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Qualification Equivalency

Working out what subjects you need to study for different walks of life is tricky enough, never mind when these subjects can be studied in qualifications at different levels. Should you not get qualifications at the right level, you might not be able to progress onto the next phase of the journey to reach your goal. Whether this is A Level study, university level education or otherwise, making sure you obtain the necessary qualifications is essential.

If you’re confused about qualification levels, and you're asking questions like 'What is Level 2 equivalent 2?', take a look at this quick guide which is designed to paint a clearer picture of what different qualifications mean.

Entry level

An entry level qualification might be right for you if you’ve been away from learning for a long time and need help to build your skills.

This is similar to having:

  • 1 GCSE below grade G or 1
  • Functional Skills – entry level
  • Foundation learning – entry level

Level 1

A level 1 qualification is similar to having GCSE grade equivalents at grades D–G or 1-3.

And also:

  • NVQ level 1
  • GNVQ Foundation
  • Key skills level 1
  • Functional Skills level 1
  • QCF level 1
  • RQF level 1

Level 2

A level 2 qualification is similar to having GCSE grade equivalents at grade A*–C or 4-9.

And also:

  • NVQ level 2
  • GNVQ Intermediate
  • Key skills level 2
  • Functional Skills level 2
  • QCF level 2
  • RQF level 2

Level 3

A level 3 qualification is similar to an A level.

And also:

  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • NVQ level 3
  • GNVQ Advanced
  • Key skills level 3 ICT, and similar
  • QCF level 3
  • RQF level 3

Level 4

If you're wondering 'What is level 4 equivalent to?', a level 4 qualification is similar to a Higher National Certificate (HNC).

And also:

  • Certificate of Higher Education

Level 5

A level 5 qualification is similar to a Higher National Diploma (HND).

And also:

  • Diploma of Higher Education
  • Foundation degree

Qualification levels at a glance

qualification equivalents and comparisons

Qualification grading systems can also be a confusing aspect for learners. For instance, the new GCSE grading system which uses number GCSE grade equivalents as opposed to the traditionally used letters. If you would like to know more about the new GCSE grade equivalents, like what a grade 3 GCSE means, view our GCSE grades explained page.

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