6 Alternatives To Traditional A Levels

ncs 5/12/2016

Let’s be real. Times are changin’ and nowadays there are so many choices that can help you take the next step to your future. Not sure about A levels? Don’t worry! Just because others are keen to do it, doesn’t mean it’s right for you! And depending on what you want to do, there may be better opportunities out there that can get you where you want to be. Check out these six alternate paths you can take! 

Advance Apprentice 

Get trained by an employer in your desired field and develop invaluable skills by doing an advanced apprenticeship! It’s the perfect way to get hands-on work experience and – who knows – get recognised by that place you really fancy working at, who may want to hire you one day! 

NVQ (National Vocational Qualification)

Do a job and get put to the test to gain an NVQ – it’s as simple as that! During a specific task, an NVQ assessor judges your performance and gives you the qualification to do it anywhere! The good thing is that it’s recognised by most employers too. Whatever your path may be in the future (employment, university etc.), getting your NVQ is a great start!


So if A levels don’t pan out like you expected, getting a BTEC is a good alternative. This is similar to A levels, but it’s mainly for those who achieved four A-C grades at GCSE. The difference between A levels and BTEC is that instead of being tested by exams, you’re tested through coursework.

International Baccalaureate

If you really know what you want to do, getting your IB leads you to a single qualification. There are main elements to the diploma with six optional subjects. You’re awarded points and need at least 24 to get the full diploma. If you’re looking to attend uni one of these days, the IB is very well respected at universities in over 100 countries. 

Cambridge Pre-U Diploma 

If your guilty pleasure is doing research (and lots of it) then you might want a Cambridge Pre-U diploma – a post-16 qualification but doesn’t have required components like the IB. How does it work? You choose three principal subjects out of 27 then complete an independent research project as well as a global perspectives portfolio. 

Go travel the world!

Err…this one’s definitely not on the A level syllabus, but maybe it should be! They say travel broadens the mind, and at any stage in life, there’s so much to be gained by seeing new places, discovering new cultures and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Think you might catch the travel bug? Go forth!

What are your plans after GCSEs? Tweet us @NCS!