A Level Business Studies

 

What is it about at sixth form level?

Business Studies is about the nature of business activity, how it operates and makes a profit, how it matches strategies to corporate objectives, and the internal and external influences upon business decision-making.

In other words, if you study Business Studies at sixth form level you will learn all about how and why businesses can become successful and how and why they can fail. The focus at AS level is on improving business performance and the decisions needed to achieve this aim. In the full A level you will study strategic decision making.

Lower sixth

In the AS year you will study business in different contexts and consider the importance of decision making and how to evaluate decisions, the competitive environment and markets as well as other issues related to external business planning. You will look at the importance of leadership, operational management, marketing actions, financial issues and human resources. Business analytical models are studied and used to evaluate real business contexts. Calculation work includes calculating break-even, profits, costs and cash flow, as well as price and income elasticity of demand. Management decision making tools, such as Decision Tree Analysis are also included.

Upper sixth

Building on what you have learned in the lower sixth, you will look at the impact of technology, Corporate Social Responsibility, and ethical and environmental issues related to strategic decisions. You will also explore the difficulties in forecasting future trends, the ideas of feasibility and risk and how strategic decisions impact on the stakeholders of a business as well as assessing financial calculation (such as Ratio Analysis and Investment Appraisal) to support decision making. Theoretical analysts are also studied in depth.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Studying Business Studies at A level will allow you to engage with the business world by following business developments and thinking critically about contemporary business issues. Most of the assessment material is based on real business situations. By examining and thinking critically about real business situations as you study the subject, you will gain an insight into different contexts which will help you to understand the key issues in any situation and compare and contrast this with other situations, as well as knowledge of key business theorists.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You will need to have obtained 5 GCSEs at A*-C including a C grade at English and Maths. If you studied GCSE Business Studies you will need to have achieved a C grade. Students that are knowledgeable about current affairs and keep up to date with business news will particularly enjoy this course.

How is the course assessed?

Lower sixth

Paper 1 consists of a 1 hour 30 minute written exam and is worth 80 marks. There are three compulsory sections. Section A has 10 multiple choice questions worth 10 marks. Section B has short answer questions worth 20 marks each. Section C has two data response stimuli with questions worth 25 marks each. Paper 2 consists of a 1 hour 30 minute written exam. The examination consists of one compulsory case study consisting of approximately seven questions. Papers 1 and 2 will be sat at the end of the AS year, with each paper contributing 50% towards the stand-alone AS qualification. Exams sat at the end of the lower sixth will not contribute towards the overall A level.

Upper sixth

Papers 1 and 2 will be similar to those sat in the lower sixth but will include all the A level content. Each exam will last 2 hours and is worth 100 marks. In Paper 1 there will be three compulsory sections. Section A has 15 multiple choice questions worth 15 marks. Section B has short answer questions worth 35 marks. Sections C and D have two essay questions worth 25 marks each. In Paper 2 there will be three data response compulsory questions worth approximately 33 marks each and made up of three or four part questions. Paper 3 will also incorporate all the A level content. It will also last 2 hours and be worth 100 marks. This exam will consist of one compulsory case study followed by approximately six questions. Each exam contributes 33.3% to the overall A level.

Reading

AQA A-level Business Year 1/AS 3rd edition
By Wolinski & Coates
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471836091

AQA A-level Business Year 2 3rd edition
By Wolinski & Coates
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471836114

AQA Business for A-level (Marcousé) (covers full A-level)
By I. Marcousé, A. Hammond, N. Watson
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471835698

Students are also expected to keep up with the daily business news channel, such as BBC Business.

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: AQA 7131, A level: AQA 7132

Anastasia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”

Julia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AABB

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”

Andrew

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”

Cynthia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*A

Progressed to
University College London (Economics)

“My subject teachers and Personal Tutor have been very patient and helpful in supporting my studies and university application.”

Akmaral

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”