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Economics

A level

Economics will allow you to understand the significance of much of the information you hear every day on the news. It examines how society can make the best use of its scarce resources. Economics is a social science, going well with subjects from the arts and the sciences. It is a subject based on theories which are then applied to a wide range of everyday examples. For example, you might consider: why footballers’ wages are so high; why the price of a commodity such as oil rises and falls so often; whether students should pay for their higher education; why health care is free in the UK but charged for in the USA; what the consequences have been of a single currency in Europe; how the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Bank of England manage the economy; why the tax on cigarettes and alcohol is so high; why the government has banned smoking in public places and raised the age for buying cigarettes to 18.

Course content

1. Microeconomics

This unit examines the nature of the economic problem (scarce resources and unlimited wants) and how different societies resolve it. It goes on to look at how markets operate via Supply and Demand to set the price of goods and services, including workers’ wages, and whether markets are operating efficiently or not. The module then looks at what happens if the outcome determined by the market is not desirable, for example high levels of smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity, and the actions governments can take to correct this market failure. Finally, market theory is applied to the labour market and the theory of how wages are determined.

2. Macroeconomics

This module looks at large-scale issues. It focuses on different theories of how the economy as a whole operates, looking at the standard measures of a country’s economic performance such as inflation and unemployment levels and the difficult, and sometimes conflicting, measures governments can take to move to a more ‘desirable’ outcome.

3. Global economics

This section looks beyond the UK economy, examining the theory behind (and the reality of) international trade. The arguments for and against free trade are considered as are the benefits and drawbacks of globalisation. Theories of economic development are looked at to try and explain why some developing economies advance whilst others do not, and what may hinder, or help, that development.

Assessment

This is a totally examination assessed course. All examinations take place at the end of the two-year course. There are three written papers:

Paper 1: Economic Principles

1 hour 30 minutes. 30% of the total marks from multiple choice questions and short answer structured questions.

Paper 2: Exploring Economic Behaviour

2 hours 30 minutes. 30% of the total marks from two compulsory data response questions.

Paper 3: Evaluating Economic Models and Policies

2 hours 30 minutes. 40% of the total marks from three sections based on the three sections of the syllabus. You have to answer one question in each section from a choice of two.

In addition, all students will take the AS examinations at the end of the first year.

Is it for me?

You will benefit from Economics if you:

  • have an interest in current affairs and want to focus on real world issues and problems
  • have the ability to relate to theoretical models and to examine issues logically and systematically;
  • are keen to work with numbers (as 20% of the marks are from showing number skills) and diagrams.
  • can express yourself well, both orally in discussion and on paper;
  • are keen to carry out independent research to apply ideas rather than just listening and reading.

Entry requirements

At least 7 GCSEs at Grade 4 in a range of subjects including Maths and English . A Grade 4 or equivalent is required in Economics if taken at GCSE level.

Examination board: Eduqas

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