Jargon Buster

The education system can be full of acronyms and unfamiliar terms so we have explained some of these below. If you'd like to know more, just email info@futureme.ac.uk to speak to a member of the team:

A Levels: The academic qualification gained from studying at a sixth form or college after completing GCSEs.

Adjustment: A service available on results day to those students who have gained higher results than expected and therefore would like to change the institution or course they will be studying. 

AS Levels: A standalone post 16 qualification that takes one year to complete.

BA: Bachelor of Arts, the undergraduate degree awarded to those studying an arts or humanities degree. 

BMAT: The Biomedical Admissions Test. Another form of medical admissions test required by certain universities.  

BSc: Bachelor of Science, the undergraduate degree awarded to those studying a scientific discipline. 

BTEC: Business and Technology Education Council. Vocational qualifications that equip students with theoretical and practical knowledge in a range of subjects. There are three main levels: BTEC firsts that are equivalent to GCSE level, BTEC national diplomas that are equivalent to A-level, and BTEC apprenticeships. 

Bursary: A non-repayable monetary award made to students who satisfy certain criteria as set by the awarding universities and colleges. 

Clearing: A service that opens on results day each year whereby those students without a place at a higher education institution can gain a place on courses with spaces still available. 

Combined Honours: A degree encompassing more than one subject. 

DSA: Disabled Student Allowances are monetary awards made to those students who may need additional support through their studies as a result of a disability or long-term health condition. For example these awards may pay for specialist equipment, printing costs, a note-taker etc. These awards are assessed on a case by case basis. 

FE: Further Education. Refers to the qualifications taken post 16, i.e. after a student has taken their GCSEs. 

Firm Choice: A studentís first choice of higher education, this is the institution and course they will attend providing they meet the conditions of their offer. 

Fresher: The informal term given to first year students at university.

Gap Year: Students may opt to take a year out of their studies before beginning a higher education course, this year can be used to work, travel, volunteer or a mixture of the three!

GCSE: General Certificate of Secondary Education. The qualifications are taken at the end of a studentís secondary education, in year 11.  

Halls: The term given to the university accommodation students can opt to live in during their first year of study at university, should the student chose to move out. 

HE: Higher Education. Refers to the qualifications that are taken at level 4 or above, i.e. those that are taken after A-Levels or equivalents. 

Hons: Honours - indicates a level of attainment attached to a BSc or BA

Insurance Choice: A studentís second choice of higher education, usually with slightly lower entry requirements. This is the institution and course a student will attend should they not meet the terms of their Firm choice. 

Key Stage 3: Key stage 3 (or KS3) refers to school years 7-9. 

Key Stage 4: Key stage 4 (or KS4) refers to school years 10-11. 

Key Stage 5: Key stage 5 (or KS5) refers to school years 12-13.

Lecture: A style of teaching whereby staff deliver content in a theatre style room with students taking notes. 

Module: A period of study covering a particular topic. Many programmes are divided into modules with a certain number of modules required to study the course to completion.

Semester: A block of study containing certain modules (at universities the year is usually split into two semesters). 

Seminar: Smaller, more interactive, group teaching. Usually centred on group discussion with some work to prepare prior to the session. 

SFE: Student Finance England are the body who manage applications for maintenance and tuition fee loans across England. 

Term: The periods of teaching time throughout the academic year. 

UCAS Extra: An additional period of time to apply for courses through UCAS when someone has not applied during the main UCAS application period or has received no offers of a place. 

UCAS Track: The online service allowing applicants to track the status of their higher education applications.

UCAS: University and College Admissions Service. The central organisation who handle applications for higher education across the UK. 

UKCAT: The UK Clinical Aptitude Test. An admissions test required by some medical and dental schools across the UK.