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Post-16 Curriculum

Students attending post-16 at St.Colman's will normally four subjects at the start of their AS year. Depending on their circumstances, students may drop one of their subjects at the end of Year 13 ('cashing-in' their AS grade) and focus on the remaining three subjects for their A2 year.

Applied subjects (i.e. B.Tech qualifications) are only accreditated at the end of two years and therefore pupils do not have the option of dropping these at the end of AS year.

Students have a choice of subject types:


This is a one year modular course composed of two or three units. Most courses are assessed by examination or coursework or a combination of both. This is graded from A-E.


In the second year you take two or three units and are awarded the full A level which is graded from A*-E.


This level 3 qualification is mostly coursework based and is graded as Pass / Merit / Distinction which has equivalencies to A level grades and UCAS points.

What is a BTech qualification ?

This option offers a vocational route and a more enjoyable route for those who prefer a portfolio based course without formal examinations. Some pupils benefit greatly from opting for vocational courses as this raises their level of achievement.

If you enjoy a course and are confident that it matches your interest and suits your learning style then there is every chance that you will excel.

Entry to University courses can be gained by presenting high levels of achievement in a range of Level 3 qualifications. These include BTECs qualifications.

BTEC National Subsidiary Diplomas :

  • consist of x6 units of work
  • are 100% portfolio based assessment
  • run over two years 
  • use the grade descriptors of Distinction, Merit or Pass for each module

An overall level is awarded after the portfolio is completed and assessed by an examiner. This will be an overall Distinction, Merit or Pass.

If you obtain an overall Distinction in your BTEC National  you may- be judged as having the equivalent of an A level grade A and will be awarded the equivalent UCAS points of 120.


Does Queen's University accept BTEC Awards?

Yes Queen's does not ask students to achieve UCAS points, they ask for grades or the grade equivalent. They do not focus on the overall level achieved - instead they will specify the exact number of Distinctions and Merits required for each unit. In general, 6 Distinctions are considered equivalent to an A at A level. 3 Merits and 3 Distinctions considered a B.

Does the University of Ulster accept BTEC awards?

Yes - The University of Ulster accepts BTEC Subsidiary Diplomas. The admissions department will specify the exact number of Distinctions and Merits required for each unit. In general 5 Distinctions and 1 Merit is considered equivalent to an A at A level. 3 Merits and 3 Distinctions considered a B.

Who should be cautious about studying a BTEC?

Students hoping to study at a University in the Republic of Ireland (ROI)
Students hoping to embark on a degree courses in Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science Students hoping to study at Oxford or Cambridge.

Who should not take more than one BTEC option?

Students hoping to gain a place at St Mary's University College, Stranmillis College or another teacher training college in the UK.
Students considering some degree courses in Queen's such as Pharmacy where it is not permitted to take more than one applied subject / course.

Please see AS/A2 subject choice booklet below:

  • as a2 subject choices booklet 2020(2)


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