So this is the first post in my new little series, so I thought to explain myself before you read the next 4 posts. This is the time of year where people in year 11 are choosing their A level options, and this is 100% something that I would have wanted to read. I was the kind of person that was so indecisive about their A level options, even on GCSE results day I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and if I’m honest I made the decisions on a bit of a whim. It’s all turned out great though and I couldn’t imagine my A levels being any other way now, but I thought to pass on my knowledge of subjects to anyone who isn’t sure what they are going to take. If you are like me this then these posts are for you! The aim is to write about a different A level every few days for the next week or so.
I’ll start by saying that this post is for a very niche section of my following, so if you are not interested in studying or A levels then I do apologise. I would recommend coming back in around a week (when hello June will be uploaded) and hopefully there will be more posts that suit your tastes next month.
So now onto the first subject, which is going to be business. For a bit of backstory, my exam board is OCR so we have three exams at the end of the two year course. Be careful though, as exam structures always change so if you are reading this in the future please don’t take this as fact! I chose to take business because it was my best subject at GCSE and one which I really enjoyed, and I felt it was quite natural to carry it onto A level. I have always been surrounded by business growing up and have a huge interest in it, so much so that this was actually the only A level that I knew I wanted to take from the start. I met the best friendship group and my boyfriend through taking this subject, so I have a fair bit to thank it for!
The A level is split up into many little modules based on the functions in a business (finance, operations, marketing and HR) and then you learn each section as a separate topic. The exam is tested on them all merged together though, so when you get to the end of the learning you will start to piece together sections from each chapter. One thing that I would say about business is that there is a lot of content. The course as a whole isn’t particularly challenging (in my opinion anyway) but there is just so much to learn that it does make revision pretty overwhelming. The textbook is honestly huge but I would definitely recommend reading it and using it as much as you can, I find that I zone out when I am reading so I always use post it notes to condense the information and then stick it in the book, so that the text is consolidated even further.
Some people may be put off because of the maths and particularly the finance element of the course. I just want to reassure you that even if maths isn’t your strong point, please still do the course if you are interested in business as a whole. There are a few formulas you need to know and be able to use, but don’t let this put you off as it is not the majority of the content. I can’t speak for every college but my teachers taught me it well, and although I struggled remembering them I put in extra effort when revising them sections and now I feel a lot more confident. Finance only takes up a small section of the course as a whole, and I’m sure if you explain to your teachers that you are struggling then they will help you. Extra revision sessions were put on in our class to help people will the accounts sections and other areas that are stressful. I have been very lucky in the fact that my teachers for business (and all of my A levels to be honest) have been great and definitely go the extra mile when you need it.
The way that you revise business will definitely have an impact on your final grade. From my experience, lesson time is spent going over exam technique which leaves revising the actual course content at home until the exams. I am a visual learner, so mindmaps really help me to consolidate all of the knowledge and put in into a simple form that is easy to learn and understand. My biggest tip for business would be to stay on top of it. Due to there being so much content, it’s really easy to fall behind on notes so I tried to do mine at the end of every week and it worked very well. I wouldn’t want to have to go through 2 years worth of notes a month before the exam, I’m so glad I have already made all of my revision material!
Exam technique is also crucial, and that was something I didn’t really realise until later on in the course. Practising exam questions is so important, especially in exam season and in the run up to exams. Right now all I seem to be doing is writing business essay after business essay! Obviously I haven’t sat the exam yet but I feel a lot more prepared having done plenty of exam questions. I keep handing my teacher past questions for her to mark, which must wind her up but I would definitely recommend doing it as it really helps! In my exam (like I said this may differ) I have 15 and 20 mark essays, so practising essay technique is really useful in order to master this. Knowing the content is one thing but explaining it and making it flow under time pressure is another all together. It’s a cheesy thing to say but practice does make perfect with this subject.
Now we are approaching the exam and I have made a lot of notes (I’ve actually gone through the whole syllabus and made revision notes), I have created a ‘must revise again’ list, which I am working my way through. I don’t have time to go through the whole syllabus again, as I do feel confident on the whole but there are definitely some weak areas that I need to cover again. Making a list makes me so much more productive as I don’t have to always think about what I need to do, I just have to open my books and go. In order to go through the other topics I also always ask my teacher to go over the topic, or I often watch YouTube videos to see someone else’s perspective and way of teaching.
In conclusion, I would definitely recommend the course to others, especially if you have an interest in current affairs or working in the business industry when you are older. There are lots of remembering content but I find it interesting and if you are interested in business anyway it is relatively straightforward as long as you are willing to learn and revise. If you do take business studies and want to ask me anything, feel free to send me a DM and I will do my best to answer them!