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Students studying level 3 BTECs

Level 3 Qualifications Explained

For pupils leaving school, there is a huge range of options available to them in terms of what they can do next. From A-Levels and BTECs to T-Levels and Level 3 Certificates, there have never been more choices but with that also comes decisions to be made.

That’s where we come in. The team at Newman are well placed to help young people decide on the best possible programme of study for them, based on their learning style, GCSE results and future career aspirations and we will do our best to ensure each student who enrols with us is on the right courses for them.

But what are the options and what do they all entail? Firstly, we have A-Levels. Seen as the more traditional route, A-Levels are single subjects available in a wide range of subjects, from the more familiar subjects like English and Maths to other subjects not available at GCSE, such as Psychology or Philosophy. Most students who choose a pure A-Level route will choose three A-Levels, although it is possible to take four if you have good GCSE results. These three subjects will be mainly assessed through exams at the end of the two years of study, but here at Newman we do regular College Assessments (called CAPs) to practice and review progress, so you feel completely prepared when exam time comes around. Universities often ask for three A-Level grades as part of their entry criteria, or a certain number of UCAS points, with each awarded grade at A-Level being worth UCAS points to add up to your total. For more information about UCAS points, please click here >>

BTECs are an alternative to A-Levels, with Level 3 BTECs being the equivalent to either one, two or three A-Levels, depending on which BTEC you choose. BTECs offer a slightly different range of subject options and tend to be more focused on the world of work, with subjects like Business, Health and Social, Science, Performing Arts and Media Production being some of the most popular. These subjects allow students to study in a slightly different way, with a more practical approach including practical assignments and coursework as well as assessments.

An increasingly popular option for many students is to study what we call a mixed programme. This is where students are able to study a combination of A-Levels and BTECs together. Students can choose either one or two A-Levels with a BTEC alongside. This can be a double BTEC if one A-Level is chosen, or a single BTEC if the student wishes to take two A-Level subjects. This allows students to balance their workload with their assessment methods split between a mixture of practical assessments and course work as well as exams. Newman is one of the only Colleges that offer this type of study and the entry criteria for this unique programme can be found here >>.

T-Levels are the newest type of qualification, introduced in 2020 as an alternative to BTECs, these practical qualifications offer a real work-based focus, with all students completing a large portion of work placements throughout the course. This provides a combination of academic learning and real workplace skills that they can acquire on the job and are truly invaluable. The T-Level offer continues to grow, with the number of subjects increasing year on year. Currently being offered at Newman, we have Digital, Health, Science, Education & Childcare, Business, Media and Law.

Whatever qualifications you decide to study, know that the team at Cardinal Newman are here to support and guide you at every step. Contact the team for more help and guidance at For more details of the entry criteria for any of the above programmes of study, please click here >>.

Level 3 qualifications explained


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Cardinal Newman College,
Lark Hill Road, Preston, Lancashire. PR1 4HD