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 is 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.
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 will 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 complex data and ideas in written form is important. Quantitative and mathematical skills consist of 20% of the final grade, and so is crucial. Overall, you must have an interest in the wider world and in current affairs.
How is the course assessed?
At the end of the course students will sit three exam papers. Each paper will last 2 hours and worth 100 marks each. Paper 1 will cover the microeconomic topics in Theme 1 and 3. Paper 2 will cover the macroeconomic topics in Theme 2 and 4. Paper 3 is the synoptic paper and will cover all 4 themes. Paper 1 and 2 follow the same structure. Section A is short response and multiple choice. This will include data interpretation and calculations. Section B is data response and includes a 5, 8, 10, 12, and 15 mark questions. All questions from Section A and B are compulsory. Section C consists of two 25 mark essays. Students must answer only one of these essay questions. Paper 3 comprises of two sections; A and B. Both of these sections contain an extract and four exam questions of 5, 8, 12, and 25 marks. All questions are compulsory. Papers 1 and 2 are both worth 35%, whilst Paper 3 is worth 30% of the A Level grade.
To be confirmed at the start of the course
Edexcel AS/A Level Economics 2015
By A. Anderton, D. Gray
Published by Edexcel, ISBN 978-1447990550
Other texts will be recommended to students as required.
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: Pearson-Edexcel 9EC0
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