What will I study?
Economics teaches students to think logically and to use theories to understand how economies like the UK economy operate. At the core of the subject is the question of how we divide up our scarce resources, and how decisions resulting from this affect us all - in other words who gets what and why? It therefore studies all of society and the activities of various groups and institutions within it. This means studying the private sector and the effects of competition and comparing this with the public sector provision. This macroeconomic part of the course is what most people associate with economics. This includes economic growth, inflation, unemployment and international trade, and the difficulties that UK Governments face when they attempt to steer the economy in their chosen direction.
Economics in the second year of the course continues to build on the concepts and theories covered in the AS course. The specification again divides into microeconomics and macroeconomics. The former studies individual parts of the economy, such as the labour market, whereas macroeconomics examines the economy as a whole. The assessment at this level requires more extended writing. This develops research skills that are in high demand within business and industry. However, those students that have followed the AS course will find the A2 course highly recognisable.
During the course, students will have an opportunity to discuss issues such as:
- How do we get richer?
- Should motorists pay to use a motorway?
- What factors determine the price of things?
- Why are top professional footballers earning in excess of £100,000 a week?
- Should nuclear power or renewable resources provide our future energy needs?
To get a feel for the nature of the subject, it is worth visiting: www.tutor2u.com
A level Economics requires a reasonable level of numeracy but it is not mathematical. [Note: Students who wish to pursue the subject beyond the normal A-level into higher education are advised that A-level Mathematics will almost certainly be part of the entry requirements made by a university department. Indeed, entry to more competitive courses, such as those at Cambridge, LSE, Warwick and UCL require candidates to show considerable insight into the subject, and Further Mathematics is often required or recommended: see Mr Kettle in the Economics Office or Dr Holland in the Academic Office for further advice.]
The main skill that a good economist needs is the ability to analyse economic data, to interpret graphs and tables, identify trends and explain these using economic theory. The ability to see how one part of the economy e.g. the demand for cars, may affect other parts e.g. the demand for steel, is also important. This requires a clear mind and an ability to think and analyse logically and to write good English. During the course, students will be expected to collect and use information from many sources, including textbooks, quality newspapers, visits to business and government organisations, the World Wide Web and their own experience.
How will I be assessed?
Paper 1: Microeconomics & Paper 2: Macroeconomics (each 50% of AS)
1 hour 30 minutes each
Section A: 15 compulsory objective test questions i.e. multi-choice.
Section B: Data response questions – 25 marks available (short answer, plus one 10 mark analysis question.
Section C: Essay question (20 marks) – choice of 2.
Paper 1: A2 Microeconomics & Paper 2: Macroeconomics
2 hours each
33.3% of the total A Level mark (each)
Section A: Data response question (30 marks available)
Section B: Essay question – choice of 2 (25 marks available)
Section C: Essay question – choice of 2 (25 marks available)
Paper 3: Themes in Economics
33.3% of total A level mark
Section A: 30 compulsory objective test questions i.e. multi-choice (30 marks available)
Section B: Extended data response question (50 marks available)
Where will it lead?
Economics is recommended for students who are considering a variety of careers including accountancy, banking, insurance, stockbroking, management, administration, marketing, advertising and government, and can be usefully combined with both Arts and Science subjects.
Many students of A Level Economics continue to read the subject at university, whilst others enter courses, such as Accountancy, Management or Business Administration, which have an important economics element.