Economics in my opinion is one of the most challenging subjects at A level and this, believe me, is a good thing! Students who take Economics at GCSE tend to stay on to take Economics AS but a large proportion of the class at AS level is made up of those who have had no lessons in Economics beforehand. It obviously puts students who have had prior engagement in Economics lessons at a slight advantage, but a complete beginner can pick everything up quickly because Economics engulfs us all.
What is Economics?
A textbook definition of Economics is that it is a social science that studies how society allocates its scarce resources in order to satisfy its unlimited human needs and wants.
Essentially the planet only has a limited number of resources, and as individuals we all have limitless wants and needs. Economics looks at the allocation of these resources.
As Economists we can understand fully the way an individual will react to various changes in their surrounding, however, when that one individual is multiplied tens of millions of times to represent an economy of our size, that predictability goes out of the window. In my opinion, Economics is the complete uncertainty of a number of predictable things.
What is the course like?
AS and A2 students study microeconomics and macroeconomics with a module in year 12 most probably on the housing market, and a module in year 13 for coursework:
Microeconomics is the study of individuals and firms, how prices are determined, how firms decide how much to produce, how competition in industries can completely change the way a business behaves.
Macroeconomics looks more at the economy as a whole and the intervention of government in Economics. It includes how and why the economy grows, looks at levels of unemployment, the rate of inflation and how the UK competes with other countries. The exchanges rate is looked at and, my favourite, the attempts to control the economy through interest rate set by the Bank of Englandís Monetary Policy Committee, the MPC.
The extra module in year 12 is a specialised paper on a particular area of Economics; most people opt for the housing market paper, where theories and concepts of Economics are applied to the specific housing market. Other options include Environmental and Leisure Economics.
The worst module in my opinion is the year 13 coursework module, the coursework is an investigation into a topic entirely of your choice. Such as the role of the MPC in the housing market, or the effect of introducing the congestion charge.
Why choose Economics?
Economics is a mature and challenging subject, and as a demanding lesson the rewards are fantastic. Economics is regarded as a highly academic subject and it will look good in the future when employers see that you have studied it. Also, Economics complements any other subjects, with aspects of the subject supplementing other A level choices.
Another massive advantage of choosing to study Economics is the department you will be studying in. The Business Studies and Economics Department is currently made up of Miss McCormick (the head of department), Mr Shelley, Mr Cubitt and Dr Kumar. All of the teachers are fantastic and excellent to be around. As the department is fairly small in comparison to others around the school, it is a close-knit environment with somebody around permanently to give you a hand with any work if you need it. Currently, Mr Shelley is the main Economics teacher, with Mr Cubitt taking lesson on macroeconomics too. One of the 3 classrooms used to teach contains about 13 computers, allowing lessons on current affairs to be developed by being sent off to complete tasks on the internet.
What do Economics students go on to do?
Students who study Economics at A level donít necessarily go on to become professional Economist. As an academic subject, all sorts of professions accept Economics A levels, purely as a sign that you have taken a challenging subject. Many students go on to university, many donít. Economics is such a vast, rewarding and interesting subject, it can lead you anywhere!