Session four: Reading

Session four: Reading

Entry Qualifications

You will all be aware that one of the prime requisites of entry onto a university degree is academic attainment. Whatever type of Level 3 you are studying, whether it’s A Levels, a BTEC course or the International Baccalaureate, each university will state certain grades from examinations that it expects candidates to meet.

You will also be aware that entry grades vary a great deal from university to university and in some cases from course to course. Therefore it is essential to get a clear idea of where you fit in with this given your progress in your current course. In general terms the more traditional academic universities (those in the Russell Group and other traditional universities) tend to ask for higher grades than some of the “newer” university sector. However this is not always the case and some popular courses at newer universities can also demand higher grades from final exams…so check things out.

UCAS points is a phrase you will hear quite a lot. If you are not sure what they are visit the UCAS website ( and go to the “Tariff Tables”. Here you will find information on how the system works. However not all universities use the UCAS points system when advertising entry requirements. Some will state particular grades that are needed plus particular subjects (e.g. a certain pass at A/B might be needed in Biology to study a Biological science degree in many universities).

So apart from certain grades from your Level 3 qualifications what other entry requirements might you come across…

  • GCSE grades – most courses will expect Grade C or 4/5 from the new GCSEs in Maths and English. However you will find that some courses ask for specific grades from certain GCSE subjects. Particularly in Science based subjects at popular universities.
  • Entry tests – if you are thinking of studying Medicine this is a must. Some Law courses will also ask you sit an entrance test. Cambridge and Oxford Universities require you to sit an entrance test as part of their application procedure. While various other universities use entrance tests as part of their recruitment process for degrees associated with Health (Midwifery, Nursing, Radiology etc.) and subjects such as Journalism and Social Work.
  • Interviews – in general there are far fewer admissions interviews nowadays. If you are thinking of following a degree that will lead into a career working with people (Health and Medical based degrees, Social Work, Teaching etc.) expect an interview. Some universities will still interview for popular competitive courses and others employ a “selective interview” approach. In these situations if you get invited to an interview don’t panic! It’s a good indication that the university is interested in you.
  • Work experience – although it may not be stated as a formal entry requirement many courses you will research will “suggest” this is a good idea. Various vocational degrees (Engineering, Business and Finance, Computer Science related etc.) will have an expectation that you understand the industry you are likely to enter after your studies. Again for competitive courses like Law and Medicine it’s a must!
  • Portfolios – if you are thinking of following a degree in the creative arts or a design related degree then admissions staff will want you to illustrate your ability. A good portfolio showcasing your work will be crucial.
  • Auditions – similarly in the performing Arts area you will need to show your ability whether it’s Acting, Dance or Music. It’s worth noting that some music performance degrees will ask for particular grades in musical ability.