The BTEC First Diploma is a vocational qualification at Level 2. It is the equivalent of 4 GCSE grades A*-C.
The course is assessed in units of which 11-13 consist in total. Students are graded on their understanding of the unit by the grading of either a pass, merit or distinction (highest achievable). Students who wish to progress onto a BTEC National Diploma will usually need to attain merit grades or above in order to meet the entry requirements, however, this can vary depending on the college.
The First Diploma is regarded as equivalent in level to the GCSE. However some students who may have three grade Cs could progress onto a degree in a university providing that they have gained a distinction or a merit profile.
The usual entry requirements consist of a mix of GCSE subject passes at grades D-G or better. Equivalent entry qualifications are also commonly accepted, including an appropriate BTEC Introductory Diploma with a merit grade or higher.