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Economics (AS/A Level) at New College Swindon

Course description

We live in interesting times.  Rising housing costs, reduced social mobility combined with increased government debt and problems in the Euro zone and are central to the lives of everybody.  The A level Economics course focuses on real-world economic problems and gives you an understanding of many issues which will shape your life and the world.


While there is a prescribed syllabus to follow, its flexibility allows it to be closely related to the changing economic events.  We have been able to discuss highly topical issues such as:

  • Should the Government do more to stimulate the economy?
  • To what extent should the government cut the budget deficit?
  • How should the government respond to forces squeezing middle and lower income households which are increasing inequality and reducing social mobility?
  • What is the best policy for curbing binge drinking?
  • Will house prices continue to rise?  And, if so, is this a desirable outcome?
  • Was the government right to raise university tuition fees?
  • Should Greece leave the Euro-zone and should the UK leave the EU?
  • Should the government do more to protect the environment and what environmental policies would do least damage to the economy?


Studying economics gives helps you understand different ways of organising the state and business.  You will become an informed voter with solid awareness of how business and government decision-making.  Politicians will fear you because they will know that you will be able to challenge many of their opinions using the method of economics – logical thinking which is supported by evidence!

We use a lot of numerical data but debate is central to our teaching too – it’s about evaluating opposing views (two economists rarely agree on anything), distinguishing opinion from fact, recognising bias and gaining the confidence to make your own financial decisions.  There will be no excuse for not having an opinion but at the same time we will challenge your political and economic assumptions.

Course content

For pathway A: AQA A level Economics at both AS and A level the course is split into two parts.

  • Microeconomics which explores the behaviour of individuals, firms and markets.  The main focus to explore government policy with regards to competition and inequality as well as whether and how governments should intervene in different types of markets e.g. agricultural, health care, alcohol, petrol etc.
  • Macroeconomics which explores the national and international economy – exploring how governments can increase economic growth, reduce inflation and unemployment and deal with the recession and the problems of high government and consumer debt.  Increased emphasis is also given to the impact of financial markets, the money supply, exchange rates and global shocks and globalisation on economic performance.


For pathway B: Edexcel A level Economics B is split into 4 themes with Themes 1 and 2 studied at AS and all four themes studied at A level.

  • Theme 1 introduces students to markets, consumers and firms.
  • Theme 2 introduces students to the winder economic environment.
  • Theme 3 introduces students to the global economy
  • Theme 4 explores how markets work.

Entry requirements

You do not need to have studied Economics before however an interest in current affairs is important. We offer two pathways for A level Economics.  For the first pathway, following the AQA syllabus you will need to have 5 GCSEs including grade B in Mathematics and preferably a Grade B in English Language.  For the second pathway following the Edexcel Economics B specification you will need to have 5 GCSEs including grade C in English Language and grade C in Mathematics.


Both pathways involve sitting tow exams as AS level in the first year and three exams for the A level in the second year with no coursework.  The AS exam is a standalone qualification and does not contribute to the A level grade.


For pathway A (AQA) at AS level the style of assessment uses multiple choice and data response questions.  This is similar for the A level exams in the second year but with increased emphasis on essay questions as well.  For pathway B all questions are based around case studies based on real business contexts with a range of shorter and longer written questions with increased emphasis on questions requiring more extended answers at A level.

Future opportunities

Economics, confronts you every day if you open a newspaper or watch the news.  All governments must have an economic policy and Economists at the Treasury advice them on how to achieve their goals.  Economists are also employed in the City by banks and financial institutions for their ability to evaluate the prospects for the economy and identify business investment opportunities.  Economics also has direct relevance to many careers in as business management and accounting, banking and even – teaching.  It is useful for the media, politics – think you can do a better job than the prime minister one day? – here is where you begin to find out.


Many of our students combine Economics with Business Studies and other social sciences – Sociology, Politics, History and Geography.  Many go on to study it at university where the subject can become increasingly mathematical, therefore many (but not all) universities require an A level in Mathematics to do an Economics degree.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact New College Swindon directly.

Last updated date: 28 April 2016

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