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Qualification Credits and Levels

Qualification Credits and Levels

Credits and Levels

Every unit and qualification on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) has a credit value and a level.


Credit value

Credit indicates the amount of time an average learner will need to achieve a unit or a qualification.
One credit represents ten notional hours of learning.

For example, a unit with a credit value of 1 indicates a notional learning time of 10 hours, a 2 credit unit indicates a notional learning time of 20 hours and so on.

Similarly, a qualification of 15 credits, for example, indicates that it would take the average learner 150 hours of learning to achieve the qualification, 20 credits indicates that it would take the average learners 200 hours to achieve the qualifications, and so on.

Credit is therefore an indication of the size of a unit or a qualification.



Levels indicate the level of difficulty of a unit or qualification.

The levels range from Entry 1 to Level 8. (Entry has three levels: Entry 1, Entry 2 and Entry 3.)

To give an idea of what the different levels mean, you might find it helpful to know that GCSEs (grade A*–C) are Level 2, GCE A levels are Level 3 and a university degree is Level 5.

Open College Network West Midlands offers units and qualifications at:

  • Entry 1
  • Entry 2
  • Entry 3
  • Level 1
  • Level 2
  • Level 3
  • Level 4
  • Level 5
  • Level 6

If you wish to progress within a particular area, you might begin by working at, say, Entry 3, then move to Level 1 and then Level 2. Or you might begin at Entry 2, progress to Entry 3 and then Level 1. It just depends on your level of ability in your chosen area of study when you begin and how much progress you make.

You may decide not to move from one level to another: you may wish to achieve just one qualification at a particular level. Or you may decide to try and achieve a number of qualifications at the same level. For example, you could achieve Level 1 Employability and Development Skills and Level 1 Work Ready Skills.

If you want to find out more about the RQF, units, qualifications, credit and levels, visit the Ofqual website and navigate to ‘Qualifications and Assessments’.

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