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BTEC national diploma vs A levels

(16 Posts)
choochoochaboogie Sun 30-Aug-09 18:30:38

DD is dyspraxic and as result hasn't done as well in GCSEs as expected and results certainly don't reflect her knowledge base. She just doesn't seem to be able to cope with exams - getting the info from her brain onto the paper seems to be a problem.

She now has the choice between doing A levels and a BTEC national diploma which is apparently more coursework and less exams.

She still wants the option of going on to university in 2 years time.

Does anyone have any experience of which would be best?? We don't want to set her up to fail and we want her to be happy and fulfil her potential. Any advice from mumsnetters pleeeeease ????

happilyconfused Mon 31-Aug-09 00:07:40

She may not get into Oxbridge - but so few do.

Kids I have taught recently got into Brighton, Manchester, Exeter and various London places with a BTEC National in Business. She will need to achieve at least a merit or pref a distinction to be awarded a place.

In addition it will help if she completes some relevent work experience.

drosophila Mon 31-Aug-09 00:20:22

Off track a little but was she not allowed a scribe given her dyspraxia?

frakkinpannikinAGRIPPA Mon 31-Aug-09 12:10:17

What does she want to do eventually? That will have a big impract on whether a BTEC diploma is sufficient preparation for a university course or not.

choochoochaboogie Mon 31-Aug-09 16:29:24

thanks for all this. she doesn't really know what she wants to do - part of the problem really - she is a very young 16 IYKWIM, she is not even sure that she wants to go to uni - just thinks she might :-S

At school it was not "cool" to be "special needs" and as her dyspraxia is not severe she refused to have further help from school and wouldn't accept the offers of teaching assistant help, extra exam time or a scribe. The school is quite competitive and short of cash and was happy not to have the hassle of forcing her to do it and I didn't want to force her either cos she seemed to be coping. We paid for extra tuition outside school and her tutors say they can't believe her results as they do not reflect her intelligence or knowledge base, which is why we think it must be the exams that are the problem and a couple of tutors have confirmed this as they are experienced at teaching dyspraxic children.

At the moment she seems most keen on doing an IT BTEC course.

happilyconfused Mon 31-Aug-09 17:20:31

In that case if she wants to do IT at Uni there will be no problem with the National Diploma or Certificate in IT.

Some people can get quite sniffy about BTEC but a good worker can develop a portfolio of work/skills that would leave a lot of A level students in shame.

LadySharrow Mon 31-Aug-09 17:29:14


I have seen lots of kids get into university with BTEC IT. It's no exams at all, but it's very hard work and the content covered at Merit and Distinction levels is definitely comparable to the A-level.

The only slight problem is that some (not all) Universities require A-level maths for some Computing courses. However if she's not going to want to do A-level maths anyway (and she'd need to be getting a B or above at GCSE to be comfortable with that IMHO) then the BTEC won't disadvantage her at all.

If she hasn't got C at GCSE for English and Maths I would suggest seeing if she could do a resit alongside in the first year.

KateF Mon 31-Aug-09 17:33:52

My brother suffered badly with exam nerves and opted for a BTEC in Business. He found it suited him far better than a traditional course and eventualy went on to a degree in business and finance and is now an accountant.

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Mon 31-Aug-09 17:52:08

I did a BTEC National Diploma in Business and finance, this was about 15 years ago. I believe they're equal to 2.5 a-levels.

It was more course work and I think only one module had an exam. I really enjoyed the course and went onto uni. Most of my friends went on and did marketing, business type courses. I applied for sociology and criminology courses and had plenty of offers.

When I was at uni I found I coped better with motivating myself than others who had done a-levels at school. At college doing the BTEC we'd been left to sort ourselves out unlike friends who stayed at sixth form and still ahd the teachers breathing down their necks for homework, etc.

mumeeee Mon 31-Aug-09 20:59:26

A lot of universities accept BTECH National Diploma and they also except the BTECH Certificate which is what DD2 did for Performing Arts she got DD(double ditinction) which is the equivelent to 2 A's.She is off to Uni this year,she did aslo get a C in A level English
Have a look at the UCAS Tariff table http:
DD3 17 is very like your DD she also has
dyspraxia and didn't really get on at school. She did An NVQ1 at in catering last yyear and really loved it and she also made a lot of friends. She is doing another course this year.

choochoochaboogie Mon 31-Aug-09 21:40:13

thank you - this is all very good advice smile

scarymamma Tue 01-Sep-09 14:32:05

Hi I teach BTEC Nationals and yes the ones I teach (science based) are ALL coursework. Many of my students use them as stepping stones into higher ed. I teach at an FE College and the handful of dyslexic students or those with other learning difficulties seem to get good Additional Learning support.
Qualifications now are given 'levels' - this is to allow comparison between the different ones. BTEC Nationals are considered as equivalent to A Levels. Edxcels website has useful extra info:- Edexcel link

choochoochaboogie Wed 02-Sep-09 20:45:16

Thank you smile

teadrinker1 Wed 07-Jun-17 12:10:33

Hi does anyone know if the BTEC National Diploma Level 3 in Sport is being changed. I am hoping that my son can start the course this Sept but am having some mixed messages about the course changing. Any help anyone ca give really appreciated. He would be doing the extended level 3 BTEC instead of A'Levels

merlottime Wed 07-Jun-17 18:16:37

Yes it is. It is no longer 100% coursework, there will be an exam. If you google the Pearson Btec website you will be able to get the spec.

teadrinker1 Wed 07-Jun-17 19:42:10

thank you!

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