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A Level Economics

<b>Course Overview</b> <br /> A Level Economics <br /> Exam Board: Edexcel <br /> Specification: 9EC01
Welcome to your ‘A’ level Economics course. This Introduction should provide you with all the information you need to make a successful start to your studies.
 
The Specification (or Syllabus)
 
This course has been designed to give you a full and thorough preparation for the AS level or A-level Economics 2140 specification,
set by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA).
 
The Subject Code for entry to the AS only award is 1141.
 
The Subject Code for entry to the A2 (A level) award is 2141.
 
There is no coursework for either the AS or A2 Economics examination.
 
Private Candidates
 
The AQA specification is open to private candidates. Private candidates should contact AQA for a copy of ‘Information for Private Candidates’.
 
 
 
 
 
Textbook
 
The course has been prepared in conjunction with the following
textbook:
 
Maunder, Myers, Wall, Miller: Economics Explained Collins Educational (revised 3rd ed. ISBN: 978-0003277586)
 
One easy way of acquiring accompanying textbooks is through the Oxford Open Learning website (www.ool.co.uk). Economics Explained
is a detailed text with superb diagrams. Most topics are accompanied by case studies so the applied economics is integrated
into the theory. This is very useful for the data response type questions.
 
Supplementary Reading
 
The more you read around the subject the better, so you could also look for the following books in libraries:
 
Alain Anderton: Economics Causeway (ISBN: 978-1902796925) and/or
 
Begg, Fisher & Dornbush: Economics McGraw-Hill (ISBN: 978-0077107758)
 
You will find most of the topics covered in these books. Use the Table of Contents and the Index to find the required reading. In fact,
you will find that it is essential to use the index even if you are using one of the two main recommended texts. For example, if you
want to find out about the idea of price system, you will find that Maunder’s index lists these as:
 
price system 22, 59-74
decision-making 60
definition 22
distribution 68-70
efficiency 66-7, 70
evaluating 70-2
growth 70
individual freedom 70
market economics 60-1
 
If you are aiming – as you should be – for a clear understanding of economics, you should not be content with your main course
textbooks. Try to obtain from your local library a few of the books recommended in the supplementary reading lists at the end of this
Introduction. The most valuable books have an asterisk next to them.
 
AQA also produces a reading list. One recent list is given below.
 
General Texts
 
All textbooks will cover the basic theory needed for this topic.
 
Title Author Publisher ISBN
 
Investigating Economics Davies B. etc. Macmillan 978-0333638088
 
Core Economics EBEA Heinemann 978-0435331016
 
Applied Economics: Griffiths and Wall Longman 978-0582306028
 
Here are some interesting but more specialised texts:
 
Environmental Economics Hodge I Macmillan 978-0333577714
 
The Economics of Social Le Grand J. & Macmillan 978-0333552582
 
Problems Robinson R (3rd edition)
 
Journals
 
The following have had relevant articles in the past.
 
Economic Affairs - Published quarterly by Blackwell Publishers.
 
The Economic Review - Published quarterly by Philip Allan
 
Publishers.
 
Fiscal Studies - Published quarterly by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.(0171 636 3784)
 
Teaching Business and Economics - Published by the Economics and
 
Business Education Association, lA Keymer Road, Hassocks, West Sussex, BN6 8AD (01273 846033).
 
The Economist - Published weekly by The Economist Newspaper Ltd.
 
General Information
 
Economics is a dynamic subject, with considerable relevance to current controversy. Your studies are designed to cover the basic
theory required for examinations at this level, together with up-todate data required to relate your theory to real life.
 
Examination papers are increasingly integrating the theoretical and applied parts of economics, so it is essential for you to keep abreast
of current developments. So, as far as possible, read a quality daily or Sunday newspaper, and/or a financial journal such as The
Economist.
 
You may find it helpful to keep a notebook with extracts of useful articles and information from your reading.
 
Mathematical Background Required
 
Knowledge of mathematics up to GCSE level standard is not required for this course. Students are, however, required in the
course to make simple calculations, understand percentages and fractions, and have the ability to construct a graph from simple
statistics. The use of algebraic formulae is kept to the minimum.
 
Using the Course Materials
 
There are six tutor-marked assignments and five progress tests located at strategic points in the course. Taken together, these are
the eleven pieces of work which you are expected to send to your tutor for marking. Suggested answers will be sent to you when your
work has been marked. Bear in mind that at ‘A’ level, simple description will not gain many marks. Analysis, i.e. clear logical
explanation is the key to success. You must read as widely as possible and try to consider different or conflicting views.
 
The tutor-marked assignments (or TMAs) occur after every three lessons or so. These test your understanding of topics in that particular lesson. If the lesson does not include a TMA, there will be a self-assessment test (SAT) instead. This takes the same form but
you are expected to mark this yourself. Suggested answers to the SATs are to be found at the end of each module. Even though you
are marking the work yourself, you are expected to approach the test with the same seriousness and to produce a detailed, formal
answer.
 
Progress Tests are more substantial than most of the TMAs and these test your understanding of the last four or five lessons.
Progress Tests include different sections for the multiple choice, data response, and essay-type questions you are likely to face in
your examination. If possible, the Progress Tests should be attempted under examination conditions without reference to the
rest of the course or textbooks.
 
There are also ‘activities’ in most of the lessons. These are ‘ruled off’ from the rest of the lesson and you should stop your reading in
order to tackle the specified task at this point. Answers may be found at the end of the lesson.
 
Because the course is designed to complement the accompanying textbook, there are some likely topics that are passed over fairly 
quickly in the course. This is because they are already more than adequately covered in the textbook. Conversely, this course goes
into greater detail on some topics which are considered lightly in the textbook.
 
The ‘AS’ level and 'A' level System
 
The Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level
 
Advanced Subsidiary (AS) courses may be used in one of two ways:
 
 As a final qualification, allowing candidates to broaden their
studies and to defer questions about specialism;
 As the first half (50%) of an Advanced Level qualification, which
must be completed before an Advanced Level award can be made.
 
Advanced Subsidiary is designed to provide an appropriate assessment of knowledge, understanding and skills expected of
candidates who have completed the first half of a full Advanced Level Qualification.
 
The Advanced Level (AS + A2)
 
The Advanced Level examination is in two parts:
 
Advanced Subsidiary (AS) - 50% of the total award;
 
A second examination, called A2 - 50% of the total award
 
Most Advanced Subsidiary and Advanced level courses are modular.
 
The AS level normally comprises two teaching and learning modules and the A2 comprises a further two teaching and learning modules.
 
These modules generally match the Units of Assessment (or Exam Papers).
 
Examination Flexibility
 
‘A’ levels allow for considerable flexibility in the taking of exams.
 
The two most popular options are:
 
 AS is completed at the end of one year and A2 at the end of the
second year;
 AS and A2 are completed at the end of the same year.
Economics ‘A’ level Introduction
 
Both of these options are open to students following this course as it is divided into two halves and follows the same modular sequence
as the specification.
 
Grading and Shelf-Life
 
The AS qualification will be graded on a five-point scale: A, B, C, D and E. The full A Level qualification will be graded on a six-point
scale: A*, A, B, C, D and E. To be awarded an A* candidates will need to achieve a grade A on the full A Level qualification and an A*
on the aggregate of the A2 units.
 
For AS and A Level, candidates who fail to reach the minimum standard for grade E will be recorded as U (unclassified) and will not
receive a qualification certificate. Individual assessment unit results will be certificated.
 
Unit results remain available to count towards certification, whether or not they have already been used, as long as the specification is
still valid. Candidates may re-sit a unit any number of times within the shelf-life of the specification.
 
The Examination Structure
 
This information is correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change. Prior to the examination, students should contact the exam board for the latest information.
 
This course is designed to match the requirements of the AQA 1141 (AS) and 2141 (‘A’ level A2) specifications. The exam consists of four
written papers (called units), two at each level.
 
AS Examination
 
Unit 1 – Unit Code: ECON1 Economics: Markets and Market Failure
50% of AS, 25% of A Level 1 hour 15 minutes examination
75 marks (100 UMS)
 
Section A: 25 compulsory objective test items (25 marks)
 
Section B: Two optional data response questions are set; candidates
answer one. (50 marks)
 
Unit 2 – ECON2 Economics: The National Economy
50% of AS, 25% of A Level 1 hour 15 minutes examination
75 marks (100 UMS)
 
Section A: 25 compulsory objective test items (25 marks)
Section B: Two optional data response questions are set; candidates
answer one. (50 marks)
 
A2 Examination
 
Unit 3 – Unit Code: ECON3 Business Economics and the Distribution of Income
25% of A Level 2 hour examination
80 marks (100 UMS)
 
Section A: Two optional data response questions are set; candidates
answer one. (40 marks)
One question will always relate to the global context and the other to the European Union context.
 
Section B: Three optional essay questions are set; candidates answer
one. (40 marks)
 
Unit 4 – ECON4 The National and International Economy
25% of A Level 2 hour examination
80 marks (100 UMS)
 
Section A: Two optional data response questions are set; candidates answer one. (40 marks)
One question will always relate to the global context and the other to the European Union context.
 
Section B: Three optional essay questions are set; candidates answer one. (40 marks)
NB For Units 3 and 4, it is assumed that you will tackle the EU question (Q.04) rather than the one on the global context (Q.01).
 
For both Unit 3 and Unit 4, Questions 01 and 04 will be data comparison/identification questions. Candidates could also be
asked to carry out a simple calculation based upon the data presented in the extracts.
 
For instance, for ECON3, candidates could be asked to perform a simple calculation such as working out fixed and variable costs,
marginal, average and total costs, or short-run and long-run costs.
 
For ECON4, candidates could be asked to perform a simple calculation such as calculating a percentage unemployment rate.
 
 
 
 

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