Economics looks at how we can solve the world’s desire for unlimited needs and wants, with the scarce resources available. The A Level Economics course explores how governments, firms and individuals tackle this problem. Economics will give students the analytical and evaluative skills required to deal with a range of questions and issues that affect the world today.
Some of the sorts of issues the course will consider include:
- Why does the price of petrol fluctuate?
- What is the true cost of rising CO2 emissions and how can we solve the problem of global warming?
- What will be the impact of Brexit?
- What is austerity?
- Why do footballers receive such high wages?
- Why is education the solution to solving income inequality?
Economics can be a useful subject for any student looking to improve their analytical and communication skills; its mix of essay writing and mathematical analysis develops broad-ranging transferable skills.
A qualification in Economics is useful for many different career paths, including: Politics, Banking, Journalism and Business.
Economics is highly valued by employers who respect its rigorousness and the variety of mathematical and written skills it gives graduates.
Microeconomics examines the impact of decisions made by individuals and firms. This unit helps students understand the economic theory of supply and demand and how to apply this law to different markets.
It allows students to evaluate how well different economic theories explain our observation of economic agents such as individuals and businesses in the real world. It deals with issues such as environmental pollution and overconsumption of fast food. The merits and drawbacks of government intervention are also discussed.
Macroeconomics allows us to understand how the economy functions on both a domestic and global level. It encourages students to adopt a critical approach to their study of government policy through the development of their understanding of the limitations and conflicts, that are caused by decisions regarding taxation and spending. There is also a study of the application of policy instruments such as interest rates and quantitative easing.
Themes in Economics
Economics is at the heart of a number of key issues that have faced our society and will confront our future, such as: What will become of the UK? What happens to life after Brexit? How will the economy recover after Coronavirus? Why is the government in so much debt?
Throughout the course, students will apply economic theory to a variety of issues, developing skills that will allow them to form their own conclusions about what is best for society.
Economics looks at the causes of and solutions to many of the issues in the news, such as the rising cost of living, unemployment and environmental problems, whereas Business Studies covers the practicalities of running a business.
Economics A Level students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences. In recent years, these have included:
- Shares4Schools: an eight month national competition in which students invest real money on the London stock market
- Royal Economic Society Young Economist of the Year competition: Year One and Two students have the opportunity to enter this national essay writing competition with a first prize of £800
In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.
All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.
The course is 100% examination based; there is no coursework.
The exam board for this A level is AQA.
All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.
In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:
- Maths at Grade 5 and English Language at Grade 5
Students should have an interest in issues affecting the UK and global economy and good general knowledge of current affairs.
Students should have an enquiring mind, enjoy problem solving and like working with others.
What is Economics all about?
Economics looks at the behaviour of individuals, businesses and governments and attempts to understand their relationship. The sorts of questions you’ll cover on the A Level course include:
- Why are some countries rich and some countries poor?
- Why do women earn less than men?
- Why do prices increase?
- Why do we ignore information that could help us make better decisions?
- What causes recessions?
What’s the difference between Economics and Business?
Economics looks at the causes of, and solutions to, many of the issues that you may hear about in the news, for example the rising cost of living, environmental problems, and unemployment.
Business Studies is more about the practicalities of running a business and students will examine the areas of finance, marketing, operations management, and human resources.
Do I need to have studied Economics before?
No. Very few students have studied Economics at GCSE.
Are there opportunities for learning beyond the curriculum?
Yes. For those who want to challenge themselves further there will be plenty of opportunities through the Economics Society, extra reading and exploring the external marketplaces all around us.
Do I need to have an interest in Current Affairs?
Yes. Students should have an interest in issues affecting the UK and global economy and good general knowledge of current affairs. Students should have an enquiring mind, enjoy problem solving and working with others.
If this doesn’t sound like you then please don’t choose Economics. It’s really important you choose A Levels that you are going to enjoy studying because experience has shown us that students that pick subjects they love tend to do really well.
How important are essay writing skills and do you need to be good at Maths?
Essay writing is important for Economics as over 50% of the final exams are essay based. However, if you meet the entry requirements for the course we can teach you how to write great essays.
With regards to Maths, if you achieve a level 5 in Maths at GCSE you will be able to complete any of the mathematical questions in Economics, which tend to be analysing data, percentage of amounts, fractions etc.
Maths also helps because it means that you are a logical thinker and you need to be able to think and explain in a logical and sequenced manner – mathematicians tend to be good at logical thinking.
Do I need to study Maths A level alongside Economics?
No, not for A Level Economics. However, if you want to study Economics at degree level most courses require A Level Maths as well. There are other options at degree level, for example, you could do a joint honours with another Social Science or Business qualification, therefore Maths A Level is only usually needed for a straight Economics degrees.
Can I study Economics and Business together?
Yes. In the main, universities are looking for you to achieve the best possible grades with whatever subjects you choose.
If you love Economics and Business please do both of them, as you’re likely to do well if you choose subjects you are interested in.
The courses are significantly different, Business being more about how to operate a business and Economics more about the whole economy and how businesses operate within the economy and how they interact with consumers and the government.
What can I go on to do with Economics A Level?
Almost anything! A Level Economics is highly regarded by employers and universities therefore you could get a job, an apprenticeship or go to university. Economics opens up opportunities for you, so unless your chosen subject at university requires sciences or Maths, Economics is a brilliant choice if you’re interested in the subject.
Do employers value Economics A Level? – if so why?
Yes. Economics is highly valued by employers who respect its rigorousness and the variety of mathematical and written skills it gives graduates. Economics is highly valued because when you enter the workplace you already understand why organisations, consumers and the government make many of the decisions they do – this understanding is an important aspect of succeeding once your educational life is finished.
How much does an Economics graduate earn in comparison to other degrees?
A lot. In fact one 2019 study made Economics graduates the highest paid of all graduates. Employers really do value the skills and knowledge that Economics provides graduates with in the work place. This has resulted in higher wages for Economics graduates.