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Why Economics?

Are you looking for something different at AS and A Level, perhaps a new challenge? The study of Economics arises because there are limited resources in the world and infinite ways of using them. As such, the subject studies the nature, causes and allocation of wealth in society.

Economics is the science of management. Some of the key economic issues facing us are listed below:

  • Should the UK join the Euro?
  • What can the government do to solve the problem of road congestion?
  • Is the National Health Service underfunded?
  • Has the minimum wage been a good thing?
  • Are university top up fees desirable?
  • Will cancelling Third World Debt help the poorest countries?
  • Who benefits from Globalisation?
  • Has the smoking ban been a good thing?
  • Why is the price of petrol so high?
  • What are the causes of the Credit Crunch?

If you want to seek out and understand the answers to these questions then Economics is the subject for you.

Summary of content

This specification provides learners with a coherent combination of microeconomic and macroeconomic content that will develop an understanding of economic concepts and theories through a critical consideration of current economic issues, problems and institutions that affect everyday life.

Learners will have the opportunity to apply economic concepts and theories using a wide range of contexts and to appreciate their value and limitations in explaining real world phenomena. Learners will develop an appreciation of the complex and interrelated nature of economics and analytical and quantitative skills in selecting, interpreting and using appropriate data from a range of sources.

Learners will have the opportunity to develop an awareness of contemporary economic issues relevant to the Welsh economy and a broad understanding of the recent economic history of Wales using publically accessible information.


AS Units

Unit 1: Introduction to Economic Principles

Written examination: 1 hour 15 minutes

15% of A level qualification (37.5% of AS qualification)

Unit 2: Economics in Action

Written examination: 2 hours

25% of A level qualification (62.5% of AS qualification)

The AS specification is based upon the principle of creating an introductory broad, but basic, understanding of how markets and the economy work e.g. it introduces learners to the key concepts of demand and supply in both individual markets (microeconomics) and the whole economy (macroeconomics).

Learners will be required to use basic models to develop a critical understanding of economic issues and explore current economic behaviour, drawing upon data from local, national and international sources, including data which relates to the Welsh economy.

The AS content is divided essentially into microeconomics and macroeconomics.


Learners are required to understand that economics is a study of scarce resources and how those resources are allocated to various uses in a market economy. Learners will also be required to understand the economic behaviour of consumers, producers and governments. Learners need to be aware of the assumptions of the model of supply and demand and explain the way it works using a range of techniques. Learners need an understanding of the benefits of markets and how they work and the reasons why they may fail.

Learners will need to study the content areas below:

  • Scarcity and choice
  • Demand and supply in product markets
  • Demand and supply in labour markets
  • Resource allocation
  • Market failure


Learners are required to understand the use of economic models to develop a critical understanding of macroeconomic issues. Learners must develop an awareness of the historical context of economic ideas and theories and understand government objectives and policies as they relate to stability and growth in local, national and global terms, including reference to the Welsh economy.

Learners need to understand and evaluate the different policy options used by governments.

Learners should have an awareness of major economic issues that have taken place since 1990 to the present day.

Learners will need to study the content areas below:

  • Macroeconomic theory
  • Macroeconomic objectives
  • Policy instruments
  • International trade

A2 Units

Unit 3: Exploring Economic Behaviour

Written examination: 2 hours

30% of qualification

Unit 4: Evaluating Economic Models and Policies

Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes

30% of qualification

A level learners will be expected to use more complex micro and macro models applied to a wider range of local, national and international contexts, including data which relates to the Welsh economy. Learners will be required to develop a more critical approach to the evaluation of economic models and current economic problems. The synoptic essays will draw upon different elements of the specification content and evaluate alternative arguments and theories.

The subject content in the A2 has been grouped into three broad areas of study:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Trade and development

Course providers