Why should you study Economics?

Ever wondered why you are paid so little in your part-time job?  Confused about why the cost of a ticket to your favourite festival has grown so expensive in recent years? Just why do the Government tax petrol and alcohol so highly?  How come airlines sell every ticket at a different price depending on when and where you buy it?  What makes the exchange rate vary so much when you want to exchange your money on holiday? Why are certain jobs very highly paid, whilst other essential careers are relatively poorly rewarded?  Are low interest rates good for the economy or not?  Why do some firms make enormous profits whilst others go bust?  What are the implications of Brexit for you, your friends and your family?  How does the UK Government try to help UK businesses compete in the global market?  Where are the major overseas threats to UK businesses?  Is the distribution of power in the global economy changing? Is immigration a positive or negative influence on the prosperity of the UK economy? Are generous welfare benefits the sign of a caring society or an unacceptable disincentive to work? If you want to find out the answers to these questions and others like them, then studying Economics is definitely something you should consider.

In actual fact, whether you realise it or not, you are already an important part of the economic ‘system’. You are undoubtedly a ‘consumer’ of products every single day, from clothes to technology to coffee to insurance;  your purchasing decisions influence the success of the firms you do, or don’t, buy from;  if you have a job, you are making spending & savings decisions with regards to your wages;  you are paying taxes to the Government via your purchases and present a burden to the NHS whenever you seek treatment for an injury or illness; your opinions and perspectives are influencing the economic decisions of friends and relatives, and in turn, their opinions are affecting your decisions.  Given that you are already inextricably entwined in the system, why not study and really understand it!

Our Economics Syllabus

At Ashlawn, we offer a 2 year linear course in Economics at A-Level, following the Edexcel ‘A’ Specification. The course is split into four themes, studied over the course of Y12 (Themes 1 and 2) and Y13 (Themes 3 and 4).
Theme 1: Introduction to markets and market failure
This theme focuses on microeconomic concepts. Students will develop an understanding of:

  • nature of economics
  • how markets work
  • market failure
  • government intervention.

Theme 2: The UK economy – performance and policies
This theme focuses on macroeconomic concepts. Students will develop an understanding of:

  • measures of economic performance
  • aggregate demand
  • aggregate supply
  • national income
  • economic growth
  • macroeconomic objectives and policy.

Theme 3: Business behaviour and the labour market
This theme develops the microeconomic concepts introduced in Theme 1 and focuses on business economics. Students will develop an understanding of:

  • business growth
  • business objectives
  • revenues, costs and profits
  • market structures
  • labour market
  • government intervention.

Theme 4: A global perspective
This theme develops the macroeconomic concepts introduced in Theme 2 and applies these concepts in a global context. Students will develop an understanding of:

  • international economics
  • poverty and inequality
  • emerging and developing economies
  • the financial sector
  • role of the state in the macroeconomy

How is it Assessed?
The Edexcel Economics ‘A’ course is 100% exam based.  There is no coursework option. There are three separate examination papers, each of 2 hours duration, as described below.  These are sat in the May/June of Y13.

  • Paper 1: Markets and business behaviour (Microeconomics – Themes 1 and 3)
  • Paper 2: The national and global economy (Macroeconomics – Themes 2 and 4)
  • Paper 3: Microeconomics and macroeconomics (Combined Paper from Themes 1,2,3 & 4)

What Skills do I need to study Economics?
To be successful, students should be strong both in terms of their ability to write concise, coherent and focused prose, but also be confident and accurate in their use of mathematical calculations and the presentation & interpretation of data. The ‘hierarchy’ of assessment criteria published by the examination board encompasses the following key components:

  • KNOWLEDGE – Being able to demonstrate knowledge of key terms/concepts and theories/models to show an understanding of the ‘theoretical’ or ‘rational’ behaviour of economic agents and how they are affected by and respond to economic issues
  • APPLICATION – Being able to apply knowledge and understanding to various economic contexts to show how economic agents are affected by, and respond to, economic issues in a particular industry, market or scenario
  • ANALYSIS – Be capable of analysing issues within economics, showing an understanding of their impact on economic agents
  • EVALUATION – Be able to critically evaluate economic arguments and use qualitative and quantitative evidence to support informed judgements relating to economic issues.  An ability to see, and articulate, BOTH sides of an economic idea is key to the achievement of the very best final grades