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Study centre at Andover College


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


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.


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


Qualifications: Diploma.

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.

Find out more

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
it simpler!
If you are still unsure about which course to apply for them come along to an open event or email and we will happily explain and ensure that you are put on the right course for you.

Qualification Equivalent
First AwardGCSE Level
National Certificate1 AS Level
National Extended Certificate
National Subsidiary Diploma
1 A Level
National Foundation Diploma
90 Credit Diploma
1.5 A Levels
National Diploma2 A Levels
National Extended Diploma 3 A Levels