qualifications explained cronton sixth form college a levels vocational courses

A Level or BTEC? The difference explained

At Cronton Sixth Form College we have a wide variety of A level and Vocational subjects for you to choose from. If you are unsure if you want to study towards an A level or Vocational programme this leaflet explains the difference to help you make the right choice.

But first, let us explain some things that are the same:

  • Both qualifications give UCAS points and are accepted by universities
  • Both are recognised internationally by employers
  • Both have access to the same outstanding student support, enrichment and quality of teaching at the college
  • Both require a high level of commitment to attendance at college and individual study
A Level Programme Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma
Entry requirements for Cronton Sixth Form College

A minimum of two Grade 5’s plus three Grade 4’s at GCSE, including a minimum of a grade 5 in English Language and maths.

Please see course information for individual entry requirements for each A level.

A minimum of five 9-4 Grades at GCSE, including a minimum grade 4 in English Language.

Please see course information for Individual subjects that also ask for grade 4 in Maths and a Grade 4 in specific subjects.

How many subjects will I study?

You will choose 3 seperate A level subjects to study over two years.

Specialise in 1 Career Area
You will specialise in one vocational area and learn everything within your chosen specialism.
How will I learn on the course? Emphasis on academic classroom based sessions with some practical elements. Emphasis on practical studio/workshop sessions supported by theory classes.
How will I be assessed? Exams at the end of your two year course. Certain subjects may have some coursework. Coursework, practical assessments and exams
On a BTEC Extended Diploma you will be working towards coursework portfolios from the moment you start on the course, with all assignments, practical assessments and exams contributing to your final grades.
How is it graded? A grade from A*-E for each A level subject
You will get a grade for each of your A level subjects at the end of your two year course.
Three grades of Pass, Merit or Distinction
At the end of a BTEC you will be given three grades which will include Pass, Merit or Distinction. Usually written as PPP, MPP, MMP, DDM, etc.
What can I progress on to? Each A level grade will give you UCAS points for University The three grades awarded are equivalent to an A level grade and awarded the same UCAS points.

A final grade of DDD is equivalent to achieving 3 grade A’s at A-level and attracts the same UCAS points for university. It is a popular and successful route into higher education. A BTEC also makes you very employable as it gives you the practical skills to go straight into the workplace.

Before you make the final decision on a course you will be given an advice and guidance interview where our Admissions Tutors will ensure that the course is right for you and will meet your future goals and aspirations.

Progression and UCAS Points

Students wishing to progress to university must apply through UCAS. University courses will all have entry requirements which amount to a number of UCAS points. Further information can be accessed through www.ucas.com.
To work out your UCAS points you can use the table below:

  • A level students: Add up the A level grade for each individual A level you have achieved.
  • BTEC students: Simply look at the line which represents the combination of passes, merits or distinctions you have achieved to see the total number of points.
A Level Qualifications
(remember to add all your subjects together)
A level Grades L3 Extended Diploma Grades
DDD 360
DDM 320
DMM 280
MMM 240
MMP 200
MPP 160
A PPP 120
B 100
C 80
D 60
E 40