RPL and Exemptions

Certa seeks to enable learners to avoid duplication of learning and assessment for the purposes of awarding credit. This is managed either via exemption, recognition of prior learning or equivalency.

Exemption: The facility for a learner to claim exemption from some of the achievement requirements of a regulated qualification, using evidence of certificated, non-RQF achievement deemed to be of equivalent value.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): A method of assessment that considers whether a learner can demonstrate that they can meet the assessment requirements for a unit through knowledge, understanding or skills they already possess and do not need to develop through a course of learning.

RPL must be claimed as part of a course, and the Centre is responsible for assessment and claiming credit. There is no difference between achievement of the required standards by RPL and achievement through a formal programme of study, therefore RPL appears on certificates as credit-bearing. There are three ways of recognising prior learning; these are listed in the RPL procedure (see bottom of page).

It is important to note that RPL is an alternative route to achievement and not an easy option or shortcut. Evidence must be produced for RPL which is subject to the same assessment and quality assurance requirements as applied to evidence produced as part of a course.

Equivalency: Equivalency is the transfer of credit from a unit, or units, from within the Regulated Qualifications Framework. To be counted as an equivalency a unit must have the same credit value (or greater) and be at the same level (or higher) than the unit, or units, to be claimed.  


Prior learning and achievement must be current, normally within the last three years.


  • Less than 50% of a qualification can normally be achieved through exemption or equivalency. At least 50% should be gained through new learning.

Certa reserves the right to exclude RPL in cases such as:

  • Licence to practice.
  • Health and safety requirements.
  • Regulated professions.
  • Work placement
  • In cases where units and qualifications are subject to external assessment.

Please see the Certa RPL Policy and Procedures  for further details