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Your Scottish Qualifications Certificate

This guide gives you all the information you need to know about your Scottish Qualifications Certificate What’s inside the envelope? There are various items inside the certificate envelope.

All of these items make up your Scottish Qualifications Certificate:


A letter accompanies all certificates.  This letter shows:

  • The address SQA sends your certificate to.  Your school/college gives us this address.
  • Your Scottish Candidate Number (SCN).  This nine digit number is unique to you.  If you ever contact us, you will need to tell us your SCN – this helps us identify your records.  It will also be used for all future SQA qualifications that you study.
  • SQA contact details, for any queries you may have.  You should use this number if you don’t understand your certificate, or if you need help understanding your results.

If you have sat National Qualifications, and you are receiving your certificate in August, the letter may also contain an extra dialogue box.  This box tells you that you have not achieved a National Course external assessment.

Commemorative Certificate

If you have achieved a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ), Scottish Baccalaureate, National Certificate, Higher National Certificate (HNC), or Higher National Diploma (HND), the next page inside your envelope will be a certificate commemorating this qualification. This ‘commemorative’ certificate shows:

  • The title of the qualification
  • The level you achieved
  • Your result (eg Distinction, Merit)
  • Your name
  • The month and year you achieved the qualification
  • The code of the qualification (we call this the Group Award code)
  • Your SCN

For Standard Grades

You will see the grade you have been awarded for the overall Course (eg Standard Grade English) and the individual Elements that make up that Course (eg Reading, Writing and Talking.  Grades are awarded at three levels:

Grades 1 & 2 = Credit level
Grades 3 & 4 = General level
Grades 5 & 6 = Foundation level
Grade 7 = Course completed

For National Courses 

National Courses include Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications.  Grades for these are awarded at A, B, C and D.
If your school/college put you forward for one of these Courses, but you did not achieve an A, B, C or D, this will be highlighted to you in the dialogue box that we mentioned in the Letter section above.

For some National Courses, Access 2, Access 3 and Skills for Work qualifications don’t have grades associated with them.  If you have achieved any of these types of qualifications, they will be listed beside your other Courses or Standard Grades.  If you only achieved some, but not all of the  individual Units that are required for the full Course, you will see these listed in the National Units column.  The result you got in your external assessment (exam) will also be listed here.

For National Group Awards

These types of qualifications are made up of groups of Units and/or Courses.  They will be shown in the National Group Awards or Customised Group Awards section of your certificate.  The Units and/or Courses that made up the Group Award will also be shown here.  An award of Distinction can be achieved for Scottish Baccalaureates (these are an example of a National Group Award).

For Units

Only Units that you have passed/achieved will be shown on your Certificate.  It will not list any Units that you have failed or didn’t complete.

The results for these qualifications will  be listed in the Grade column on both the Summary of attainment and the Detailed record of attainment sections of your certificate.  For the Interdisciplinary Projects belonging to Scottish Baccalaureates and for Higher National Graded Units, you may be awarded an A, B or C grade.

Summary of attainment

This part of the certificate summarises all the SQA Courses, Group Awards and stand-alone Units that you have achieved since 1994. So, it is a summary, or collection of all the SQA qualifications you have achieved so far – not just the ones you completed this current year. 

For this reason, it may be more than one page long, depending on how many qualifications you have.

Any qualifications you achieved before 1994 can be ordered as part of our Replacement Certificates service. Go to for more information.

The Summary of attainment includes:
  • a Qualification column – listing all the Courses and the levels you’ve achieved to date.  These will be listed by qualification type  - eg National Group Awards, National Courses, National Units
  • a Grade column – showing the grade you achieved for the Course (A, B, C etc)
  • a Date column – showing the month and year you achieved the Course/Unit
  • an SCQF Level column– this shows how demanding the qualification is, measured against the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework. Find out more at

Detailed record of attainment

This part of the certificate shows more information than the summary page, and may also be more than a page in length.  The Detailed record of attainment is not a cumulative report, and therefore only shows the qualifications you have achieved at this current time. 

The Detailed record of attainment includes:

  • a Code column – showing the code and level that we use at SQA for that qualification
  • a Qualification column –showing the Course codes and titles and the date achieved under a sub header of qualification type eg National Group Awards, National Courses, National Units
  • a Grade column – showing the grade you achieved for the Course (A, B, C etc)
  • a Date column – showing the month and year you achieved the Course/Unit
  • an SCQF Level column– this shows how demanding the qualification is, measured against the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.   Find out more at
  • an SCQF Credit Points column – these points describe how much learning has gone into the external assessment (exam) or Unit.  The number of credit points indicates the length of time that it has taken to complete the qualification.  One credit point represents an average of 10 hours of learning time.   Find out more at

For certain qualifications, the Detailed record of achievement may also include a recognition statement next to the relevant Course/Group Award.  For example, a Course that was taken in Gaelic would have a statement written in English highlighting that the Course was assessed and achieved through the medium of Gaelic.


This page of your certificate contains your Core Skills Profile and your SCQF Profile.  These are generated automatically from the qualification results you have achieved.  The SCQF credit points are cumulative and are updated each time we issue you a new certificate.

The Core Skills profile includes the SCQF level you achieved in each of the different Core Skills components. The highest possible level for Core Skills is 6.
The five Core Skills are:

  • Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Problem Solving
  • Working with Others

Core Skills are the five skills that are important for work.  They are built into many SQA Courses and Units, but not always at the same level as the Course or Unit itself.

In some circumstances, not all five Core Skills will be listed on your certificate.  This is because they weren’t all built into the Courses or Units you studied – perhaps only some of them were.  For example, an English qualification would include the Communication Core Skill, but not the Numeracy one.

Your Scottish Qualifications Certificate Explained

Hover over the certificate below to find out what each part means. (INFO to Candidate Advice/Appeals)

SQA Certificate

Sam Scholar

SCN: 007119798

Detailed record of attainment in August 2013

  Code Qualification Grade Date SCQF
Higher Maths
Mathematics 1
Mathematics 2
Mathematics 3
 A 082013

What does code mean?


This is what x27012 is

What does Qualification mean?

This column lists the title of the Qualification which you sat.

This is what x27012 is

What does Grade mean?

Grade is the grade of which you achieved in your subject.

This is what x27012 is

What does Date mean?

This is the date in which your certificate was issued.

This is what x27012 is

What does Level mean?

Level refers to the SQCF level .

This is what x27012 is

What does Points mean?

SCQF Credit Points Points are only given to the Units and the External Assessments that make up a Course or Group Award.

This is what x27012 is