Government & Politics - AS and A Level

Exam Board: EDEXCEL

Introduction to the Course

By studying this course, students will acquire a wide range of skills including the ability to understand, summarise and interpret information from a variety of sources.

They will develop research skills, being able to sift through the mass of information available online, via news media, newspapers and magazines and extract and evaluate information that is relevant to a specific line of enquiry. Students will develop their essay-writing skills, learning how to structure their ideas effectively and construct a cogent and well supported argument.

A significant proportion of lessons will be spent debating and discussing theories, issues and key political events of the day, allowing students to develop their communication skills as well. Successful candidates will be able to work independently or in small groups as required.

Throughout the course they should collect information about topics they study from quality press articles, journals and online resources. They will also be able to keep detailed and well-organised class notes, work to a deadline and revise effectively for tests and exams.

Entry Requirements

Standard entry requirements and at least Grade 6 in GCSE English Language or History.

Course Content and Assessment

Unit 1 – Democracy in the UK: 1 hour 45 min exam (33% of final Grade)

  • Participation and voting behaviour: the nature of participation; participation through the ballot box
  • Electoral systems: the role of elections in a democracy
  • The nature of representation
  • Political parties: the role of political parties in a democracy and the ideologies of the main 3 parties
  • Pressure groups and protest movements: the importance of pressure groups to political communication and policy making in a democracy; pressure group behaviour.

Unit 2 – Governing the UK: 1 hour 45 min exam (33% of final Grade)

  • The British constitution: the nature and sources of the British Constitution; Devolution and the impact of the EU on sovereignty
  • The judiciary and its relationship to other ‘powers’ of government
  • Parliament: the role of parliament in the UK’s political system
  • Parliament and government relationships
  • The Core Executive: relations within the core executive; the prime minister and the cabinet system; policy making and implementation.

Unit 3 – The US Political system: 1 hour 45 min exam (33% of final Grade)

  • Comparative focus to the Similarities and differences with the UK.
  • Presidential and Congressional Elections
  • Parties & Pressure Groups
  • Civil Rights and society
  • Powers of the President, Supreme Court and Congress
  • Role and importance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Download Course Expectations (PDF).