16-18 courses explained

16-18 courses explained

Which course is right?

Whether you want to study A Levels or Vocational qualifications we are confident that as a result of our quality of teaching, our strong links with business and our reputation, we will help you progress and achieve. Below are examples of the different types of courses we have for 16-18 year olds.

You can contact our Course Information Team or come to one of our open days to find out more about our courses.

What are A Levels?

City and Islington College offers traditional  A Levels for 16-19 year olds. They’re highly valued by universities and employers and focus on academic subjects, although some are work-related. They are studied at Level 3 over a two year period.

Most A Levels are now linear. This means:

  • You must study these subjects for 2 years to get a qualification.
  • There will not be an AS exam at the end of Year 12. Your grade will be mainly based on A Level exams at the end of Year 13. 

Many students who choose this pathway will go straight to university.  If you study A Levels your final grades will be based upon end of year exams. 

You can choose from a wide range of academic subjects, many of which are not offered elsewhere in London, and which can lead to a wide range of rewarding degrees and careers. Most students take between three or four subjects.

You can view a full list of our A Levels on the course search.

Key fact: Last year more than 500 College students progressed to higher education after studying A Levels

The College offers superb facilities specially designed for A Level teaching.

What are vocational qualifications?

These qualifications are all about the world of work, across the full range of jobs, industries and professions.  They are all the qualifications that are not GCSEs and A Levels (GCEs) which are known as academic or general qualifications.  

Vocational qualifications can range from general qualifications where you will learn skills relevant to a variety of jobs, to specialist qualifications designed in collaboration with industry for a particular sector. They offer a mix of theory and practice, and can also include work experience. They can be studied at many different levels depending on your entry qualifications and experience, but the length of study will depend on the level you study at.

Below you can visit three of our centres which specialise in vocational qualifications:

Key fact: 339 vocational courses are offered by the College including 58 apprenticeships

If you are keen to enter employment now, but would like to continue studying then an Apprenticeship could be the answer. They enable you to earn while you learn, and develop the skills employers look for.

Please see Apprenticeships section for more information

What is a BTEC?

BTECs are gaining popularity as an alternative to A Levels, but they actually cover a whole range of academic levels. BTECs at levels 1 and 2 are equivalent to GCSEs, level 3 to A Levels, and levels 4 -7 hold the same status of achievement as a degree.

BTECs are vocational qualifications, rather than traditional academic courses. Typical subjects offered at BTEC level include Business Studies, Media, Engineering and Information Technology. Academic subjects like English or History are not offered at BTEC level. 

One of the main differences between BTECs and A Levels is the way they are both assessed. A Levels mainly involve two years of study geared towards a few big exams at the end, whereas BTECs are continually assessed via coursework and practical projects.  

Key fact: Many do not know that if you achieve three distinctions in your vocational qualifications, UCAS recognises these grades as the equaivalent of AAA at A Level. 264 of our students achieved these grades last year.

Follow this link to see some of the BTEC courses you can study with us.