Most qualifications have a difficulty level. The higher the level, the more difficult the qualification is. There are nine qualification levels ranging from Entry level to Level 8. These are set by the government's Department for Education

Qualifications at the same level sometimes cover different amounts of the same subject. For example AS levels and A levels are both level 3, but you study AS levels over 1 year and A levels over 2 years. So you learn more about the subject at A level.

Almost all our 6th form courses are Level 3 qualifications, the exceptions being GCSE re-sits that are Level 2 qualifications. You can see the different levels below.

Entry level

Each entry level qualification is available at three sub-levels - 1, 2 and 3. Entry level 3 is the most difficult.

  • entry level award
  • entry level certificate (ELC)
  • entry level diploma
  • entry level English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)
  • entry level essential skills
  • entry level functional skills
  • Skills for Life
 

Level 1

  • first certificate
  • GCSE - grades 3, 2, 1 or grades D, E, F, G
  • level 1 award
  • level 1 certificate
  • level 1 diploma
  • level 1 ESOL
  • level 1 essential skills
  • level 1 functional skills
  • level 1 national vocational qualification (NVQ)
  • music grades 1, 2 and 3
 

Level 2

  • CSE - grade 1
  • GCSE - grades 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 or grades A*, A, B, C
  • intermediate apprenticeship
  • level 2 award
  • level 2 certificate
  • level 2 diploma
  • level 2 ESOL
  • level 2 essential skills
  • level 2 functional skills
  • level 2 national certificate
  • level 2 national diploma
  • level 2 NVQ
  • music grades 4 and 5
  • O level - grade A, B or C
 

Level 3

  • A level
  • access to higher education diploma
  • advanced apprenticeship
  • applied general
  • AS level
  • international Baccalaureate diploma
  • level 3 award
  • level 3 certificate
  • level 3 diploma
  • level 3 ESOL
  • level 3 national certificate
  • level 3 national diploma
  • level 3 NVQ
  • music grades 6, 7 and 8
  • tech level

 Level 4

  • certificate of higher education (CertHE)
  • higher apprenticeship
  • higher national certificate (HNC)
  • level 4 award
  • level 4 certificate
  • level 4 diploma
  • level 4 NVQ
 

 Level 5

 

  • diploma of higher education (DipHE)
  • foundation degree
  • higher national diploma (HND)
  • level 5 award
  • level 5 certificate
  • level 5 diploma
  • level 5 NVQ

 Level 6

  • degree apprenticeship
  • degree with honours - for example bachelor of the arts (BA) hons, bachelor of science (BSc) hons
  • graduate certificate
  • graduate diploma
  • level 6 award
  • level 6 certificate
  • level 6 diploma
  • level 6 NVQ
  • ordinary degree without honours

 Level 7

  • integrated master’s degree, for example master of engineering (MEng)
  • level 7 award
  • level 7 certificate
  • level 7 diploma
  • level 7 NVQ
  • master’s degree, for example master of arts (MA), master of science (MSc)
  • postgraduate certificate
  • postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE)
  • postgraduate diploma

 Level 8

  • doctorate, for example doctor of philosophy (PhD or DPhil)
  • level 8 award
  • level 8 certificate
  • level 8 diploma

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