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Business Studies A Level *Fees payable* at Brentwood School

Course description

What is Business Studies? Business Studies is a rigorous discipline that examines business decision-making processes and how these decisions impact on and are affected by internal and external environments, including the macroeconomic context of inflation and unemployment. As well as acquiring a detailed understanding of a body of theory which is constantly evolving, you will learn about contemporary business issues which will enable you to make informed decisions about how you manage, not just your personal finances in the future, but potentially those of large organisations. Students of Business Studies will constantly engage with topical issues in order to better understand how corporations of all sizes function. A strong emphasis is placed on critical thinking to ensure that business problems are assessed from a range of stakeholder perspectives. Analysis of business decisions is both quantitative and qualitative; data analysis is accompanied by a detailed written assessment of business strategies to consider alternatives and justify a particular approach. The course encourages the appreciation of ethical concerns and issues of social responsibility.

In a volatile and unpredictable corporate climate, Business Studies provides much interesting material to analyse. This broad-based subject regularly attracts large numbers of Sixth Formers at A level. 

In addition to meeting the assessment objectives set by the awarding bodies, the Business Studies Department encourages students to develop the following abilities:

  • Creative thinking and innovative business problem-solving
  • Effective communication using subject specific terminology
  • Financial capability to weigh up decisions
  • Skills in collaboration and leadership. We expect the acquisition of such skills to distinguish Brentwood students in the recruitment process and work place. 

The course aims to provide candidates with a critical understanding of the following:

  • The internal functions of contemporary business organisations of all types
  • The dynamic external environment within which businesses operate and the effects this can have upon decision-making within a business
  • Major topical issues that can generate change for business organisations and the ways in which businesses respond to these issues
  • The range of stakeholder perspectives that can be taken on business activities.

Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. A heavy emphasis is placed on student participation, presentation, research and independent teaming.

Independent research is particularly important in order to succeed in the extended essays required in the final paper. Guidance on suitable corporations and sources for research is provided by the Business Studies Department.

Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up to date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning.

It is recommended that all students follow the business news to gain an awareness of topical issues affecting national and multinational businesses. All students complete summer work before entering the Lower Sixth and this provides them with an excellent introduction to the topics that we study at the start of the course

Some Upper Sixth students choose to complete an Extended Essay in Business as part of their preparation to study Business and Management courses at university.

This year students have studied subjects such as the corporate culture of Google and the repositioning of brands such as Mulberry and Prada. This work is supported by regular tutorials with teachers to explore complex concepts and develop and understanding of how to present undergraduate academic work.


Course content

AOA A Level Business Studies consists of five key areas of study:

  1. Marketing
  2. Leadership and decision making
  3. Finance
  4. Operations management
  5. Strategic Change 

Entry requirements

A minimum of a grade B at GCSE Business Studies or equivalent is advised 


There are three examinations, all of which are synoptic, encompassing all five key elements Each paper is two hours long consisting of case study questions and essays. Approximately 80% of assessment is through extended answers and essays. 

The breakdown of marks across the three A Level papers is shown below.  Easter revision sessions take place in order to help students prepare for these final examinations.

Paper 1

33.3% of A Level - 2 hours

  • Section A has 15 multiple choice questions (IMCQs) worth 15 marks.
  • Section B has short answer questions worth 35 marks.
  • Section C and D have tow essay questions.  

Paper 2

33.3% of A Level - 2 hours

  • Three data response compulsory questions worth approximately 33 marks each.

Paper 3

33.3% of A Level - 2 hours

  • One compulsory case study followed by approximately six essay questions




Future opportunities

 Higher Education opportunities

 The majority of Brentwood Sixth Formers progress to undergraduate courses involving Business and Management. Because of the broad-based nature of the subject and its focus on highly transferable skills such as data analysis, communication and problem-solving, Business Studies is an extremely popular subject. For students interested in further study in this field there are numerous opportunities to combine the study of Business with other subjects such as a Modern Foreign Language or Psychology as well as options to specialise in areas such as Finance, Marketing or Human Resource Management.

Careers for graduates in this subject

A degree course in Business Studies is likely to have relevance to virtually all forms of employment, as well as developing expertise that creates opportunities to pursue careen in banking, accountancy, marketing human resources and general management. Those that are interested will gain knowledge of the fundamentals involved in setting up their own enterprise.

Further information

Sixth Form students are encouraged to attend Business field visits held both nationally and overseas. Students are invited to attend a range of regional conferences such as the Young Entrepreneur Conference which takes place in Central London each year and are encouraged to subscribe to Business Studies magazines, enter essay competitions and engage in Business Studies workshops.

 A number of visiting speakers come into school each year to present on topical issues. In the last year, students have attended talks with representatives from BP, Virgin Galactic and entrepreneurs in retail and investment analysis. Every two years the department takes a group of Sixth Formers on a Business tour of New York which includes visits to the UN, Federal Reserve and workshops on marketing and legal issues such as patents and trademarks.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Brentwood School directly.

Last updated date: 20 December 2016

Key information