Can you Earn Grade 5 Music Theory UCAS points?

By Jade Bultitude
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One of the benefits of taking your music exams and any other music qualifications is that they can help you get into university or college. But can you get Grade 5 Music Theory UCAS points? whether practical or in theory can have huge benefits to your higher education. The short answer is, no, ABRSM Grade 5 music theory will not give you UCAS points. However, it is the gateway to achieving those all important exams that DO give you the UCAS points.  

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What are UCAS points?

UCAS stands for university and colleges admission services! Ucas tariff points are a way of translating your qualifications, in this case your music qualifications, into a number! 

This system allows universities, colleges and other higher education institutions to have a simple way of quantifying your qualifications. However, it is not the be all and end all.

Any music qualification you take can be translated into UCAS tariff points.

As you move up through the grades the UCAS points increase. Whether you achieve a pass, merit, distinction can also effect how many ucas point you achieve.

Calculating your UCAS tariff points

Before looking at the ABRSM grades and specifically the Grade 5 music theory, ucas points need breaking down a little more. There are a few elements that help to quantify the size and level of the ucas points system:

TQT – this stands for total qualification time. This refers to how long it has taken the student to achieve the specific qualification.

GLH – this stands for guided learning hours. This refers to how much teaching has taken place to achieve the qualification.

Both of these features of ucas points are essential when deciding the final number.

Music Grade and UCAS points

Achieving grade 5 music theory unfortunately does not help you begin accumulating ucas points, although it is the gateway to the higher grades which do give you access to the UCAS points! Music courses and exams are such a great way to build these points and armed with your grade 5 music theory you can then take the Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8 and even the diplomas. These higher grades do help you to achieve those all important ucas points.

Each Grade/exam you take is regulated by the RQF (The regulation qualifications framework).

Grades 4 and 5 are a Level 2 RQF – this is equivalent to a GCSE Grade 9-4 or A*- C. This means that it is still well worth taking your Grade 5 Music Theory exam, especially as it can then allow you to take their higher music theory grades. Want to see if you can past grade 5, download or free Grade 5 Past Paper here.

Grades 6, 7 and 8 bump you up in Level 3 RQF which is equivalent to AS and A levels and this is where the UCAS points start!

The DipABRSM move you into level 4 RQF – equivalent to higher national certificates.

What does level 2 RQF mean?

The level 2 descriptor is defined by the RQF as ‘Has knowledge and understanding of facts, procedures and ideas in an area of study or field of work to complete well-defined tasks and address straightforward problems. Can interpret relevant information and ideas. Is aware of a range of information that is relevant to the area of study or work’.

The level 2 skill descriptor from the RQF is ‘Select and use relevant cognitive and practical skills to complete well-defined, generally routine tasks and address straightforward problems. Identify, gather and use relevant information to inform actions. Identify how effective actions have been’.

More on this can be found on the UCAS website as well as the ABRSM website.

As you can see by these standards, as you move further up the grades the more benefit you will receive when applying to university!

What does level 3 RQF mean?

The level 3 descriptor is defined by the RQF as ‘The holder Has factual, procedural and theoretical knowledge and understanding of a subject or field of work to complete tasks and address problems that while well-defined, may be complex and non-routine. Can interpret and evaluate relevant information and ideas. Is aware of the nature of the area of study or work. Is aware of different perspectives or approaches within the area of study or work’.

The level 3 skill descriptor is as follows: ‘The holder can Identify, select and use appropriate cognitive and practical skills, methods and procedures to address problems that while well- defined, may be complex and non-routine. Use appropriate investigation to inform actions. Review how effective methods and actions have been’.

Again, you can read more on this on the ucas and abrsm websites!

UCAS Points: Which Exams will Help Earn more?

Once you get into Grade 6, 7 and 8 you can begin accumulating UCAS points. Whether the exam is practical or in music theory this is where you begin achieving those all important points for university.

By taking Grade 6, Grade 7 and Grade 8 you will move yourself into the RQF Level 3. Level 3 is equivalent to AS and A levels. Imagine having the points of an extra A level just by simply taking grades 6, 7 or 8!

The higher mark you get in each of these exams can also effect how many points you get. A pass will give you lowest amount of points and a distinction will give you the highest!

To add even more sparkle to your university application form, once you have completed Grade 8 you can then complete your DipABRSM or ARSM. Both of these exams require you to have taken your ABRSM Grade 5 theory and Grade 8 practical before being eligible to complete but they are well worth considering if you are applying to university!

Here at we are happy to help and support you to move up to these high grades and if you have any more questions about this then please do not hesitate to send us a message!

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Jade is a flute player and music educator with a passion for educating the next generation of musicians. She is a Masters Graduate from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Jade has been helping people learn music theory for more than 10 years from pre school children all the way to degree level studies.