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Economics A Level at Truro and Penwith College

Course description

Economics has been defined as the study of the allocation of scarce resources between competing claims and needs. The subject deals with a multitude of problems facing modern societies and governments. Economics has connections to many other subjects such as Politics, Geography, History, Business, Psychology and Statistics.

You will start off by exploring the nature of markets and their role in allocating resources in a modern economy. You will use the concepts of supply and demand to analyse markets. You will also investigate the central role of the government when markets fail.

Next, you will examine the performance of the UK economy. Here you will be introduced to how levels of macro-economic activity are determined and also investigate key national and international economic indicators, policies and problems.

Later, in year 2 you will focus on an understanding and analysis of the labour market and business structures. You will investigate the role of the government and examine key issues and policies effecting economic performance.

Finally the performance of the national and global economy is studied which gives an overall context and framework for economic analysis in an integrated and globalised world. Key topics here include international trade, development, sustainability, the financial sector and globalisation.

Course content

Year 1 Study

PAPER 1 Introduction to markets and market failure (Exam)

The aim of this part of the subject is to introduce you to the principles and method of investigation in Economics. You will study the basic economic problem, the role of markets and government intervention. The concepts of supply and demand will be utilised to derive prices in a market economy. Government intervention will be investigated when markets fail to deliver a satisfactory outcome. You will use case studies to examine contemporary issues facing policy makers.

PAPER 2 The UK economy - performance and policies (Exam)

Here you will explore the nature of the total UK economy. You will focus on how levels of income, employment, inflation and balance of payments are determined. You will investigate the formulation of government economic policy and learn how economies change and develop over time. Here you will gain an understanding of many of today’s front page news items such as issues regarding the Eurozone, the recession, austerity and taxation.

Year 2 Study

PAPER 1 Markets and business behaviour  (Exam)

The aim of this area of study is to build on the subject content covered in Paper 1. Here you will study business growth and performance, market structures, the operation of the labour market and government intervention. You will explore a range of business scenarios and develop analytical tools to investigate behaviour and performance. You will investigate wage patterns and levels together with legal and political influences on the labour market.

PAPER 2 The national and global economy (Exam)

The aim of this area of study is to provide a conceptual framework for the understanding, analysis and evaluation of overall macro-economic performance in national, regional and global contexts. Some of the key topics you will cover are comparative economic performance indicators and policies, trade and integration, the financial sector, development and sustainability and the economics of globalisation. Here you will learn more about exchange rates, interest rates, unemployment, inflation and other economic concepts relating to growth in the world economy.

PAPER 3 Microeconomics and macroeconomics (Exam)

This paper draws on the topics you have learnt from across the other four papers. Here you will be engaged with data response questions and open response questions where knowledge and understanding is tested. No new material is introduced in this paper but a full appreciation of the main themes and issues covered throughout the programme is required for success.

Entry requirements

The basic requirement is five GCSEs at grade C. Successful A Level students normally achieve grade A or B in a number of relevant GCSE subjects.

Specific entry requirements:

GCSE Mathematics B AND English Language B


Your achievement in this subject is dependent upon excellent attendance, punctuality and effort. You will learn in a friendly atmosphere, using a variety of assessment methods.

  • You will be assessed regularly on written work that is conducted either as homework or under timed conditions in class. You will be given feedback on your progress.
  • You will undertake mock examinations in each paper in advance of your final exams.
  • You will review your own performance in 1:1 sessions with your tutor.
  • You will be formally examined on each paper that you study. At the end of the first year you will sit two exams giving you the opportunity to attain the “AS” qualification. On successful completion of this year you may proceed to the second year where three more exams are taken at the end, so completing the full “A” level.

Future opportunities

A qualification in Economics is highly valued by many universities and employers alike. Economics is also an excellent subject to complement many courses such as Mathematics, Politics, Geography and History. Employers value Economics graduates for their analytical way of thinking and problem solving skills. Economics graduates are amongst the highest paid university graduates and there are numerous career options in the public and private sectors.

Further information

We encourage all students to read widely and conduct their own research into   economics. A wide variety of electronic resource material is available as well as a well-stocked Learning Centre.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Truro and Penwith College directly.

Last updated date: 15 June 2016

Key information