A Level Economics

 

What is it about at sixth form level?

Economics is everywhere. Each and every day people are making economic decisions – what to have for lunch and where to have it. Whether to save or to spend; whether to change job or not; whether to build a new school or a new hospital; each of these choices affects not only the entity making the decision but also others. It affects their incomes, their employment and their wellbeing. Economics is the study of how and why we make choices and what impact those choices have, right across the world.

It’s a challenging subject at any level. You should have an interest in the world, enjoy debate and differences in opinion, and should not seek ‘right’ answers. You should be willing to keep a sharp eye on real world developments, be prepared to have a view on issues, and to challenge the views of others. If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on in Greece, why Tesco has been struggling, and why the world has people starving while others are obese then Economics is the subject for you.

Lower sixth

You will study two broad themes. The first is markets. Why do people buy things? How do they value them and what determines what they will pay? The same ideas apply to apples, houses and even workers. However, there is a supply element too. Firms must be willing and able to supply goods and services at the right price. You’ll learn what determines that willingness. Yet sometimes markets go wrong. What, if anything, can governments do when markets fail? The second theme takes Economics into the wider world. You’ll learn about the causes of unemployment, the dangers of inflation, the benefits and costs of economic growth, how a national economy works, and how things link together. You’ll discover what might influence an economic variable and suggest possible solutions. Economic policy is thus a major aspect of this theme. 

Upper sixth

In the second year you develop the two themes considered at AS. You’ll use your understanding of how markets work to explore business behaviour. How do firms make, and keep making, profit? What determines how easy it is to enter a market? How does competition and firm behaviour differ between industries? The second theme is Globalisation. This takes the analysis of how economies work into the international arena. You’ll explore the causes and effects of poverty and under development in the less developed world before considering what can be done to tackle these problems. We’ll also consider developments in international trade and the roles of multinational companies and organisations such as the I.M.F.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Economics is vital as a tool for understanding the world. Everything we do is based in Economics. Every choice we make has an economic cause and an economic impact. If we want to see how the world works then we need to have some understanding of economic principles. The subject is far more than just ideas however. We’ll be observing events in the real world as they unfold and reacting to and offering comment and analysis of the news. It is thus an exciting and vibrant subject.

Economics builds analytical skills and the evaluation of source materials and data. You’ll learn how to analyse the real world, how to build and construct arguments and express ideas clearly in both written and oral forms.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

An ability to present analytical written work is important. Maths, while necessary, is not paramount. Most important is an interest in the world and a willingness to engage.

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 two compulsory sections. Section A has multiple choice questions and short answer questions. Section B has a choice of two data response questions, with open ended response possibilities. 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, 2 and 3 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. Paper 1 tests material from themes 1 and 3. Paper 2 tests material from themes 2 and 4. In paper 1 and paper 2 there will be three compulsory sections. Section A has multiple choice questions and short answer questions. Section B has a choice of two data response questions. Section C contains a choice of open-ended response questions. Paper 3 will incorporate all the A level content across all four themes. It comprises one data response question broken down into a number of parts, including a choice of extended open-response questions. Papers 1 and 2 are both worth 35%. Paper 3 is worth 30% of the A level grade.

Reading

Edexcel A Level Economics Book 1
By P. Smith
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471830006

Edexcel A Level Economics Book 2
By P. Smith
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471830051

Other texts will be recommended to students as required.

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: Pearson-Edexcel 8EC0, A level: Pearson-Edexcel 9EC0

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.”