Level 3

  • Level 3 courses are normally suitable for students who have gained higher grade GCSEs (at least 4 at A*-C), though each college course has specific entry requirements.
  • The college qualifications you can gain at Level 3 include, for example, NVQ 3, UAL Diploma, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (first year) and BTEC or UAL Extended Diploma (second year).
  • Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to A Levels.
  • After one year of study, students can achieve a lower level 3 qualification (such as a Subsidiary Diploma). Most students then study for a second year to gain a higher level 3 qualification (such as the Extended Diploma, which is equivalent to 3 A Levels and accepted for entry to universities).

Level 2

  • Level 2 courses are normally suitable for students who have gained mostly lower grade GCSEs (but at least 2-4 above grade E), though each college course has specific entry requirements.
  • The college qualifications you can gain at Level 2 include, for example, the NVQ 2 or the BTEC Level 2 Diploma.
  • Courses will normally include some Maths and English as well as your chosen subject.
  • Level 2 normally takes one year, after which students can apply to move up to a Level 3 course.

Level 1

  • Level 1 courses are normally suitable for students who have less than 2-4 GCSEs above grade E or who do not have any GCSEs, though each college course has specific entry requirements.
  • The college qualifications you can gain at Level 1 include, for example, the NVQ 1, the BTEC Level 1, or the Foundation Learning Diploma.
  • Courses will normally include some Maths and English as well as your chosen subject.
  • Level 1 normally takes one year, after which students can apply to move up to a Level 2 course.

Please note that some courses requiring specialist skills not learnt at school (such as Motor Vehicle Maintenance, Carpentry, Bricklaying and Hairdressing) may require students to start at a lower level regardless of their GCSEs, unless they have experience of these skills.