Economics - A Level only

Exam Board: EDEXCEL

Expectations of Independent Study

Students are expected to carry out a minimum of 5 hours of additional study per week for economics.  The expectation is that you would read the textbook on the current and upcoming topics in class and make additional notes. This reduces the burden of copious note-taking, and allows students to be more actively involved during in-class discussions. Students are also expected to keep up to date with current affairs, by engaging in the news on a daily basis or subscribing to journals such as The Economist.

Entry Requirements

Standard entry requirements including attainment of Grade 9 -6  in Mathematics and English language. GCSE Economics or Business Studies are useful, though not compulsory but at least Grade 6 is required if studied at GCSE.

Why is it interesting?

Economics is a dynamic subject, as its constantly evolving with societies. It’s a unique social science that allows students not only a chance to improve their understanding of current affairs, but also develops their quantitative and analytical skills. Why are diamonds more expensive than fresh water, why is an oil-rich country like Venezuela in economic turmoil, does the minimum wage actually benefit people?  These are all areas that we look at within the subject of economics.  Major headlines, such as the U.S’s trade wars with China or the economic implications of the Brexit referendum are linked to Economics at their core. Studying Economics typically offers new challenges and a different way of thinking as popularised by best seller books such as Freakonomics!  In the world we as consumers want as much as we can possibly consume, however there is not enough to go around, Economics provides the answer as to why this happens.

What skills and knowledge will I develop by studying this subject?

Economics provides a unique blend of writing-based and quantitative subjects, and therefore provides students a chance to develop essential skills that will benefit them regardless of their field of interest in post-secondary.

At a microeconomic level, students study how individual markets work in areas such as commodities, transport, healthcare and education. This leads onto analysis of whether governments or markets should provide services (see the current debate about whether the railways would be better run if they were owned by the government). There is discussion about whether governments actually make markets work less efficiently, government failure (there might be even less investment in the railways because the government spends tax revenues on other priorities such as the NHS). In macroeconomics students are introduced to the workings of the economy where the links between different elements such as unemployment, inflation, economic growth and foreign trade are studied. A key issue currently is the very high level of government debt and the debate about whether we should stimulate demand with tax cuts or whether we should cut government spending, some of which may result in the loss of key services. 

This course would be suitable for students who have the following skills and interests:

Economics is a subject which will be suitable for students who want to be challenged and pushed their potential every lesson. In particular student will be suitable for economics if:

- Ability to work with numbers and information presented graphically or in diagrams.

-They are proficient constructing logical chains of reasoning to justify consumer, business and government behaviour. 

- Are able to provide an alternative viewpoint, questioning underpinning theory

- Demonstrate a sound ability to calculate and interpret statistical data

-Are keen to immerse themselves in the world of business and economics current affairs on a daily basis.

Economics will be of interest to anyone who wonders is interested about the impact of choice, and why we make those choices.  What do we lose/gain by making the choice.  This can be a consumer, business or government.  

What career pathways are open to me if I study this subject?

There is a specific shortage of academic economists in the universities at present because of the strong demand for economists elsewhere, mostly in the financial sector. Economics graduates are sought after by city firms and are ten times more likely to land financial jobs than graduates from other disciplines. Industry uses economists to predict growth, inflation etc. in the markets that they operate in. For example, Ford economists would be estimating the demand for cars whilst also estimating which economy would be growing strongly in the future so that they can exploit this. The government uses economists to plan government policy while the Bank of England is a big employer in its role of regulating the financial sector. The skills developed in economics are also useful in many other fields, such as engineering, finance, and political science.

Assessment Overview

3 Exams 

Paper 1 Microeconomics (100 marks -2 hours)

Paper 2 Macroeconomics (100 marks -2 hours)

Paper 3 Micro/Macro (synoptic – 100 marks - 2 hours)