECs do offer UCAS tariff points. A breakdown of the grades and points offered for each can be found here, on the Apply to Uni website.
As another post-GCSE option that is offered to students, it is also important to consider BTECs as a steppingstone to a student’s future. BTECs are similar to T-Levels in the regard that they are vocationally oriented, as well as both of them offering hands-on experience and practical tasks in industrial settings.
However, discussions have shown that the government plans to remove several of the BTEC qualifications. In July 2021, the government announced that they were planning to phase BTEC qualifications out of government funding programmes. In short, BTECs are slowly going to be scrapped over the next few years. Many were left wondering how the government was going to replace BTECs; newer qualifications known as T-Levels were introduced.
If you would like more information on the replacement of BTECs, this Think Student article will be helpful.