IGCSE Business Studies

The course

Business Studies examines the way business run, their strengths, mistakes and reasons for success or failure. Why do nearly 50% of business start-ups fail? How do over 50% survive their first few years? Why do four out of five products fail? These are the sorts of issues we will be looking at. You will be introduced to businesses ranging from a start-up juice bar to Hollister to Apple. You will learn about different forms of business organisations and business functions such as marketing, operations and finance and to appreciate the role of people in business success. You will also gain lifelong skills, including the ability to calculate and interpret business data, communication skills needed to support arguments with reasons and the ability to analyse business situations and reach decisions or judgements. 

The course is divided into six sections. In Section 1 (Understanding Business Activity) you look at the classification of businesses, business growth and size, business objectives and stakeholder objectives. In Section 2 (People in Business) you look at how to organise a workforce and motivating workers, recruitment, the selection and training of workers, and internal and external communication. In Section 3 (Marketing) you look at marketing, competition and the customer, market research, the marketing mix and marketing strategy. In Section 4 (Operations management) you look at the production of goods and services, costs, scale of production and break-even analysis, achieving quality production, and location decisions. In Section 5 (Financial Information and Decisions) you look at business finance, cash-flow forecasting, understanding basic income statement and balance sheets. Finally, in Section 6 (External Influences on Business Activity), you look at the impact of government actions on businesses, the growth of emerging markets, the impact of business activity on the environment and ethical issues facing businesses.

What skills do I need?

You do not need any specific knowledge or experience. You need the ability to analyse and make judgements based on evidence, as well as basic numeracy including the ability to calculate percentages and percentage change.

How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed by two written papers. Both papers cover all six sections. Paper 1 consists of four questions requiring a mixture of short answers and structured data responses. Paper 2 consists of four questions based on a case study, provided as an insert with the paper. Each paper lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and is worth 50% of the total marks.

Reading List

IGCSE Business Studies 4th Edition Paperback
By K. Borrington, P. Stimpson
Published by Cambridge, ISBN 978-1444176582 

Useful sources: www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/business/, www.bbc.co.uk, www.tutor2u.net, www.businessed.co.uk

Exam Board and Specification Code

Cambridge 0450

 

Sarah Ratcliffe
Head of Department