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How to get UCAS points outside of school

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Some students could just be a few UCAS points short of getting into university. Luckily, there are some ways students can earn themselves extra UCAS points other than sitting school exams. We’ve created this small guide on how to get UCAS points outside of school, for students who might be a little short of them.

Why UCAS points are important

Essentially, UCAS points are important as some colleges and universities make offers to students based on the points they have achieved. Students may also need a specific number of points to gain entry to a certain course.

Students achieve UCAS points after passing a formal qualification which has been approved and credit rated by an official body such as SQA of Ofqual.

It is important to note that not all colleges and universities use the UCAS points system. Students should double check with the education provider. Students can also check how many points they need for a certain course through that particular university website or prospectus.

Current UCAS tariff point system:

Scottish Highers UCAS Points A – 33, B – 27, C – 21, D – 15

Scottish Advanced Highers UCAS Points A – 56, B – 48, C – 40, D – 32

A Levels UCAS Points A – 48, B – 40, C – 32, D – 24

ASDAN Qualifications

ASDAN is a British educational charity who offer a range of programmes and qualifications aimed at students to help them develop knowledge and skills. Some of ASDAN’s qualifications allow students to gain extra UCAS points.

Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE)

The Certificate of Personal Effectiveness is recognised as a qualification by the SQA. Students can study this in S4 and S5 of school and also in college. The aim of CoPE is to develop skills and knowledge in areas like communication, citizenship and community, beliefs and values, the environment, health and fitness, and independent living.

Students can earn the UCAS points by taking part in activities such as:

  • Detailed research projects

  • Taking on a leadership role

  • Work experience

  • Volunteering placements

  • Overseas expeditions

Activities are chosen from the following modules:

  • Active Citizenship

  • Work Related Activities

  • Career Planning

  • Global Awareness

  • Enrichment Activities

  • Extended Project

Each activity can take 20, 30, 40 or 50 hours to complete. The qualification as a whole takes approximately 150 guided learning hours.

UCAS points for CoPE

The course comes in 3 levels and after successful completion of level 3 candidates receive 16 UCAS points.

Award of Personal Effectiveness (AoPE)

The Award of Personal Effectiveness is another ASDAN qualification that is recognised by the SQA. The AoPE is a shorter version of the CoPE and students can move on to the CoPE afterwards.

To gain the UCAS points at level 3, students must complete enough challenges to gain eight curriculum credits. This equates to around 80 hours of work. Challenges and activities can be done both inside and outside of school.

Assessment units for AoPEs are:

  • Team Working

  • Planning and reviewing learning

  • Tackling problems

  • Research skills

  • Improving skills in preparing and presenting information

  • Learning through work experience

  • Career exploration

UCAS points for AoPE

Like a CoPE, an AoPE also comes in 3 levels. However, it is only at level 3 students can receive 8 UCAS points after successful completion

Wider Key Skills

Wider Key Skills qualifications are aimed at anyone, not just school pupils. There are 3 Wider Key Skills qualifications available, these are:

  • Working with Others

  • Own Learning and Performance improving

  • Problem Solving

To earn the qualification, candidates can take part in activities like work experience, employment, voluntary or youth work.

UCAS points for Wider Key Skills Like the other qualifications above, each skill comes in 3 levels and after successful completion of level 3, students earn 6 UCAS points.

Achieving qualifications like the ones ASDAN has to offer is a great opportunity for students to earn themselves extra UCAS points outside of school and potentially secure themselves a place in university.

More information on these courses can be found on ASDAN’s website, as well as other courses and qualifications.


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