Course Level and Type

You can study at Level 1, 2 or 3 after school. The Level you study at depends on your school results. You can move your way up through the levels until you have completed level 3, then you can go on to higher education at college or university. The table below gives an idea of what level you may be looking at:

  • What level should you study at?

    You can study at Entry Level, 1, 2 or 3 after school. The level that you start at depends on your school results. You can move your way up through the levels until you have completed Level 3, then you can go on to higher education at college or university or find employment. The table below gives you an idea of what level you may be looking at:

    GCSE Grades Level Types of course What next?
    There are no entry requirements E Skills for Living, Vocational Studies You can move on to Vocational Studies Extra or a Level 1 or NVQ
    4 Grade Es at GCSE including Maths and English 1 BTEC Level 1 Diploma, Prince's Trust, NVQ (1 year full-time) You can move on to a BTEC Level 2 programme or an Apprenticeship
    4 Grade Ds at GCSE including Maths and English 2 BTEC Level 2 Diploma, Apprenticeship or GCSEs, NVQ, VRQ (1 year full-time) You can move on to a BTEC Level 3 programme or an Apprenticeship
    5 Grade Ds at GCSE including Maths and English (many courses require a B in certain subjects) 3 A Levels, International Baccalaureate, BTEC Level 3 courses or an Advanced Apprenticeship, NVQ, VRQ (2 years full-time) You can go to university, study a higher education course at college or get a job

Specific entry requirements for each course can be found on the course factsheets, click here to use the course search.

There are lots of different types of courses available. Click on the links below for more details of the most common course types. If you have questions about the types of courses, you can contact our College Advisers.

  • A Levels – Level 3

    A Levels are ideal if you enjoyed your GCSEs and are ready to move up to the next level. Most students choose 3-5 subjects in the first year (AS Level) and then continue with 3 or 4 into the second year (A2 Level). There are exams and coursework throughout the course. Exeter College offers over 30 A Level subjects in traditional GCSE subjects like Maths, Biology, English and History as well as new subjects like Psychology, Law and Film Studies.

    Thinking of progressing to one of the Russell Group Universities? Click here to visit the Russell Group website to view their 'Informed Choices' guide to help you choose the right A Levels.

  • International Baccalaureate – Level 3

    We provide the International Baccalaureate to South West England. The IB is an internationally recognised qualification made up of six subjects including English, Maths, Science, a modern foreign language and an Art and Humanities subject. You also get involved in community projects and write a research-based essay. The course is equivalent to studying a full A Level course and involves exams and coursework.

    Click here to view our IB video

    Click here for more information

  • BTECs and Vocational Courses – Levels 1-3

    BTECs are well known vocational courses that can be studied at Level 1, 2 or 3. They are coursework based and give a balance of practical work and theory.

    BTEC Level 1 and Level 2 courses take one year and you can usually progress from these on to a BTEC at the next level.

    BTEC Level 3 courses are equivalent to A Levels and can prepare you for work or university. You can take them on their own (a BTEC Extended Diploma takes 2 years and is equivalent to 3 A Levels) or you can combine them with A Levels (a BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/Certificate is equivalent to 1 A2/AS Level and can be studied alongside A Levels to make a full-time programme).

    Other vocational courses may be called NVQ or VRQ and are practical courses preparing you for the workplace, you can progress from a Level 2 NVQ on to a Level 3 NVQ.

  • Apprenticeships

    Apprenticeships give you practical work experience alongside studying and can be studied up to age 24. You need to find a job with an employer who will offer you an apprenticeship, then you will be assessed at work and spend one day per week studying at college. Apprenticeships start at either Level 2 or 3, depending upon your qualifications, in subjects such as motor vehicle maintenance, hairdressing, catering, engineering or customer service. For more detailed information about Apprenticeships click here.

    To view all of our apprenticeships click here.

  • Entry Level courses

    For students with no formal qualifications, we offer entry-level qualifications to help you to progress on to a Level 1 course or develop your skills for independent living, supported employment, skilled work or an Apprenticeship.

  • Courses for those not in education, employment or training

    We work closely with local organisations such as Careers South West, to ensure that students who are no longer in education, employment or training, can pick up new skills to return to study or find a job. These courses are often short (8-12 weeks) and may include work experience, one-to-one support and confidence-building activities. Find out more about them below:

    Positive Pathways
    Prince's Trust

  • plumbing student
  • cookery students
  • college students
  • student sat on a chair
  • lecturer talking to a student
back to top