Economics graduates are the best paid on average in the UK, behind only medicine and vets. If this isn’t your motivator, then the concept of Economics is about making choices. It is about how, as individuals and groups, we get the things we want to buy and the services we need and want. From a £5 flight to Barcelona to a penny off income tax, from a National Health Service that’s free at the point of use to the price of a can of beans – Economics helps people understand why things are the way they are and why changes happen.
Economics isn’t just about money and it isn’t just about the decisions made by governments or big business. It is about making choices between different uses of limited resources – and most of the resources we need to use in our lives are limited in some way or another. By the end of this course students develop an understanding of current economic issues, problems and institutions that affect everyday life; apply economic concepts and theories in a range of contexts and appreciate their value and limitations in explaining real world phenomena. Students will learn to analyse, explain and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the market economy and the role of the government within it.
Students will develop an understanding of, and an insight into, microeconomics (understanding the behaviour of individual people and firms) and macroeconomics (understanding the behaviour of the economy as a whole). The two are taught concurrently, by two different teachers, across the two years of study. During the second year of study, the third synoptic exam paper is introduced, stretching the students to interrelate their macro and microeconomic theory in order to present more real world recommendations when faced with economic problems.
Before embarking on a study of A Level Economics, it is difficult to relate these quite abstract topics to the definition of Economics as “the study of making choices”. However, this is where the Social Science categorisation of Economics comes in to enable each of them to relate back to the core definition. Despite the complex scientific methodology involved, all of the content revolves around human decision-making and the consequences of those decisions with regard to economic welfare. As an economist, a student will develop their ability to assess the impact of those decisions and evaluate the overall positive or negative impact on welfare and society.
The new A level is assessed by a combination of data response, essay and objective multi-choice questions. Skills of data interpretation, analysis and evaluation are essential. 20% of the exam marks are based on quantitative skills and 80% on qualitative skills i.e. writing. The A Level is assessed by three x 2 hour exam papers, each of which included the different styles of question. One exam paper is based on microeconomics, one on macroeconomics and the final one on everything in the new specification.
Economics is an academically demanding subject; good numeracy and literacy skills are essential. The course involves writing essays, data interpretation and drawing diagrams. To demonstrate the essential mix of quantitative and qualitative skills students are required to have at least a GCSE Level 6 in Economics or an average GCSE score of 6.5 (new levels) if GCSE Economics has not been studied at GCSE.
All applications to Gravesend Grammar School Sixth Form must be made directly via our website. Our sixth form information evening is on Wednesday 13th January at 7pm, applications open on Thursday 14th January.
Last year, more than 50% of our A Level students applied to university to read for an Economics or combined Economics degree and 52% of them achieved A or A* at A Level. Many universities regard it as a “core” subject and, as such, it helps to access a wide range of degrees at the top universities. As a Social Science, Economics can often provide a bridge between maths/sciences and the arts and thus lends itself particularly well to joint honours degrees e.g. with Maths or History. Students often decide to progress in to the world of Finance with career objectives such as stockbrokers or market analysts.