A Levels and Vocational Courses

What is the difference between a-level and vocational courses?

One of the main differences between a BTEC and A Levels is the way students learn and are tested.

A Levels mainly involve two years of study with exams at the end, whereas BTECs are assessed throughout the two years through a combination of tests, coursework and practical projects.

Level 2
The entry requirements for Level 2 BTEC courses vary from college to college. Generally, Level 2 applicants are expected to have at least 3 GCSEs at grade 3

Level 3
As with A Levels, students generally need at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, to include English and Maths, to study a Level 3 BTEC.

Plenty of universities and higher education colleges will offer places onto degree and degree-level courses to students with 18 unit BTECs. If you opt for a 12 unit BTEC, most higher education courses will require you to have an A Level or AS Level as well. It's all down to the individual institution and course, so it's worth checking what level and combination of qualifications you might need if you already have an idea of what you want to study after Level 3. Many of our students go on to prestigious universities, while others enter the world of work and complete further study for degree or higher level apprenticeships

A Levels (Advanced Level qualifications) are a U.K subject-based qualification for students aged 16 and above. They are usually studied over the course of 2 years, and lead to qualifications recognised for entrance to higher education institutes in the UK and many others worldwide. Most higher education institutes require a minimum of 3 subjects.

Students choose which A-level subjects they want to study when they are doing their GCSEs, and admission is usually dependent on your GCSE grades.

You generally need at least five GCSEs at grades 4-9 / A*-C to be able to take A-level subjects. Sometimes you also need a 5 / B or above at GCSE in the subject you want to take at A-level. But this varies depending on the school or college you're going to so make sure you check this.

You usually study three or more A-levels over two years and they are assessed by a series of exams.

Further links to help guide you on A-Levels and vocational courses.
Not sure what to do after A levels or sixth form? | Ucas
Thinking about uni? | Undergraduate | UCAS
Further education and skills: Apprenticeships 

GMHigher - Young Persons Guide to Higher Education