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Business Studies

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Why business?

It provides an exciting insight into the dynamic world of business, giving the basic skills necessary to produce a business plan, and manage a company. You will learn the importance of marketing, how to identify, target and satisfy customer requirements, and how to motivate people, in order to maximise their output. You will learn that every business decision has financial implications, and you will be taught how to calculate profit, forecast cash flow and analyse a firm’s published accounts. Apart from learning the theoretical aspects of business, examining case studies encourages students to use their initiative in problem-solving and gives rise to lively class discussions.

New Edexcel AS Business course

The new one year AS business course covers business in a practical and realistic way which is easy to understand and relevant to today’s business world. It will prepare any student for the world of work and a university degree course in business, economics and a wide variety of social science courses.  

Links to the two year full A level course

The AS exam is not part of the full A level exam. However, the first year of the A level covers exactly the same course, but is examined along with the second years work in year 2 of the course.

The exams

The exam at the end of the year comprises two 90 minute written papers. First covers themes 1, 2, 3 & 5 with mostly shorter questions. The second covers themes 3, 4, 5 with a couple of shorter factual questions followed by two longer case study based questions.

AS  course

Theme 1: Starting a business.

  • Role of an entrepreneur, motives and characteristics
  • Business objectives
  • Forms of business
  • Opportunity cost and trade-offs
  • Expanding a company

Theme 2: Marketing.

  • Marketing objectives & strategy
  • Markets; size, mass/niche, brands
  • Market research and positioning
  • Demand & supply, elasticity
  • Design, branding & promotion
  • Pricing strategies, product life cycle
  • Boston matrix and marketing strategy

Theme 3: People, productivity and performance.

  • Staffing, recruitment, selection & training
  • Organisational design
  • Motivation; theory and practice
  • Leadership

Theme 4: Introduction to finance.

  • Sources of finance
  • Planning and cashflow, budgets
  • Sales forecasting, revenues and costs, profit
  • Breakeven
  • Liquidity, business failure

Theme 5: Resource management / external influences

  • Production, operational productivity & efficiency
  • Capacity utilization
  • Stock control
  • Quality management
  • Economic influences
  • Legislation, competitive advantage.

The A2 year will continue with the old business course, allowing last year's students to complete the full AQA A level course.

At A2, this specification considers strategies for larger businesses and how managers might measure the performance of the business. Finally,it considers the effects that external factors can have on businesses and how a business can plan for and manage change, including leadership style and change in business culture. 

Unit 3 Strategies for success

  • Functional Objectives and Strategies – examining their appropriateness in the context of corporate objectives.
  • Financial Strategies and Accounts – making investment information, measuring performance, financial decisions.
  • Marketing Strategies – analysing markets, and selecting successful marketing strategies, developing marketing plans.
  • Operations Strategies – operational issues, location, innovation, improving operational efficiency
  • Human Resource Strategies – workforce planning, adapting organisational structures, successful employee relations.

Unit 4 The business environment and change

  • Corporate Aims and Objectives – purpose and nature of corporate strategies, stakeholder perspectives.
  • Assessing Change in the Business Environment – the effects of changes in the economic, political, social, ethical and technological environment and responses of organisations.
  • Managing Change – planning for change, leadership and corporate culture, making strategic decisions, decision making.

This A2 year will be replaced by a self-standing "A level" year.

Suggested reading / books used:

Business for Edexcel AS level, Hodder Education. I. Marcouse. 

ISBN; 978 1471 847769

Business Review, Phillip Allan Magazines

Recommended Blogs to follow:

FT Blog

Telegraph Blog

BBC Blog

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