Shrewsbury School

Economics: course details

The following information is taken from our document 'The Sixth Form and Beyond', which is updated each December. It can be downloaded as a pdf file.


 Economics is the study of how an economy functions, and how resources are allocated amongst competing claims.  By studying economics you will develop transferable skills including analysis, problem solving and evaluation and you will build up a tool-kit of economic concepts to apply to real world economic issues such as: should the UK join the Euro; are footballers’ wages too high; should taxes be raised; should benefits be reduced; how can we best reduce road congestion.

Economics is typically divided into microeconomics and macroeconomics.  In microeconomics you will study the operation of markets and market failure.  This involves acquiring knowledge and understanding of a selection of economic models and applying them to current problems and issues.  Models such as demand and supply, the operation of the price mechanism and causes of market failure are central to this part of the specification.  In macroeconomics, study is focused on the economy as a whole and includes the essential areas of growth, inflation, unemployment and international trade.  You will also study issues that are currently keenly debated such as UK membership of the EU and the impact of globalization on the UK economy.  As in microeconomics you will acquire knowledge and understanding of a selection of economic models such as AD/AS and apply them to current problems and issues.

Assessment

(three written exams; each lasts 2 hours and they are equally weighted)

1.   Markets and market failure

Section A: data response questions requiring written answers, choice of one from two contexts worth 40 marks
Section B: essay questions requiring written answers, choice of one from three worth 40 marks   

2.   National and international economy   

Section A: data response questions requiring written answers, choice of one from two contexts worth 40 marks
Section B: essay questions requiring written answers, choice of one from three worth 40 marks   

3.   Economic principles and issues

Section A: multiple choice questions worth 30 marks
Section B: case study questions requiring written answers, worth 50 marks

Paper 3 (Economic principles) includes questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to draw together their knowledge, skills and understanding from across the full course of study.

Economics is very different from Business Studies, which is primarily concerned with the practicalities of how firms operate in the real world.  Economics is much more conceptual, studying the theory behind economic factors rather than their effect on businesses.  There is strong emphasis on representing cause and effect in graphical form, so the ability to think logically is an advantage.  The skills you will develop means Economics combines well with a wide spectrum of subjects and is a good grounding for those who wish to enter the financial sector, management, business or politics.

Economics is a discipline which requires a combination of skills, and a successful Economics student will have strengths both in analytical and literary subjects.  

On the one hand, pupils require an ability to think logically and to be able to apply concepts.  It is therefore felt that if a student is not on target to achieve an at least an A in GCSE Maths then he/she may find the skills required (and further developed during the A Level) very challenging.  For pupils who are considering Economics at university, it is important to bear in mind that some universities require an A level in Mathematics.

At the same time, the Economics A Level includes examination through the medium of essay questions, and it is important that pupils have a strong grounding in the skills required for extended pieces of writing.

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