A Level: Economics

Course title: Advanced GCE in Economics

Exam board: Eduqas

Subject specific entry criteria: You do not need to have studied Economics at GCSE to study the subject at A Level. However, you will need to have achieved a Grade 7 in English or Mathematics.

Course overview

You will study:

  • Economic methodology and the economic problem
  • Individual economic decision making
  • Price determination in a competitive market
  • Production, costs and revenue
  • Perfect competition, imperfectly competitive markets and monopoly
  • The labour market
  • The distribution of income and wealth: poverty and inequality
  • The market mechanism, market failure and government intervention in markets
  • The measurement of macroeconomic performance
  • How the macroeconomy works: the circular flow of income, AD/AS analysis, and related concepts
  • Economic performance
  • Financial markets, regulation and monetary policy
  • Fiscal policy and supply-side policies
  • The international economy
Assessment overview

Paper 1 Economic Principles

  • Written exam: 90 minutes (30% of A Level)
  • Section A – compulsory multiple-choice questions
  • Section B – compulsory structured questions to assess all of the A Level content.

Paper 2 Exploring Economic Behaviour

  • Written exam: 150 minutes (30% of A Level)
  • Compulsory data response questions covering all of the A Level content.

Paper 3 Evaluating Economic Models and Policies

  • Written exam: 150 minutes (40% of A Level)
  • Section A – Microeconomics
  • Section B – Macroeconomics
  • Section C – Trade and Development

One essay from a choice of two in each section to assess all of the A Level content.

Future progression

Economics courses at top universities are competitive and will have typical offers of AAA. Many Russell Group universities will require you to have studied Mathematics at A Level, although the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham do not. Degrees in Economics are very highly regarded by employers, and graduates in the subject often top the list of those achieving the highest salaries.

Having an A Level in Economics is also an excellent starting point for those considering a Degree Apprenticeship as the subject provides a robust grounding in the commercial awareness that is needed for work in many corporate settings.

Potential careers

Economics develops a very wide set of skills, knowledge and understanding. Those who can discuss economic, business and political issues are at an advantage in any workplace. Some Economics students will follow a traditional route and go into management, accounting and professional services fields, or into the broad array of opportunities within financial services. Perhaps less expected is the importance of Economics within sectors such as healthcare, where the challenge of scarce resources and many competing needs is particularly notable. Additionally, work in any role within any organisation, from a start-up to a multinational conglomerate, is made easier by a secure underpinning in Economics.

How to succeed in Economics

You will need:

  • to be able to make sense of data, reading from a table, graph or similar, question what the data tells us, and how reliable it is
  • to have empathy: if you can’t put yourself in someone else’s position, you will have no idea how they might react to changes in either the micro or macro economy
  • to question and understand bias and be able to follow an argument through a logical chain of reasoning
  • to be a confident communicator, as effectively arguing your position so that others understand, is essential.

You do not need to be an exceptional mathematician to take Economics at A Level, nor do you need to continue with Mathematics to A Level if you don’t want to. There is almost no Mathematics in Economics A Level.

However, as already mentioned, if you want to continue with Economics at university, please be aware that a very large number of courses at universities will ask for A Level Mathematics.

Economics does involve essay writing, but essays are very different to those in History or English. In Economics, essays will identify and outline a theory and then consider the extent to which the real outcomes follow the expected outcome, from the theory described. You need to be concise and accurate in your writing style, rather than creative or particularly wordy.

Take a look at our guide on wider research in Economics.