Results and certification

Calculating your overall BTEC grade: Information for students

This page explains how to calculate the overall grade for BTEC qualifications.

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If you're not sure which BTEC you studied, ask your school or college.

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This section explains how to calculate the overall grade for older BTEC qualifications that started before September 2010 and are accredited on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

My BTEC certificate doesn't tell me what my overall grade is - should it?

Before 2004, all BTECs were pass/fail qualifications. This means that if you started your BTEC before 2004, you may have been awarded merits or distinctions for individual units but the highest overall grade you could receive was a Pass (P).

We began introducing the additional overall grades of Merit (M) and Distinction (D) for specifications written after 2004.

BTEC suite Additional overall grades introduced from...
BTEC Firsts September 2006
BTEC Nationals September 2004
BTEC Higher Nationals September 2010 (QCF specifications)

It is not possible to convert unit achievements into Merit (M) or Distinction (D) grades if these grades were not available on the specification you completed.

If you completed a BTEC and have received a certificate that does not indicate an overall grade, you received a Pass (P). Your Notification of Performance (issued with the certificate) will show how you performed in individual units.

My BTEC certificate shows an overall grade. How was it calculated?

To calculate your BTEC overall grade we:

  1. Convert all of the unit grades you received into points score.
  2. Add together the points you scored for all of the core units and select your best scores from any specialist units.
  3. Compare your total points score to the grade boundaries.

If you have completed two units with similar content we may not be able to use points from both units when calculating your overall grade. You can find more information on 'forbidden combinations' in the specification for your course.

How do I convert my unit grade into a points score?

To convert your unit grade into a points scores you'll need to know:

  • the grade you received for the unit (i.e. Pass, Merit or Distinction)
  • the size of the unit in Guided Learning Hours (GLH)
  • the number of points available for differently sized units
  • Guided Learning Hours (GLH)

At the beginning of every BTEC specification is a table that tells you the size of each unit in Guided Learning Hours (GLH) and the unit level.

In the example below both of the core units for the Edexcel BTEC Level 3 National Award in Applied Science (Applied Biology) are 60 GLH but some of the specialist units are smaller and only consist of 30 GLH. All of the units are Level 3, with the exception of Application of Numbers for Science Technicians, which is Level 2.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Award in Applied Science (Applied Biology)
Unit Core units GLH Level
1 Fundamentals of Science 60 3
4 Scientific Practical Techniques 60 3
Unit Specialist units
2 Working in the Science Industry 60 3
5 Perceptions of Science 60 3
6 Application of Numbers for Science Technicians 30 2
7 Mathematics for Science Technicians 30 3
8 Statistics for Science Technicians 30 3
10 Using Science in the Workplace 60 3
11 Physiology of Human Body Systems 60 3
12 Physiology of Human Regulation and Reproduction 60 3
13 Biochemical Techniques 60 3
15 Microbiological Techniques 60 3
16 Chemistry for Biology Technicians 60 3
18 Genetics and Genetic Engineering 60 3
24 Principles of Plant and Soil Science 60 3

Points

The table below shows how many points each grade is worth for units of different sizes.

Size of unit (GLH) Pass grade Merit grade Distinction grade
10 1 2 3
30 3 6 9
60 6 12 18
90 9 18 27
120 12 24 36

Therefore, if you were given a Merit for Unit 1 (a unit of 60 GLH), you scored 12 points.

The overall grade

Once you have calculated your points scores for each unit, you can add the points together and compare your total to the grade boundaries.

Towards the end of every BTEC specification there is a section called 'Calculation of the qualification grade'. This section contains a series of tables that show you the final grade you will receive, depending on the size of the BTEC qualification you took (Certificate, Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma) and the total number of points you scored.

The example below shows that you must score between 60-83 points to achieve an overall Merit grade for a BTEC level 3 National Award in Applied Science (Applied Biology).

Grade boundaries Overall grade
36-59 Pass (P)
60-83 Merit (M)
84-108 Distinction (D)

This section explains how to calculate the overall grade for BTEC qualifications accredited on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). This includes BTEC Level 2 Firsts, BTEC Level 3 Nationals and BTEC Level 4 and 5 Higher Nationals.

To calculate your BTEC overall grade we:

  1. Convert all of the grades you received into points score.
  2. Add together the points you scored for all of the mandatory units and select your best scores from any optional units. Any surplus credits will be listed on your Notification of Performance.
  3. Compare your total points score to the grade boundaries.

If you have completed two units with similar content we may not be able to use points from both units when calculating your overall grade. You can find more information on 'forbidden combinations' in the specification for your course.

How do I convert my unit grade into a points score?

To convert your unit grade into a points scores you'll need to know:

  1. the grade you received for the unit (Pass, Merit or Distinction)
  2. how many credits the unit is worth
  3. the number of points each credit is worth at the unit level

Credits

At the beginning of every BTEC specification is a table that tells you how many credits each unit is worth and the unit level.

In the example below all of the mandatory units for the Pearson BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Applied Science are worth 10 credits and are level 3 units.

Points

Towards the end of every BTEC specification (in 'Annexe G') there is a table that tells you how many points you score per credit for the grade you were awarded.

In the example below, at level 3 a Pass is worth 7 points per credit, a Merit is worth 8 points per credit, and a Distinction is worth 9 points per credit.

Unit Mandatory units Credit Level
1 Fundamentals of Science 10 3
2 Working in the Science Industry 10 3
4 Scientific Practical Techniques 10 3
Unit QCF Level Points per credit
Level 2 5 6 7
Level 3 7 8 9
Level 4 9 10 11

Therefore, if you were given a Merit for Unit 1, you scored a total of 80 points:

8 points per credit x 10 credits = 80 points.

The overall grade

Once you have calculated your points scores for each unit, you can add the points together and compare your total to the grade boundaries.

Towards the end of every BTEC specification (in ‘Annexe G’) there are also tables that show you the final grade you will receive, depending on the size of the BTEC qualification you took (Certificate, Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma) and the total number of points you scored.

The example below shows that you must score between 250-259 points to achieve an overall Distinction grade for a BTEC level 3 Certificate in Applied Science.

BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Applied Science

Points range above pass grade Grade
230-249 Merit (M)
250-259 Distinction (D)
260 and above Distinction* (D*)

This section explains how to calculate the overall grade for BTEC qualifications accredited on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).


Level 2 NQF BTEC Firsts from 2012 and 2013

Certification may show a grade of Level 2 Pass, Level 2 Merit, Level 2 Distinction or Level 2 Distinction*. If these are not achieved, a Level 1 grade may be awarded. Learners whose level of achievement is below a Level 1 will receive an unclassified (U) result.

Each individual unit will be awarded a grade of Level 2 Pass, Merit, Distinction or Level 1. Distinction* is not available at unit level. Learners whose level of achievement is below a Level 1 will receive an unclassified (U) for that unit.

D* is an aggregated grade for the qualification, based on the learner’s overall performance. In order to achieve this grade, learners will have to demonstrate a strong performance across the qualification as a whole.

  • complete and report an outcome for all units within the permitted combination. (Note that Unclassified is a permitted unit outcome)
  • have sufficient points across the core units - that is, 24 points
  • achieve the minimum number of points at a grade threshold from the permitted combination. See the Calculation of qualification grades table below.
  • complete and report an outcome for all units within the permitted combination. (Note that Unclassified is a permitted unit outcome)
  • have sufficient points across the core units - that is, 12 points
  • achieve the minimum number of points for a Level 1. See the Calculation of qualification grades table below.

The unit results for the NQF BTEC Firsts from 2012 and 2013 are reported on a five-point scale of grades. The table below shows the number of points scored per 10 guided learning hours (GLH) at each grade. Units are usually 30 or 60 GLH in size:  

Level Grade
Level 2 Distinction 8
Level 2 Merit 6
Level 2 Pass 4
Level 1 Pass 2
Unclassified 0

The qualification grade awarded is calculated from the combined unit achievement reported. A grade is awarded based upon the point attainment table shown below: 

Level and Grade Points for the Award (120 GLH)
Level 2 Distinction* 90
Level 2 Distinction 84
Level 2 Merit 66
Level 2 Pass 48
Level 1 24
Level and Grade Points for Certificate (240 GLH) Points for Extended Certificate (360 GLH)
Level 2:    
D*D* 180 276
D*D 174 270
DD 168 264
DM 150 234
MM 132 204
MP 114 174
PP 96 144
Level 1: 48 72
Unclassified 0 0

Please note: In addition to meeting the relevant eligibility requirements and obtaining the total points listed above, candidates need a minimum number of points from the core units in order to achieve either the Level 2 or Level 1 fallback qualification. Please see Section 10 of the specification for more information.


Level 3 NQF BTEC Nationals from 2012

These are Level 3 qualifications, and the certification may show a grade of Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction* or Unclassified (or a combination of these grades appropriate to the qualification).

Distinction* is an aggregated grade for the qualification, based on the learner’s overall performance. In order to achieve this grade (or this grade as part of a grade combination), learners will have to demonstrate a strong performance across the qualification as a whole.

Each individual unit will be awarded a grade of Pass, Merit or Distinction or Unclassified. Distinction* is not available at unit level.

  • complete and report an outcome for all units within the permitted combination
  • have achieved at least a Pass grade in all the core units. (Please note that for the Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Subsidiary Award, National Award, National Subsidiary Certificate and National Certificate in Children’s Play, Learning and Development, all the units within these qualifications are mandatory)
  • achieve the minimum number of points at a grade threshold from the permitted combination. See the Calculation of qualification grades tables below.

The unit results for the NQF BTEC Nationals are reported on a four-point scale of grades. The table below shows the number of points scored per 10 guided learning hours (GLH) at each grade. 

Level Grade
Level 3 Distinction 8
Level 3 Merit 6
Level 3 Pass 4
Unclassified 0

The qualification grade is calculated from the combined unit achievement reported. For the Subsidiary Award, grades are awarded based on the unit achievement shown below:

Qualification size: Subsidiary Award (180 GLH)
Unit 1 Unit 2 Award Grade
P P P
P M P
P D P
M P M
M M M
M D M
D P M
D M D
D D D*
Qualification size: Subsidiary Award (180 GLH)
Unit 1 Unit 2 Award Grade
P P P
P M P
P D P
M P M
M M M
M D M
D P M
D M D
D D D*
Qualification size: Subsidiary Award (180 GLH)
Unit 1 Unit 2 Award Grade
P P P
P M P
P D P
M P M
M M M
M D M
D P M
D M D
D D D*
Qualification size: Subsidiary Award (180 GLH)
Unit 1 Unit 2 Award Grade
P P P
P M P
P D P
M P M
M M M
M D M
D P M
D M D
D D D*

For the Award, Subsidiary Certificate, Certificate and Diploma sized qualifications, grades are awarded based on the point attainment tables shown below: 

Grade Points for the Award (GLH 360)
Distinction* 270
Distinction 252
Merit 198
Pass 144
Grade Points for Subsidiary Certificate (540 GLH) Points for Certificate (720 GLH)
D*D* 405 540
D*D 391 522
DD 378 504
DM 337 450
MM 297 396
MP 256 342
PP 216 288
Grade           Points for Diploma (1080 GLH)
D*D*D* 810
D*D*D* 792
D*DD 774
DDD 756
DDM 702
DMM 648
MMM 594
MMP 540
MPP 486
PPP 432

Please note: In addition to meeting the relevant eligibility requirements and obtaining the total points listed above, candidates need a minimum number of points from the core units in order to achieve the qualification. Please see Section 10 of the specification for more information.

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