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Minimum passing score: are there alternatives to them for university access?

On many occasions, the minimum passing score is what decides if you are admitted to a certain university degree. The problem is that there are several factors to establish this number and not all of them depend on you.

In any case, if you cannot access the degree you wanted to because you did not get the minimum passing score, do not worry. You have other alternatives to achieve your objective and in this article you will discover them.

What is the procedure for admission to the UIE?

To access any of the Bachelor´s Degrees of the UIE it is not necessary to achieve a certain minimum passing score. You will have to submit a completed application form, to which you must attach certain documentation (photograph, ID card, academic transcript, etc.). At that point, you will become a candidate and your admission will depend on:

  • Assessment of your academic transcript.
  • Skills questionnaire (logical, verbal, mathematical reasoning, etc.).
  • General entrance test (to analyze certain capabilities).
  • English level test (if you provide supporting documentation, it will not be necessary).
  • Personal interview.

What is a minimum passing score?

To explain what a minimum passing score is we must explain how the admission process to a university degree works in Spain, since they are established precisely for this purpose.

As you can imagine, if there are more interested students than there are places available in a given degree program and at a university, there must be an assignment process.

Public universities establish the allocation of slots according to the marks obtained by the students during the Baccalaureate and the University Entrance Qualification (CAU, by its Spanish acronym); that is to say, those obtained in the university entrance exam (EBAU, by its Spanish acronym).

Thus, the universities take the list of candidates who have selected a degree and order them according to the grade obtained, from highest to lowest. This is how they assign the slots. The grade of the last student to be admitted determines the minimum passing score for that degree and university.

In this case, whether or not you are admitted depends on the slots available for a given university and how interesting your chosen degree is to other students. Although the previous year’s minimum passing score usually provides a guideline as to what grade you should get, they can vary from year to year.

Access to a degree is a competitive process, but also comes into play the behavior of supply and demand. If there are few slots available in the University Degree you want to enter, it is very likely that the minimum passing score will be high.

How is the minimum passing score calculated?

To calculate the minimum passing score, the average of the grades obtained in the two courses of the Baccalaureate is taken into consideration.

The arithmetic average of the grades obtained in the Compulsory Phase of the EBAU is also taken. In this average, it is mandatory to obtain at least a 4 to be able to access a University Degree.

With these two grades (Baccalaureate + Compulsory Phase EBAU) the following calculation is made to obtain the CAU:

(Average grade of the EBAU Compulsory Phase exams *0.4) + (Average grade of the Baccalaureate*0.6) = CAU.

As can be seen, greater weight is given to the average grade obtained in the Baccalaureate (60% of the final grade). Meanwhile, the exams of the Compulsory Phase of the EBAU have a weight of 40%.
However, this is not the final grade, which we call “admission grade”. As you know, there is a Voluntary Phase of the EBAU and if you take any of these exams, they will be added to your CAU. But they have a weighting of 0.1 or 0.2, only the two best grades will count and you must get more than a 5 (depending on each degree and each university).

When is the minimum passing score known?

The minimum passing score is known when the registration period for public universities closes.

That is to say, the final grades for each university course are known when all the slots have been awarded, which is usually from September onwards.

What can you do if you do not achieve the required minimum passing score?

If you cannot access a degree because the minimum passing score is higher than the one you have obtained, you basically have the following alternatives:

  1. Pass up the option and see if you can be admitted in the next degree you have chosen in the order of preference.
  2. Repeat the EBAU (Mandatory and Voluntary Phase).
  3. Repeat only to the Voluntary Phase and leave the grade of the Compulsory Phase as it is (if you have not done it before).
  4. Check if there is an available slot at another university (from other Autonomous Community).
  5. Go to a university center that has a different admission protocol.

The first option seems the easiest, but it implies a certain resignation and you may later regret not having pursued the studies you really wanted. What’s more, it may be a reason for dropping out of university, since you will not be truly satisfied with the degree you are pursuing.

As for the second alternative, it may be feasible if your score does not differ much from your minimum passing score.

However, no one can guarantee that you will be able to get access to the degree you want (remember that it depends on the number of slots available and the level of competitiveness of other students). Improving your EBAU grade is not easy and the slots in the most demanded degrees are usually completed in the ordinary call.

As for assessing the value of access to a university that is not governed by the minimum passing score, you simply have to look at its offer, rules and admission procedures.

Don’t let the minimum passing score frustrate the dream of accessing the degree you want. You can get in touch with the UIE and see how our innovative learning model works.

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