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Level 3 and 2 Subject Structure

Following substantial changes that the government has introduced to A-levels and Level 3 BTEC subjects over the past four years, qualifications are structured as follows:

Academic A Level 3

  • A-levels are all linear. This means that all exams are taken at the end of Year 13. Coursework for the majority of linear A-levels has been removed.
  • For students who are predicted to achieve, or who have achieved 5 grades 9-7 at GCSE, including English and Maths at no less than grade 6, it is expected that they will choose four Level 3 subjects, predominantly made up of academic A Levels.
  • For students who are predicted to achieve, or who have achieved 5 grades 9-4 at GCSE, including English and Maths, it is expected they will choose three Level 3 subjects from the academic and/or vocational options.

Vocational Level 3

  • BTECs include both an examined element and (normally) a controlled assessment that is marked externally. The “scenarios” for these controlled assessments are normally provided somewhere between a week to three weeks in advance of the controlled assessment.
  • In addition, BTECs all have a minimum of 50% internally assessed coursework. For BTEC subjects worth two or more A-levels (called Diplomas or Extended Diplomas), the ratio of internally marked coursework is higher than for BTECs worth 1 A-level (known as Extended Certificates.
  • Diplomas are the equivalent of two A Levels. All other subjects on offer in this category are the equivalent of one A Level.


Level 2

  • If a student has not achieved grade 9-4 in English (either Language or Literature) and/or Mathematics, they must study these courses post-16 – a decision made by the government in the wake of the Raising Participation Age to 18. This means they will attend a re-sit class for English and/or Maths and be entered to take their exams again in either November or June. A grade 4 must be achieved in English and Maths in order to progress to Level 3 courses.