Sixth-form a-level-economics

IB: Group 3 – Individuals & Society

Economics: Higher & Standard Level

What could this course lead to?

This course will provide a useful background for any careers in business and courses in Economics and Finance, Management Science, Development Economics, Business Studies and any related courses.

GCSEs required

It is not necessary for students to have any previous knowledge of Economics before starting this course.

What will I be studying?

Economics is a dynamic social science and is essentially about the concept of scarcity and the problem of resource allocation. Although there is a body of economic theory to be covered this has to be applied to real world examples. Students must use the media coverage of national and global issues to enhance their views, knowledge and understanding of the subject.

For both Higher Level and Standard Level courses the areas studied are:

  • Microeconomics – a basic introduction to the concepts of resource allocation and scarcity, the market forces of supply and demand, market failure and government responses
  • Macroeconomics – a detailed examination of the major economic issues facing countries e.g. economic growth, economic development, inflation, unemployment and income distribution
  • International issues – trade between countries, international trade organisations, exchange rates and balance of payments
  • Development economics – sources of growth and/or development, consequences of growth,     barriers to growth, evaluation of growth and development strategies

What benefits does this subject have for university entrance?

Studying Economics prepares students for further courses in the subject and related areas in higher education. The transferable skills of critical analysis, investigation and analysis developed during the course are of value for a whole variety of subjects.

What skills or learning approach do I need for this subject?

Students will develop the ability to analyse, explain and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the way markets operate and the role of government within them. Students must be willing to read widely and use the various news media to identify and understand the application of economic theory to real world problems.

How does the Higher Level differ to the Standard Level?

The Higher Level extends the study at Standard Level and introduces some extra topics such as the theory of the firm.

How is it examined?

Each examination paper will provide students with a choice of questions. Higher Level has three examination papers consisting of:

  • Extended response paper: (1.5 hours - 30% of total marks) on micro and macroeconomics
  • Data response paper: (1.5 hours - 30% of total marks) on international and development economics
  • Extension paper covering all topics: (1 hour - 20% of total marks)

Standard Level external assessment is through two papers consisting of:

  • Extended response paper: (1.5 hours - 40% of total marks) on micro and macroeconomics
  • Data response paper: (1.5 hours - 40% of total marks) on international and development economics

Will I need to do coursework?

For the internal assessment at both Higher and Standard Level students will produce a portfolio of commentaries on three topical articles illustrating different areas of the course. Each commentary is a maximum of 750 words in length, which constitutes 20% of the final mark.

Examination methods

Three examination papers for Higher Level Two examination papers for Standard Level

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