Qualifications Explained

A Level or BTEC?

The difference explained…..

At Raine’s Sixth Form 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 Raines Sixth Form A minimum of 5 A*-C GCSE subject passes including a minimum of 2 grade Bs.
Individual subjects will also ask for Bs or Cs in specific GCSE subjects for examples for maths you need a grade B in GCSE maths.
A minimum of 5 A*-C GCSE subject passes to include GCSE English Language.
Individual subjects may also ask for C grades in specific GCSE subjects.
How many subjects will I study? Choose 4 Separate Subjects
You will choose 3 AS subjects to study in your first year.
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.
You will sit AS exams at the end of your first year, these results will not count towards your final grade (apart from the AS subject you choose not to carry into A2, this grade can be used as UCAS points towards your university application).
100% coursework and practical assessments
On a BTEC Extended Diploma you will be working towards coursework portfolios from the moment you start on the course with all assignments 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 AS/A level grade will give you UCAS points for University
Each AS and/or A level grade equates to a number of UCAS points.
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 plus any AS grades for subjects you do not carry on for a second year to A level.
  • 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) BTEC UCAS Points
AS level Grades 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
A D 60
B 50
C E 40
D 30
E 20