Welcome to your Economics IGCSE course! This introduction is intended to give you all the information you need to make a successful start. Please read the introduction thoroughly before beginning the course to familiarise yourself with the IGCSE Economics syllabus recommended by Oxford Open Learning, and the format of the examinations. You may also need to refer to the introduction as you work through the course
The OOL course is complete in itself and you do not need to acquire any other textbooks in order to follow the course.
However, it is rarely a disadvantage to have read more widely, especially if you are aiming for the top grades (A* to C), so we recommend the following books:
Alain Anderton: Economics for GCSE (2nd edition) (publishers: Collins Educational ISBN 978-0003274295).
G F Stanlake: Starting Economics (publishers: Addison Wesley
Longman Education; ISBN 978-0582021891).
Adrian Lyons: Essential Economics (publishers: Hodder and
Stoughton: ISBN 978-0340683446)
One easy way to purchase supporting texts is through the OOL website (www.ool.co.uk). Current editions of these textbooks should also be available in any good bookshop. The first two books are aimed at GCSE students, the third is primarily aimed at ‘A’ Level students but should be accessible to those aiming for high grades or planning to continue with the subject.
The Aims of the Course
Economics is a subject with considerable relevance to current issues. Decisions in this sphere affect most aspects of life. Your studies are designed to cover the basic theory required for examinations at this level, together with up-to-date data required to relate your theory to real life. The overall aim of the course can, then, be said to encourage the development of a basic economic competence which will help the student to play a full part in society.
As an examination, IGCSE, accordingly, puts less stress on purely factual recall. Instead, students are encouraged to develop economic understanding with much greater stress on interpreting data and applying economic theory to real life decision-making.
Examination papers now require you to show an understanding of applied economics, so it is essential for you to keep abreast of current developments. Try to read a good quality newspaper either each day or at the weekends when you may have more time. It is a good idea to keep a file of relevant articles, which deal with current economic issues. This practice will also make it far easier for you to relate your formal study to current topics and events.
The Financial Times may be the most obvious option, but another paper may be more approachable initially. The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Observer and The Independent newspapers all produce weekend business sections as well as relevant articles during the week. You can obtain access to useful journals such as The Economist and the various bank reviews via any public library or from W.H. Smith. Overseas students may find it possible to obtain The Guardian Weekly.
Although no prior mathematical knowledge is required students do need the ability to understand simple graphs and simple statistics, and the ability to manipulate simple arithmetical figures. Basically, you will need to know how to calculate simple percentages, simple fractions and how to construct a line graph. Particular attention has been paid throughout the course to provide detailed and specific explanations of the statistical material used in the lessons and if you have any difficulties, do not hesitate to contact your personal tutor.
The Choice of Syllabus
However, the course focuses on the requirements of one syllabus in particular – the Edexcel IGCSE Specification in Economics 4EC0.
The Edexcel Economics syllabus consists of four areas of subject content. Students are required to study all four areas.
A The Market System
– Demand and supply
– The role of the market in solving the economic problem
– The labour market
B Business Economics
– Competition– Public and private sectors
– Macroeconomic objectives
– Relationship between objectives and policies
D The Global Economy
– International trade
– Exchange rates