An introduction to A-level Economics

A brief overview from our A-level teachers.

What does it involve?

Economics is concerned with the supply and demand of goods and services. It studies how individuals, businesses, governments, and nations make choices about who gets what.

The subject is split into two main sections; microeconomics and macroeconomics. Macroeconomics looks at the big issues affecting the economy as a whole including unemployment, inflation, growth, exchange rates and so on. Microeconomics on the other hand looks at individuals, businesses and markets; the pricing of individual products like oil or gold, the salaries paid to different people, and the introduction of policies such as the sugar tax. It considers the range of policies that are available to the government to control the economy, such as the use of interest rates, taxation and government spending, and it examines the effect these interventions has on the distribution of income and wealth, on the environment, and on international trade etc. Economics considers the performance of different countries around the world, and the range of issues affecting both emerging and developed economies.

Taking this subject will provide students with a complete understanding of the economy which not only helps to develop an understanding of current affairs and world events, it also helps to create informed global citizens.

How is it assessed?

Economics is assessed through three 2-hour examinations. Paper 1 assesses microeconomic theory, Paper 2 macroeconomic theory, and Paper 3 is a synoptic paper that covers everything. Each paper contains a mixture of multiple choice, short and longer style questions which are based on case study information.

What skills and qualification do I need?

Economics works well with a full range of courses. For anyone who is considering taking the subject at University, it is strongly recommended that they should also take A-level Mathematics. However many students also study Economics alongside Science, Politics, History and Geography. Whatever the other subjects are, students must be interested in the world we live in, be happy taking part in discussions and debates, and be willing to share and justify their own point of view. A solid grasp of mathematics is essential and students must have at least a Grade 6 at GCSE. Being able to work out percentage change and understand index numbers is key, as is being able to analyse and interpret data and graphs. Although Economics is not an essay based subject per se, an ability to formulate a technical response in a structured way is very important.

University and employment prospects?

Most students who study Economics will go on to University to study a related-degree such as Economics, Finance and Banking, Global Development, Business Economics or Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE). A-level Economics will help students to develop a wide range of transferable skills, which are sought after by industries and employers. Career options are wide ranging, but can include Stockbroker, Statistician, Government Advisor, Civil Servant, Risk Analyst, Management Consultant, Quantity Surveyor and others.