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What are A Levels, Level 3 BTEC & CTEC?

Advanced Level qualifications (known as A Levels) are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, higher apprenticeships, further study, training, or work. You can normally study three A levels over two years. They’re usually assessed by a series of examinations, however a small number of courses do still include a non-examined element (eg coursework), however most are usually assessed by a series of examination. 

Alongside A Levels, BTEC Nationals and Cambridge Technicals are the most widely-recognised qualification for admission to higher education. They are Level 3 vocational qualifications that provide specialist, work-related learning across a range of sectors.

BTECs are divided into units, which cover specific areas of knowledge, skills, and understanding required by the particular sector or industry. 

  • Every BTEC student takes the core units, which provide a broad foundation and understanding about the sector.
  • There is a range of optional units to choose from which enable students to focus on particular interests and plans they have for next steps into further study, an apprenticeship, or employment. 
  • The course involves a series of assignments which can be written or activity-based, for example creating a film clip, planning and putting on a performance, or creating a business plan. Students complete some assignments individually and some as part of a team. For some BTEC courses, students can also apply their knowledge and skills through work experience.