Economics

Advanced Level Economics at King Solomon Academy

Why study Economics?

Economics is a highly regarded subject that is not only fascinating and rigorous but it also leads well into further study at university for people wanting to so degrees in Economics, PPE, Business, Management and Accountancy. Economics uses models and theories to analyse the world we live in. If you enjoy understanding the world and want to be able to solve some of the major issues we face economics will provide you with the tools to do this.

What will we study at A-Level?

Economics is split into two main areas: microeconomics (the study of individuals, businesses and markets) and macroeconomics (the study of national economies and the international system. Whatever topic you are studying in economics, the goal will always be the same: to find solutions to the most important problems in the world.

In microeconomics we will try to solve problems such as:

How can we stop people consuming goods that are harmful to them, such as drugs, cigarettes and fatty foods?

Why do people continue to follow actions that they know are bad for them?

Why do professional footballers earn so much more than nurses? Is this fair?

In macroeconomics, the problems are a lot bigger but just as important:

Should the government raise taxes on the rich?

Why are some countries in the West rich and others, in Africa and South Asia still very poor?

Should we be placing tariffs on foreign imports?

At the heart of Economics is the problem of scarcity: the world has finite resources (e.g. raw materials, people able to work, money to spend, etc.) but society as a whole has infinite wants (i.e. we’d all like more goods and services). If resources are finite and human wants infinite, this means people cannot have everything they want and so ways have to be figured out to tackle this problem. An economist would say that to fully understand this problem and how to try to resolve it, one needs to study the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services – key activities that are collectively referred to as the “economy”. You will learn established theories which help explain economic behaviour. The theories are applied to a wide range of case studies so that students can better understand the changes and developments in the world around them.

The new syllabus launched by the government in 2015 means that the A level is now examined at the end of two years. AS exams will still take place in Year 12, but for students continuing to A2 they will not count towards the final grade.

There are three exams at A2, covering microeconomics, macroeconomics and international economic issues. At AS the exams are two papers covering micro and macro.

Economics exams are predominantly written and ask for your opinion on how to solve major issues. There is a mixture of multiple choice questions, short answers, diagrams and essay questions. Some basic mathematical interpretation is required, but all students can access this.

Anyone with an interest in knowing more about the way the world works. Students may take Economics in combination with a very wide array of other subjects – everything ranging from English Literature at one end to Further Maths and Physics at the other. A common misconception is that a strong mathematical background is important for the A level – this is not true; an ability to understand graphs and correlation is the only mathematical requirement. Beyond this, all that is needed is an ability to argue a case, to compare theory with reality and observe the differences, but these are skills needed for almost any AS/A2 level. As economics is all about understanding current affairs and the world in which we live, it works well with Politics and Geography. The use of Maths and diagrams to interpret the world means that it is often taken with Maths A level.

Economics is well regarded by universities as a rigorous A level, because of the analytical skills that it teaches. When it comes to careers, candidates with an A-level in economics are generally paid a higher salary on leaving university and are more likely to end up in a prestigious job. Typical careers that economics leads to are:

- Banking and finance

- Accountancy

- Politics and public policy

- Charity work and international development

- Journalism

- Business analysis

- Corporate law

In addition to the new content, you will likely develop a highly analytical mindset and have a greater understanding of how the world works. You will spend a lot of time interpreting graphs and data, taking part in group discussions, making formal presentations and writing complex documents. Key skills that you will develop are:

- Data manipulation and analysis

- Quantitative skills (see separate skills sheet)

- Investigative skills

- Research

- Analysis of research and arguments

- Evaluation and judgement

- Presentation of complex concepts

 

Which subjects complement a study of Economics?

Anyone with an interest in knowing more about the way the world works. Students may take Economics in combination with a very wide array of other subjects – everything ranging from English Literature at one end to Further Maths and Physics at the other. A common misconception is that a strong mathematical background is important for the A level – this is not true; an ability to understand graphs and correlation is the only mathematical requirement. Beyond this, all that is needed is an ability to argue a case, to compare theory with reality and observe the differences, but these are skills needed for almost any AS/A2 level.

What could I do next with an A level qualification in Economics?

Economics is well regarded by universities as a rigorous A level, because of the analytical skills that it teaches. When it comes to careers, candidates with an A-level in economics are generally paid a higher salary on leaving university and are more likely to end up in a prestigious job.

Which skills will I be developing through studying Economics?

In addition to the new content, you will likely develop a highly analytical mindset and have a greater understanding of how the world works. You will spend a lot of time interpreting graphs and data, taking part in group discussions, making formal presentations and writing complex documents.

Are there any extra-curricular opportunities to support my study of Economics?

We will take advantage of being close to the centre of one of the world’s greatest financial capitals. With the Square Mile and Canary Wharf a tube ride away, not to mention the economics in action in Church St market, there will be plenty of opportunity to visit places of relevance to your studies. KSA has links with LSE that we will make the most of to provide our students with a boost to their subject knowledge. Competitions such as Young Enterprise and stock trading simulations will focus your economic skills and demand a good level of understanding in order to win.

What are the KSA requirements for entry onto the course?

You must have achieved at least a B grade in Mathematics at GCSE to study Economics in the KSA Sixth Form.