Level 1/ Level 2 certificates


Level 1 / Level 2 certificates were designed to provide an alternative to GCSEs.

The purpose is to provide a qualification of the same size and level as GCSE which does not require controlled assessment and which has a linear structure and assessment by terminal examination.

The curriculum and assessment arrangements of Level 1 / Level 2 Certificates were based on those of IGCSEs and international GCSEs.


In line with GCSEs the qualifications span both Levels 1 and 2 of the Qualifications Frameworks in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

From their introduction in 2011 until examination in 2017 Level 1 / Level 2 certificates were graded A* – G in line with GCSEs.

For examination in 2017 onwards WJEC has developed a Level 1 and 2 Certificate in Latin, graded 9 – 1.

For examination in 2017 onwards, Cambridge has developed Cambridge International Level 1 / Level 2 Certificates graded 9 – 1 in the following subjects:

  • First language english
  • English literature
  • Mathematics

Unlike GCSEs, there are no prescribed assessment arrangements for Level 1 / Level 2 certificates.

Ofqual requires them to meet only their general conditions which all qualifications have to meet.

Level 1 / Level 2 certificates are generally characterised by a terminal assessment at the end of two years, which can include oral, written or practical tasks.

Further information

Links to awarding organisations’ websites and specifications:

UCAS has published Global Qualification Information Profiles for the following international GCSE qualifications:

Further information on Cambridge IGCSEs can be found at www.cie.org.uk/igcse

Further information on Pearson International GCSE can be found at International GCSEs | Pearson qualifications