Study Level

When signing up to study a course, one question a lot of students find themselves asking is which study level they should start on. All educational courses have different difficulty levels and so it’s important to ensure that you start on the right one for your ability.

We’re going to look at the different study levels and what they are equivalent to, before then explaining a simple way for you to work out and decide which level would best suit you to start on.

What Study Levels are there?

When it comes to secondary education there are eight different study levels, ranging from Level 1, which is equivalent to a lower grade GCSE all the way through to Level 8, which is equivalent to a PHD.

From Level 1 through to Level 3, qualifications are classified as entry level or foundation qualifications. These courses usually do not require previous qualifications in the level beneath them and can be freely studied by anyone.

Usually, Level 4 and above qualifications require students to hold a qualification in the level directly below. So for example, to join a Level 4 BTEC course, you would need to hold either A-Levels or a Level 3 Diploma and so on.

Below you will find a summary of study levels and the courses that fall into them:

Level 1 – Applies to Level 1 Diplomas, Awards and Certificate or lower grade (3,2,1) GCSEs.

Level 2 – Applies to Level 2 Diplomas, Awards and Certificates or GCSEs.

Level 3 – Applies to Level 3 Diplomas, Awards and Certificates or A-Levels.

Level 4 – Applies to Level 4 Diplomas, Awards and Certificates or HNCs or the first year of University.

Level 5 – Applies to Level 5 Diplomas, Awards and Certificates or Foundation Level Degrees.

Level 6 – Applies to Level 6 Diplomas or Bachelor Degrees.

Level 7 – Applies to Level 7 Diplomas or a Masters Degree.

Level 8 – Applies to Level 8 Diplomas or PHDs.

How do I Select the Level I Start my Studies on?

Open College advises students to be realistic and honest about their ability when deciding the level of study they want to start with. For example, if you studied a Level 3 Diploma 5 years ago in Drama and you’re now looking to go on and do a Foundation Degree in English, it may be more beneficial for you to study a Level 3 Diploma again in a related field before going on to the Level 5. This way you have given yourself chance to brush up on your study techniques and gives you more of a chance of completing the course successfully.

If you’re unsure of your capability, sometimes it’s a good idea to study a Level 2 Diploma or GCSE just to give your confidence in learning a bit of a boost and prepare yourself for your next step in learning.

Should you want any help or advice on selecting a course and its level, get in touch with one of our friendly team for assistance.