From September all schools and colleges (including Oxford Sixth Form College) are moving to a new BTEC Business specification - which includes a small exam element - in place of the old, exam-free specification. But is this new version still a genuine alternative to A-Levels? The answer is a definite “yes”.
The new BTEC Business has only one formal exam, which accounts for just 11% of the final mark; in contrast, most A-Levels are 100% exam based. So BTEC is still ideal for students who want an alternative to traditional exams. There are also two or three controlled/supervised assessments (depending on the size of BTEC you are studying) – these are assignments completed in three hours in the classroom using pre-released material. All the remaining units are assessed by the teachers through coursework, so it’s still very different from A-Levels.
How specialised do you want your studies to be? A-Level qualifications require a student to split their time between three different subjects; with BTEC Business, you can achieve an equivalent qualification through focusing on different areas of just one subject. You can take the 4-unit BTEC Business Extended Certificate (equal to one A-Level), 8-unit Diploma (two A-Levels) or 13-unit Extended Diploma (three A-Levels), and achieve the equivalent number of UCAS points.
Why else is BTEC a good alternative to A-Levels? A-Levels focus on academic theory and apply it to exam questions. With BTEC, the theory is applied to real business situations, e.g. carrying out your own market research, looking at starting your business, organising an actual business event and developing a marketing campaign. The programme includes study trips to see how real businesses operate, with previous trips including Thorpe Park, Chelsea Football Club, Harry Potter World and Cadbury World.
In addition, our experienced team of qualified business teachers have all worked in industry; they include a former HR manager, bank manager, international buyer and sales manager. They really know what they are talking about!
At Oxford Sixth Form College we uniquely offer the BTEC Business Diploma (equal to two A-Levels) as a one-year intensive course. This is an exciting alternative to A-Level retakes or for students who want to change after one year of A-Levels but need a one-year course. Our typical UK student on the Diploma is aged between 17-19 and looking for those extra UCAS points to get into a great university. For younger students (aged 16) we run the two-year Extended Diploma (equal to three A-Levels).
Often parents are worried that universities won’t accept BTEC. In fact, over 95% of UK universities accept BTEC, particularly the Extended Diploma or Diploma with an A-Level (BTEC Plus). This year our students have received offers from Russell group universities including Exeter University (to study Law), Bristol University (to study Management), Leeds University (to study Politics and Economics) and Loughborough (to study Sports Management). Universities recognise the range of skills that BTEC gives students, including independent research, time management, analysis and evaluation.
So if you are hard working, motivated and looking for a genuine and internationally-respected alternative to A-Levels, BTEC Business could be the right solution for you. We're always more than happy to talk to students and answer any questions, so get in touch