This is the last post in my 4 post series on my A levels, and I thought to end it with my favourite subject. If you haven’t seen the other posts (although I would recommend that you do), I have made a series talking through all of my A levels. This includes why I chose them in the first place, how I find them and most importantly how I revise. The ultimate aim is to hopefully encourage some people reading this to take these subjects, and help anyone in year 11 who is still being indecisive about what to choose.
The reason why I chose economics and how it came to be my favourite subject. It was never my intention to do economics, it wasn’t even remotely on my list. Then when I went to the enrolment day, I got speaking to a teacher who encouraged me to take economics because of my clear love of business studies. I can’t believe that I wasn’t going to take it, because even though this sounds really cheesy and deep, my future wouldn’t be the same without that enrolment teacher… and I can’t even remember who it was!! Not only did this subject fuel my passion for my degree subject, but I also met my group of best friends in this subject so I have a lot to thank it for!
Just for a bit of admin before the post properly starts, my exam board is OCR and therefore I sit 3 exams at the end of the two years. Thought to make that clear because exam structure and boards change so often, I didn’t want anyone reading this in the future and the advice not being relevant!
Economics is my favourite subject and what the majority of my degree is going to be. However that being said it is by far my hardest subject, and the exam that gets me the most panicked purely because of the complexity of various topics. As with all economics, the subject is broken into two parts… micro and macro. I would describe micro as more small scale (labour markets and individual firms) whereas macro looks at a more global scale (such as banking and economic development). I personally prefer macro more because it’s more interesting and easier to grasp, but micro is equally as interesting once you get the hang of it.
Economics combines the maths type content and quite objective learning with the essay style exam, which I think although makes it quite challenging also really develops a broad range of skills. One of the key things that I don’t think people realise about economics is how essay based it is, and I think that does surprise people when they start the course. Although I find the essays challenging (up to 25 marks), once you get the hang on them getting the high marks isn’t completely out of reach. I found that on my first few essays I didn’t do very well at all and felt so disheartened, but as time went on your improve and improve. I don’t think I’ve ever had full marks but I’m doing a lot better and practice does make perfect!
I was so worried when I started because I heard that economics was very maths based, and I didn’t take maths A level. Although I did well in maths GCSE, it wasn’t something that came naturally nor did I enjoy it, so the thoughts of having to do lots of hard maths in economics did scare me slightly. All I can say is don’t worry. Obviously I can’t speak for every exam board, but the maths that we had to do in our syllabus was relatively straightforward as long as you understood GCSE maths, and certainly wasn’t too out of reach. Learning the formulas is definitely something you should revise and practice (elasticity formulas and concentration ratios etc) but you do get a calculator in the exam and I have never had a problem even though I didn’t take the A level Maths alongside it.
As you will have seen if you have read this series, I am definitely a visual learner. In order to revise, I made an A4 page of notes after every lesson, summing up what I have learnt and any key areas. This meant that by the end of the syllabus, I had a collection of condensed notes that I could use to revise. Very similarly to business, I also made a ‘need to revise’ list of everything that I would like to go over again between now and the exams, because I don’t have time to go over everything again so I prioritise the key areas. Very similar to my other subjects, exam technique is also crucial. We have gone over a lot of past questions in lesson and I have made sure to keep up with them at home, redrafting any that I don’t quite get and them getting my teacher to remark them. I have found that this has really helped, but I’m going to be doing this a lot more in the run up to the final exams now! Right now I feel like I have got the content down, but the depth is what is needed in order to secure the high marks that I want.
Another revision tip I would give you for economics specifically, is to remember to revise the graphs. Sometimes they are overlooked as you understand them in lesson, and then when you go to revise them you have no idea what you are even trying to show! Blurting is the best way in my opinion to revise graphs. I’m sure you will have heard of this technique if you have followed this blog for a while, but you basically write down everything really quickly and then go back over with your notes and a different colour pen, to see where the gaps in your knowledge are.
This is very specific to my college and my subject, but my class and particularly my teacher deserves to be mentioned. That woman is a star and my economics A level would not be at the grade it is without her, she will be well and truly missed when I go off to university in September. She has taken her time out in holidays and weekends in order to help our class and she seriously has put in her all to improve our grades. Like I said, this is very specific to my sixth form but leads on to my next tip, which is attend all revision sessions. Yeah they might be in your lunch break, or your Saturday morning but they are so worth it and you will see improvements in your mark with help from the teacher to a small group instead of a big class.
So that’s my roundup of economics, and it also concludes the whole mini series of my subjects. Thank you so much for reading them (particularly if you have read them all) and I hope that they have helped you in some way, whether it encouraged you to take a particular A level or some revision tips for the A levels that you are currently doing. Please let me know if it has helped you, as I would love to hear your thoughts on the posts!