We explain the key difference between A-Levels and T-Levels - from subjects to assessments

What’s the difference between A-Levels and T-Levels?

Not sure what’s the difference between A-Levels and T-Levels? Don’t know which option is the best one for you? We’re here to help.

If you’re thinking about your next steps after GCSEs and whether A-Levels or T-levels are the right choice, this quick guide can help you:

Learn about key differences between A-Levels and T-Levels

Understand the methods of study and assessment, level of qualification and entry requirements, subjects available and the advantages of each

Consider which level 3 qualification would suit you best based on your skills, aspirations and preferred learning type

What are the main differences between A-Levels and T-Levels?

  • You usually study 3 or more A-Levels at once in different subjects, whereas you’ll only choose one T-Level
  • One T-Level is equivalent to 3 A-Levels, meaning they are worth the same amount of UCAS points (depending on the grades you achieve)
  • T-Levels are a new qualification introduced in 2020, whereas A-Levels have been around for a long time
  • There are lots of subjects you can study at A-Level, but there are currently only 20 or so T-Levels to choose from
  • A-Levels have an end-point assessment (an exam) to determine your final grade, whereas T-Levels are assessed with an end-of-year exam as well as the practical skills you gain throughout the course and your industrial placement
  • A-Levels are taught purely in the classroom, whereas with T-Levels you’ll spend 80% of the time in the classroom and 20% on an industrial placement
  • A-Levels are best if you have clear subjects that you enjoy, have an interest in or excel at; whereas T-Levels are the better choice if you have a good idea what you’d like to do for a job and want to take a qualification that is career-based

What are the similarities between A-Levels vs. T-Levels

  • They are both Level 3 Qualifications, which means they are the next step on from your GCSEs
  • Most providers will ask you to have 5 GCSE passes at 4-9/A*-C to study them, including Maths and English
  • They are 2 years in length and you’ll study them at college or sixth form
  • After A-Levels and T-Levels, you can choose to continue gaining higher qualifications: either applying to University for a degree course or pursuing other higher education offers such as a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or a Level 4 BTEC

Choosing between A-Levels or T-Levels

Now you understand the differences between A-Levels and T-Levels, you can start to think about which is best for you. Things to consider include:

  • Whether you have a career goal in mind
  • Whether you would like to go on to University and if your preferred course/uni has set entry requirements
  • Whether you would like to complete an industry placement to gain hands-on experience
  • Whether you want to have a practical element to your course to add variety and test what you’ve learnt
  • Where you want to study (fewer colleges and sixth forms offer T-Levels compared to A-Levels)
  • Whether you like exams or prefer a mixture
  • Whether you have set subjects you enjoy and are good at
  • Your experience attending open days to learn more about both choices – including the teaching staff and feedback from other students

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