EXACT is a UCAS Media service that can create new datasets to a particular specification.

It is based around a growing set of over 110 variables, covering applicants and provision from our published datasets. These can be used to subset and specify UCAS Undergraduate data in any combination. Statistics including number of applicants, applications, offers, replies, and acceptances can be requested for the chosen specification.

Data from EXACT is aggregated and anonymised and can be supplied in a number of different file formats, allowing you to present the data directly in PDF format, or import into software for further analysis through comma separated variable (CSV) format.

An example EXACT output is below. This covers English, Welsh, and Northern Irish domiciled 18 year old applicants applying to computer science courses, who are recorded as achieving the equivalent of ABB grades or above in their best three A levels, between 2013 and 2017. The dimension variables are A level points. The statistics are applications, offers, and acceptances, reported for five cycles.

Further EXACT examples

EXACT datasets

Specifying a new EXACT dataset has three components:

  1. Firstly, define the scope of your data – this may be in terms of cycles, of for particular subsets (for example, applicants aged 18 with a particular set of grades, or applicants who have made at least one application to a particular subject).
  2. Then select the dimensions of your data – here you can choose from a growing set of variables to define the rows of your dataset. For example, you might request name of provider, by age group, by sex, or by achieved A level points. It is important to get the right balance between the number and type of variables and the scope of the data to ensure that most data cells are well populated, since one of the ways that data is made anonymous is by rounding cells to the nearest five – UCAS' data scientists can advise you on this.
  3. Finally, choose the statistics you want the data calculated for. Currently, you can choose between applications, applicants, offers, replies, and acceptances, with new statistics being added all the time. In addition to statistics around counts, you can also request derived statistics (e.g. means) around numeric variables such as A level points. See below for more information. You can also choose if you want each year in the data reported You can also choose if you want each year in the data reported separately, or if you want to multiple cycles reported together. This can be helpful if you want a very detailed specification where there may only be one or two applicants a year.

All the variables in EXACT are derived from data originating in our operational databases that has been processed and brought into our analytical datasets. These are the same variables, to the same definitions, that form the foundation of our published analysis reports, notes, scheduled statistics, and data resources.

Download a full list of current variables (69.41 KB), available through EXACT for both the live cycle and closed cycles. New variables and new statistics are constantly added to the service. If there are variables you would be particularly interested in that are not currently included, please email your ideas to exact@ucas.ac.uk for consideration in future development work.

EXACT has the functionality to map existing values to a new variable. For example, you can map provider name 2016 into groups according to their geographical location, i.e. city. A list of the values available for each variable can be found in the EXACT variable reference tables (74.02 KB). By mapping these tables to your own value, you can define a new variable.

Included in the above list of current EXACT variables are two sets of variables — 25 variables relating to an achieved A level point score, and nine variables relating to the best achieved BTEC grade — which measure achievement in the relevant subject group for each variable. Download a list of A level subject titles (12.65 KB) and BTEC subject titles (17.91 KB) that have been mapped to each of these EXACT variables.

As mentioned above, derived statistics (e.g. means) can be requested around numeric variables such as A level points, drive time (from applicant’s postcode to provider postcode for each choice), and age. These advanced statistics are calculated in relation to the counts like the number of applications, offers, acceptances etc. For example, you can request the average achieved A level points score split by detailed subject group for the number of acceptances. Download a  full breakdown of what statistics (27.38 KB) are available through EXACT for both live cycle and closed cycles.

The EXACT service is provided through UCAS Media. If you think the EXACT service could potentially provide data for you, you can send your requirements to exact@ucas.ac.uk for a costing and delivery date.

For more information about the EXACT data service, including licensing and pricing, visit the UCAS Media website.

EXACT data packs

In addition to requesting individual EXACT outputs to your own specification, we also offer pre-packaged data outputs on popular areas of interest, such as offer-making and schools profiling.

The packs contain multiple EXACT outputs and can save on the cost of purchasing these separately.

Covering a broad spectrum of variables, the packs are ideal for customers who are unfamiliar with UCAS data and are not sure where to start, as they offer answers to specific questions customers have at the time regarding the sector, but still have a wide range of additional outputs to explore further.

For experienced EXACT customers, the data packs offer extra value – with large amounts of data from multiple outputs, customers are not forced to prioritise what data they purchase due to budgeting restrictions.

Below are the EXACT data packs which are currently available.

Offer-making data pack

This data pack contains raw, aggregated data from 68 EXACT outputs to help you make offers to the right students. These EXACT outputs focus on the number of applications, offers, and rejects made at a national level, provider Tariff band, provider region, and individual named provider.

Schools profiling data pack

This data pack contains raw, aggregated data from 52 EXACT outputs. These EXACT outputs focus on the number of applicants, applications, offers, and acceptances from each Apply centre.

International data pack

This data pack contains raw, aggregated data from 98 EXACT outputs at applicant domicile-level, broken down by several variables. The contents are designed to allow examination of non-UK domiciled applicants across the higher education sector, at various levels of granularity.

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