A Level: Business

Course title: Advanced GCE in Business (9BS0) 

Exam board: Edexcel

Subject specific entry criteria: You do not need to have studied Business at GCSE to study the subject at A Level.

Course overview

The Advanced GCE in Business is structured into four themes and consists of three externally examined examination papers. Students are introduced to business in Themes 1 and 2 through building knowledge of core business concepts and applying them to various business contexts to develop a broad understanding of how businesses work. Breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, with applications to a wider range of contexts and more complex business information are developed in Themes 3 and 4, requiring students to take a more strategic view of business opportunities and issues. Students are encouraged to use an enquiring, critical and thoughtful approach to the study of business, to understand that business behaviour can be studied from a range of perspectives and to challenge assumptions.

Theme 1: Marketing and people

Theme 2: Managing business activities

Theme 3: Business strategy

Theme 4: Global business

Assessment overview

Paper 1: Marketing, people and global businesses Written examination: 35% of the qualification.

Paper 2: Business activities, decisions and strategy Written examination: 35% of the qualification.

Paper 3: Investigating business in a competitive environment Written examination: 30% of the qualification.

Future progression

Business Studies is offered at most leading universities. They will usually require a minimum of AAA or ABB for access to most degrees, usually with at least one facilitating subject. Each university will have very specific entry requirements and it is worth checking these before choices are made. Business Studies can be combined in joint honours degrees with a very wide range of other subjects including Economics, Politics, Languages, Law, the Sciences and Humanities subjects.

Potential careers

Business develops a very wide set of skills, knowledge and understanding. Those who can discuss economic, business and political issues are at an advantage in any workplace. Some Business students will follow a traditional route and go into finance, accounting and professional services fields, or into the broad array of opportunities within financial services. Additionally, work in any role within a business, from a start-up to a multinational conglomerate, is made easier by a secure underpinning in business. ‘’A business degree has an excellent reputation for giving students the transferable and specific skills they need to move on from their undergraduate studies with 80% of Business Studies graduates at the University of Manchester in employment or further study within 6 months of graduation and 64% of those Business Studies graduates employed in graduate level jobs’’ (Source: Manchester University; Unistats).

How to succeed in Business

To succeed in A Level Business you should:

  • have a genuine interest in UK and global business operations
  • be willing to read extensively around the subject from a variety of sources
  • have a genuine desire to understand businesses and how they shape our own lives
  • be comfortable with all aspects of the assessment. Business requires data analysis, numeracy, extended writing and the willingness to work hard to master complex business language and concepts.

Business does involve extended-essay writing, but essays are very different to those in History or English. In Business, essays will identify and outline a theory and then consider the extent to which the real outcomes follow the expected outcome, from the theory described. You need to be concise and accurate in your writing style, rather than creative or particularly wordy.

Businesses play a significant and far reaching role in shaping the way we live as consumers, citizens, entrepreneurs and employees. They also shape the relationships we in the UK have with other nations all over the globe, both politically and economically. To understand, analyse and evaluate how businesses make their decisions and how they affect the lives of billions of people all over the world is to have a more meaningful appreciation of the world in which we live and work. From the smallest start-up enterprise to the largest multinational corporations, each and every decision made by owners and managers is examined carefully and critically. Students studying A Level Business are required to make judgements about those decisions using specialist business knowledge and skills. If you have an interest in these sorts of issues then Business will be an interesting and challenging option for you.