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How 'valuable' are music/drama exams for UCAS points?

(16 Posts)
NormaSnorks Wed 21-Sep-11 13:54:22

This is a fair way off for us, but am just thinking ahead....

Ds plays two instruments and does LAMDA drama exams. I'm aware that for Grade 6-8 they count for UCAS tariff points (or something?) but I don't have a sense of how valuable they would be in the grand scheme of things?

Would it just be a small % of the total required, or could they actually be a 'deal-breaker' in terms of getting into a Uni?

(He is unlikely to want to study music, so it would likely just be an extra-curricular thing)

Any experiences?

AMumInScotland Wed 21-Sep-11 14:14:44

There is a table which shows you exactly how many UCAS tariff points you get for various different qualifications - link here

As an example, a Grade 7 Distinction on an instrument will get you 60 points, the same as an A in an AS level, so it is a reasonable amount.

But not all universities will use the UCAS tariff system to give you an offer of a place - DS was applying last year, and none of the universities listed what they wanted in terms of UCAS points, all of them in terms of how many Highers or A levels they expected, what subjects you needed, etc.

So you certainly should not have him go into the music and drama grade exams assuming they will "count" for university admissions - look at the universities and courses he might be interested in to find out just what they ask for.

We felt a bit miffed about the whole tariff thing, as we had allowed DS to drop a subject at Higher to focus on his Grade 8, assuming it would count about the same, but it didn't in the end. Luckily he got what he needed for the course he wanted, but we could have come unstuck!

EvilTwins Wed 21-Sep-11 19:35:48

Depending on the university, some specify a number of UCAS points, whilst others specify grades. You can check on the UCAS website here However, even if the universities specify number of points rather than grades, they may not accept music/drama exams instead of AS/A2s, IYSWIM. I'm Head of 6th Form in a state school, and I certainly wouldn't advise students to rely on music exams. The best thing to do is to use the course search function on the UCAS website - you can search by subject, then click through to Entry Requirements, and you'll get a comprehensive list of what each university will accept in terms of points and so on. example here

NormaSnorks Thu 22-Sep-11 11:50:16

Thanks for this - very helpful!

Moominmammacat Fri 07-Oct-11 11:48:15

In short, the best universities don't accept them!

4merlyknownasSHD Fri 07-Oct-11 11:52:27

BUT, if your son and A.N.Other both have exactly the same 'A'Level and 'GCSE' points for the standard academical work, but your son also has points for music....and there is only 1 place left, your son's music points should count then, surely.

tinkghoul Fri 07-Oct-11 20:17:36

4merly - not necessarily, the uni would look at the personal statement and the school reference before taking other qualifications into account. Also, if they interview potential students then they will also use this over and above music qualifications. If one student can show committment and a good idea of what is involved both with the course and their career then these students are more likely to be offered a place over just academic qualifications.

musicposy Sat 08-Oct-11 00:06:08

They count for quite a lot in terms of points, but despite this, for a lot of my private music students, the universities wouldn't include them at all. From my experience, they are a nice extra that might make the difference between two otherwise identical students. But I wouldn't rely on them instead of A levels, or sacrifice your A level grades for them - and I'm saying that as a music teacher grin.

larry5 Sat 08-Oct-11 14:44:17

Last year my dd was asked for 300 points including an A grade in Maths for her course at Keele. Unfortunately she didn't get the A but was, I think, accepted by the university because she had achieved 335 points including 60 for her Grade 7 music. It is worth having the points and I am sure that showing the commitment to practicing an instrument to that standard must stand a student in good stead.

Dd looked at universities that offered both grades and points to give a greater choice particularly when it came to her insurance offer.

roisin Sun 09-Oct-11 13:08:51

How old is he?
From 2014 grade 6+ exams, will count "in league tables" as equivalent to a GCSE.
news report here

In practice, however, the more prestigious the university/course, the more likely they are to give a simple A Level grades offer, rather than anything based on 'points'. You can also get points for Duke of Edinburgh, Sports Leader and all sorts of other vague bits and bobs.... hmm

Smum99 Sun 09-Oct-11 19:58:06

Just echoing other comments - the competitive unis and competitive courses do not count music/drama Ucas points, I doubt that will ever change.

srmum Wed 17-Apr-13 19:17:41

forget the points the value is to the individual - children who play instruments show focus, and dedication

creamteas Wed 17-Apr-13 19:59:16

I am a social science admissions tutor. Where I work music/drama grades make absolutely no difference when we are making offers or in the offers we make.

The only time it will make a difference is when students miss their entry grades, and then it will depend on the circumstances.

For example, if an applicant applying for sociology was given an offer of ABB achieved ABD, with the D in a unrelated subject (eg Chemistry) but had music exams which meant they still had 320 points then we would accept them if we had places. But if the D was in sociology or another essay based subject like history, we would reject them regardless of meeting the point total.

Anthracite Wed 17-Apr-13 22:25:43

They do carry UCAS points but not all universities consider them.

Russell Group and other traditional universities just go by A-level grades.

Universities that use points put a lot in the fine print. For example, quite a few places specific that the points have to come from A2 subjects.

Grade 8 music and gold medal Lamda is useful for university entrance, but should comprise a sentence or two on the Personal Statement to illustrate perseverance and other transferable skills.

SlowlorisIncognito Thu 18-Apr-13 15:59:37

A lot of universities that use UCAS points will specify they need to come from 3(.5) A levels, or equivalent and will often specify specific grades in a specific subject- e.g. 300 points with a minimum of B in Biology or something. In general, points from extra curicular activities only get taken into acount if the subject is related, so music exams may count for music or possibly another performing arts course.

Playing musical instruments to a high level may enable an applicant to stand out from others at the personal statement stage, but universities in the UK are much more focused on passion and related experience for the subject they want to study.

To give you a real life example, there are some BHS(Brittish horse society) exams which carry a small number of tarrif points. I had a friend at school who was very horsey and held one of these qualifications. When applying to an unrelated course (English Lit), her offers specifically stated the points should come from A level courses. If she had applied for something like Animal Science, the points may have counted in her favour.

Talkinpeace Thu 18-Apr-13 16:04:18

For my DCs I regard music and dance and sport and DofE participation as proof of being a more rounded individual : and exam certs are additional evidence
but they will be going to Uni on the back of their A level grades

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