Economics is a subject in which students learn to analyse real-world issues. Anyone hoping to understand politics or modern history needs to have a knowledge of Economics because economic factors often drive political and social change. If you have an interest in what you read and watch in the news, you will see the relevance of Economics.
At A level, the subject is divided into two areas: Micro-economics and Macro-economics. Macro-economics is the study of the national and international economy. It helps us to understand issues such as economic growth, unemployment, recessions and booms, and international trade. Micro-economics involves the study of markets and how they operate. An understanding of markets enables us to analyse and predict movements in prices and output – for example, in the stock market, the housing market, currency markets, labour markets (where prices are wages) and indeed many other kinds of market.
The subject involves a lot of analysis of data, but only basic mathematical skills, such as ratios, percentages and averages, are required for A level. Most university courses in Economics require more advanced Mathematics, and Maths A level is advised for those who want to study Economics at top universities. You will also be writing essays, so you need to be able to write clearly and logically.
Economics works well as part of a portfolio with other subjects. Geography, History and Politics as well as Maths and the Sciences are obvious related subjects. Psychology is also a good match, because a lot of cutting-edge analysis of consumer behaviour makes use of ideas derived from Psychology.
After school or university, economists often go into business, finance, accounting and banking, but Economics can also be the springboard for careers in journalism, politics and other related areas.