Starting Sixth Form or college can be an exciting time for students but can also be incredibly stressful. Many students start new schools and study for qualifications they have never tried before. This can make the process difficult, particularly for students studying for relatively new qualifications such as T-Levels, for which there is sometimes little information online. In this article, we will provide the essential information about the T-Levels you need to make the best start to your qualifications. This article will particularly be focusing on how long these qualifications last and when they begin and end.
T-Levels start in September, usually at the same time as A-Levels. This is around the first few weeks of September. However, this time frame will depend on your specific school. They usually take around 2 academic years, and end in May-July of your second year.
While this should have given you a short answer to your question, please read on for further details about T-Level courses, and how they will work for you.
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When do T-Levels start in 2023?
T-Levels begin in September, at the same time as A-Level and higher BTEC qualifications. This is the same as many other college courses. Most students find that this is similar to their normal school term time, which is often reassuring when starting a new course.
If you want to discover whether you are suited to A-Levels or T-Levels, check out this article from Think Student.
The start of term is typically within the first few weeks of September. You will sometimes be expected to attend orientation events and course information evenings in the summer or before the start of the term. This is to familiarise you with the school or college where you will attend, as well as to give you further information about the course.
This helpful page from Pearson, the exam board that administers T-Levels, gives more information about how they work and some example timelines for what you could expect during your T-Level.
How long do T-Levels last?
T-Levels last 2 years. Most T-Level students complete their work within this time; however, some repeat a year or retake the course if they are unable to get everything done or want to improve their grades.
The technical qualification is the largest part of the T-Level and lasts around 1200 hours. It is split into the core component (with 2 exams), and an employer set project. There is also the occupational specialist component, which has another large project to complete.
During your T-Level first year, you will work on the core component, and occupational specialism work. You will take some exams in the core component.
During the second year, you will work on the final parts of your core work. You can also retake exams from last year if needed, as well as completing the employer set project and an occupational project.
This will take up most of your time. You also undertake an industry placement during the qualification. If you are interested in your future options after T-Levels, please read this Think Student article.
When are T-Level exams in 2023?
The core component assessment is made up of 2 exam papers, each lasting 2 ½ hours. These can be taken in May/June of first year, and you will get your results from this in August.
If you need to resit or decide with your tutor that you are not yet ready to take the assessment you can do it in October of the second year. You can also resit this for a final time at the end of the course, in May/June of year 2.
You are also expected to undertake an employer set project, given by Pearson in consultation with industry experts. It is made up of 4 tasks completed over a few weeks, with time to research and prepare beforehand. This is completed in first year along with the core component for most students.
Finally, the occupational component project starts in April of your second year, and you have until May to finish it. It will be completed within your college in exam conditions, at times set by your college or school.
When do you complete the T-Level industry placement?
An industry placement is another key part of T-Levels. This lasts a minimum of 315 hours (45 days) but can last longer.
It involves working with an employer that relates to your subject specialism to gain experience and practical knowledge about the job you may enter after finishing your T-Level.
The placement is a unique aspect of T-Levels and is graded by your employer after the required time is completed. Some students are even offered jobs after finishing their placement if they show high-level skills at the placement job.
Depending on your school/college, as well as what employer you choose, you can complete the placement as a block, on day release over several months, or a mix of these. There is no set time for when this should specifically occur during your T-Level.
For many students, the process continues throughout both years of the qualification in short amounts at a time.
If you would like to know more about the industry placement in T-Levels, and how it compares to apprenticeships, please check out this Think Student article.