A Level Business

 

What is it about at sixth form level?

Business is possibly one of the most practical and topical A level subjects. It demonstrates the interrelated nature of business using business models, theories and techniques to support analysis of contemporary business issues and situations. The content is designed to engage students through topics and issues that are relevant in today’s society. In addition to the classic business functions you will study key contemporary developments such as digital technology and business ethics, while the impact of globalisation is covered throughout the topics.

When Microsoft released their Tablet PCs in 2002, it was yet another example of a hand-held touch-screen device that did not succeed. It confirmed for many the view that such devices were not worth pursuing. A little over ten years later and Apple have made iPhones and iPads items no one wants to be without. Apparently rational adults have been found not so much queuing as camping outside of Apple stories for days to be first in line for their latest products. What makes Apple so successful a company? Can it continue in this vein? When a business fails, to what extent was its downfall foreseeable and avoidable? These are the sorts of questions that you will be thinking about.

Lower sixth

In the first year, you will study six different topic areas. Topic 1 (What is Business?) will introduce you to what businesses are and their objectives, different types of business and how the external environment can affect costs and demand. Topic 2 (Managers, Leadership and Decision-Making) will look at management styles, how decisions are made and the role and importance of stakeholders. Topic 3 (Decision Making to Improve Marketing Performance) looks at marketing objectives, accumulating and interpreting data, and how to use it to make decisions. Topic 4 (Decision Making to Improve Operational Performance) examines how to improve efficiency, productivity and quality. Topic 5 (Decision Making to Improve Financial Performance) looks at how to analyse financial performance and make financial decisions. Finally, Topic 6 (Decision Making to Improve Human Resource Potential) looks at how at different organisational structures and the employer-employee relation.

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will study four more topic areas. Topic 7 (Analysing the Strategic Position of a Business) looks at how to analyse internal position of a business and the external environment to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a business. Topic 8 (Choosing Strategic Direction) looks at how to choose markets and strategic positioning. Topic 9 (Strategic Methods) looks at changes in scale, innovation and internalisation. Finally, Topic 10 (Managing Strategic Change) looks at organisational cultures and how to implement strategies effectively.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Business Studies is an accessible introduction to the key external and internal issues common to all businesses, which are then applied to a wide variety of businesses in different industries. It aims to develop skills similar to those required by a business analyst; these skills will be useful for further study but will also enable A level graduates to look objectively and analytically at their own or other businesses.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

No prior knowledge of business is required or needed, just curiosity about why, for example, Apple is one of the most successful firms in the world, how the independent café near you survives alongside Starbucks or why cigarette manufacturing has left the UK but BMW has not. GCSE level Maths is preferred.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

Students sitting the AS will sit two exams at the end of the first year. Paper 1 (Business 1) covers Topics 1-6 and contains multiple choice questions, short answer questions and two data response stimuli with questions. Paper 2 (Business 2) also covers Topics 1-6 and contains one compulsory case study consisting of approximately seven questions. Each paper is worth 50% of the AS and lasts 1 hour 30 minutes.

A level

Students sitting the A level will sit three synoptic papers at the end of the second year covering all ten topics. Paper 1 (Business 1) contains multiple choice questions, short answer questions and two essay questions. Paper 2 (Business 2) contains three compulsory data response questions each made up of three or four parts. Paper 3 (Business 3) contains one compulsory case study followed by approximately six questions. Each paper is worth 33% of the A level and lasts 2 hours.

Reading 

AQA Business for A Level 1
By A. Gillespie, M. Surridge
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471836138 

AQA Business for A level 2
By A. Gillespie, M. Surridge
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471835827

Access to business websites such as BBC Business news, tutor2u, Financial Times.

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: AQA 2016, A level: AQA 2017 

Sarah Ratcliffe
Head of Department

Tiffany

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
Royal Veterinary College (Veterinary Medicine)

"I have loved MPW. The class sizes are very small and it is easy to ask questions. The teaching is really interactive and they all care so much about the students. My Director of Studies helped a lot with my UCAS statement, suggesting what to include and perfecting it with me. I honestly don’t think I would have go any university offers without her help."

Oliver

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A

Progressed to
University of Bristol (Law)

"I’ve had three fantastic years at MPW: I’ve had a happy time; I’ve met some amazing people; and, most importantly, I’ve left school knowing that I have fulfilled my potential, leaving with GCSE and A Level grades that I can be proud of. I feel that the teachers and Directors of Studies all care deeply about their students' futures and performance."

Nathaniel

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University of Edinburgh (History and Politics)

"All of my teachers have been great; they are experienced, friendly and treat us all like adults rather than teenagers. I’ve also enjoyed being in a city. There is so much to do and we’ve been on a lot of theatre trips after school which is something I hadn’t been able to do before. My favourite thing about MPW has been the people I have met."

Ella

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
King's College London (Biology)

"I would like to say a big thank you to my teachers. Everyone at MPW has been so warm towards me and my teachers are so friendly and willing. They also adapt to learning styles and have been sensitive about responding to my needs; they provide extra help when I need it but also give me space to absorb new topics or information when I need that."

Chris

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A

Progressed to
University of Bath (Mechanical Engineering)

"One of my favourite things about MPW is the people I have met, who are all really nice and really fun to be with. My Director of Studies was really enthusiastic which rubbed off on me. She also helped enormously with UCAS, taking the time to clearly explain what I needed to do and supporting me."