Whether you’re an aspiring economist, a maths genius, or a business boffin, A-Level Economics is a great subject to take. Further education and a bright future lay ahead for economics students.
The one question every student wants to ask, how hard actually is A-Level Economics? Well, lucky for you, I’ve written this article just to explain the answer to that very question. However, if you’re just looking for the short answer, here it is:
A-Level Economics isn’t too difficult in the grand scheme of things, but there are a few things to look out for. Specific essay structure is needed to ensure top marks, and to be able to succeed in the exam you really need to know your stuff. However, if you can master these two elements of A-Level Economics, you should pass with flying colours.
Table of Contents
How Much Content Is There In A-Level Economics?
Economics content is usually split down the middle in terms of content – macroeconomics and microeconomics. Students are then expected to use both of these areas when answering questions related to wider economic issues.
You’ll go through the basics of economics in the first year, and then do it again (but in more depth) in your second year.
That means that you’ll learn most of what you need to know in year 1, and then you’ll have time to revise and develop that information in your second year.
Generally, the second year of any A-Level is harder than the first year. This is especially true for A-Level Economics, as the second year requires you to actually apply what you know to all sorts of situations.
The good thing is, many areas of both microeconomics and macroeconomics coincide with each other. That makes your life a whole lot easier, as you don’t have to spend as long revising lots of different areas.
There isn’t actually that much content in A-Level Economics, especially compared to other A-Levels. As long as you can understand it all, you should be A okay.
How Difficult Is The Content In A-Level Economics?
A-Level Economics has a reputation of not actually being that difficult, but just how difficult really is it?
Most of the content is fairly self-explanatory – paying attention and a bit of common sense will get you far. The actual content in A-Level Economics isn’t too bad, as long as you have a small understanding of the working world.
The only difficult part is actually using what you know. Being able to apply your economics knowledge to exam questions and essays is a whole different ball game.
This is what many students struggle with, and is potentially the hardest aspect of A-Level Economics. I took A-Level Economics when I was in college, and this is what I struggled the most with.
Both macroeconomics and microeconomics are fairly self-explanatory, as long as you’re willing to put in a few hours every week to revise the knowledge.
Microeconomics focuses on individuals and business decisions, whereas macroeconomics focuses more on the decisions made by countries and governments.
What Are The Minimum Requirements For Me To Study A-Level Economics?
So, you may be thinking that A-Level Economics is sounding pretty good, but can you actually take the course?
A-Level Economics demands at least a grade C (4) in both GCSE English and GCSE Maths. Without these grades, you’ll find that this A-Level becomes very demanding.
The reason you need these grades is because you need to be able to cope with the amount of work A-Level Economics will ask of you.
There’s much writing involved, and you’ll only be able to keep up if you’re competent in both english and maths. Too many students have failed A-Level Economics because of their inability to communicate effectively – but more on that later.
You also need certain qualities if you want to excel in A-Level Economics. You need to be able to think logically and critically, and you must have a passion for debating issues with evidence.
These qualities will get you far in most any A-Level, but especially in A-Level Economics.
How Hard Is A-Level Economics Compared To GCSE Economics?
We all know that A-Levels are hard, but how hard is A-Level Economics compared to its GCSE counterpart?
To answer that question, we need to take a look at the pass rates for both A-Level Economics and GCSE Economics. In 2019, 98.3% of students passed the A-Level, but only 81.6% of students passed the GCSE.
This may make it seem like GCSE Economics is much harder than A-Level Economics, but that is not the case. There are many reasons why these pass rates are so different, so lets have a look at a few now.
Firstly, GCSEs are harder to individually revise for than A-Levels because of how many you have to take. This leads to students having a preference for some exams over others, meaning GCSE economics can sometimes be neglected.
Additionally, it’s common for students to care less about their GCSE than their A-Levels. Many students end up taking GCSEs that they didn’t want, whereas A-Levels are more refined to your choice.
So, don’t be fooled by these pass rates! If you want my opinion, A-Level Economics is harder than GCSE Economics, but not by much. As long as you’ve got a real interest for the subject, you should be fine.
How Hard Are A-Level Economics Exams?
Exams are the bane of most student’s lives. You can dream of an easy exam, but will A-Level Economics give that to you?
I’d say as long as you can understand what the examiners want from you, you won’t find the exams too hard. As long as you’ve got the paragraph structure and content down, you’ll be alright.
This is, however, the hardest part of any A-Level Economics exam. Getting that exam technique down can be tricky, as it’s not the same as other A-Levels you might be taking.
The content shouldn’t be as tricky to get your head around, though. As I said earlier, as long as you’ve got a genuine interest for the subject, you should be absolutely fine.
If you don’t have a genuine interest in Economics, however, you’ll find the exams more difficult than you’d think. A lack of interest in the content can make it harder for you to apply yourself to learning the exam technique, resulting in harder exams.
What A-Levels Go Well With A-Level Economics?
There are so many combinations of A-Levels that are perfect for A-Level Economics, but I’ll have to limit it to a few of my favourites here. For a more definitive list, make sure to take a look at 17 Good A-Level Combinations That Universities Love.
One of the best combinations for A-Level Economics is A-Level Maths, and A-Level Business Studies. These A-Levels pair incredibly well together, and are sure to make your student life a whole lot easier.
A lot of the content between A-Level Business Studies and A-Level Economics is shared, so taking both of these A-Levels together will, in turn, make both of them easier.
A-Level Business Studies, however, can be switched out for other subject like A-Level Accounting or A-Level Law. Anything that is linked to business is a great pick alongside A-Level Economics.
I’d definitely keep A-Level Maths, however. It’s a great A-Level to have, as universities love it. A-Level Maths also looks great on your CV, especially when paired with A-Level Economics.
What Do A-Level Economics Students Say?
Most student reviews of A-Level Economics are positive, with the only downside being how boring they found it. However, if this subject really interests you, you shouldn’t have any problems.
The more interested you are in something, the more likely you are to apply yourself to the subject. This is true for A-Level Economics, just as it is for every A-Level.
So, as long as you think you’d be interested in this A-Level, your grades won’t suffer. That is, as long as you’re prepared to put in the work an A-Level requires of you.
There are two main skills you’ll need for A-Level Economics: maths, and english. The maths aspect of A-Level Economics is fairly simple, similar to GCSE Maths in terms of difficulty. (Made even easier if you take A-Level Maths too).
The english skills aspect of A-Level Economics is a little bit harder. There is a meticulous structure you need for your essays and exam answers, that without, you won’t get any marks.
This technique is fairly hard to get down, but once you’ve got it, A-Level Economics is a breeze.