Choosing the right level and qualifications for you
The range of qualifications can be confusing. Here we explain what each level means. Some courses will have specific entry requirements so make sure you check before applying
1 – 2 YEAR COURSE
Qualifications: A Levels and BTECs.
Entry requirements: Five GCSEs at grade 4/5 or above, including English and Maths, or
a Level 2 BTEC at pass or above.
Could lead to: university, an apprenticeship or employment.
1 YEAR COURSE
Qualifications: Diploma, BTEC First Awards and GCSEs.
Entry requirements: Four GCSEs at grade 3 or above or a Level 1 qualification. English and Maths at grade 3 or above.
Could lead to: employment, a Level 3 course or apprenticeship
1 YEAR COURSE
Entry requirements: GCSEs at grade 2–1 or an Entry Level 3 course.
Could lead to: employment, a Level 2 course or apprenticeship
These are specialist programmes designed for students aged 16–24 with special educational needs (SEN) who respond best within a smaller group and may require extra support or time to
complete set work within a mainstream environment.
HNCs are a great way to start on the degree level route without having to commit to the
full three or four years. They are undergraduate qualifications but take less time and were
created to prepare you for specific careers.
Guide to BTEC qualifcations
BTEC qualifications are equivalent to A Levels and they carry UCAS points, meaning they can still take you to University if you wish.
There are different types of BTEC qualifications and they are all equivalent to a different number of A Levels. We know this can be confusing so we have put together a ‘cheat sheet’ to help make
If you are still unsure about which course to apply for them come along to an open event or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily explain and ensure that you are put on the right course for you.
|First Award||GCSE Level|
|National Certificate||1 AS Level|
|National Extended Certificate |
National Subsidiary Diploma
|1 A Level|
|National Foundation Diploma|
90 Credit Diploma
|1.5 A Levels|
|National Diploma||2 A Levels|
|National Extended Diploma||3 A Levels|