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In This Section

Why study Politics?

AS and A-Level Politics enables students to develop their critical thinking skills and enhance their ability to interpret, evaluate and comment on the nature of politics. It allows them to learn and to think analytically while remaining aware of their surroundings, external and internal events. It is a serious academic subject that is respected by universities.

When asked why they studied Politics, one student said: “Everything from my taste in music, to television, to literature, to race, to sexuality, to the religion I was forced into, has proven inseparable from politics. I study politics not to change the world but to change the small part I play in it.”

Exam board: Edexcel.

What is covered by the course?

Year 12

Component 1: Participation which is broken into four topics. Democracy and Participation; Political Parties; Electoral systems, and Voting behaviour and the media.

This unit introduces students to the key channels of communication between government and the people. It encourages them to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements for ensuring representative democracy and participation. Moreover, the role of pressure groups as an alternative to party politics is examined alongside political parties and the role of the media.

Component 2: UK Government which is broken into a further four topics.  The constitution; Parliament; the Prime Minister and Executive, and relations between institutions.

This unit introduces students to the major governmental processes within the UK. It encourages them to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions, and of the relationship between them in the context of multi-level governance.

At this point pupils will take an AS which will enable them to be better prepared to apply for University or Employment. It is also possible for students to take four subjects in Year 12 and then drop back to three subjects in Year 13.

How is the AS examined?
 
Component 1: Written examination, 1 hour 45 mins.

Component 2: Written examination, 1 hour 45 mins.
 
The components have equal value both being 50% of the AS. Both exam papers consist of three short 10 mark questions and a long essay worth 30 marks.
 
Year 13

All content from Year 12 will be examined. However, the style of questions and skills will be more advanced and each paper will consist of three essay questions. In addition there will be political ideas on each of the papers and a third component.

Component 1: Participation and Core Political ideas (Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism)
The nature and origins of ideologies, their role and significance in politics. The state, the economy, freedom and equality.  Key scholars.

Component 2: UK Government and Non-Core political ideas (Nationalism, Multiculturalism)
The nature and origins of ideologies, their role and significance in politics. The state, the economy, freedom and equality. Key scholars.

Component 3: Global politics
Globalisation, global governance, human rights and the environment. The essence of power and the European Union.

How it is examined?
 
Component 1: Written examination, 2 hours.

Component 2: Written examination, 2 hours.

Component 3: Written examination, 2 hours.

Note: All exams are essay-based and there are source based essays as well.

Related university courses and careers?
  • Politics
  • Law
  • International relations
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Academia
  • Teaching
  • Development
  • Charities
  • Research
  • International and national consultancy
Suggested Reading:
  • Regularly read newspapers and watch the news.
  • 'UK Government and politics' (Neil McNaughton), Hodder Education.
  • 'Political Ideas'(Richard Kelly, Neil McNaughton), Hodder education.
  • 'Global Politics' (Robert Murphy, John Jefferies, Josie Gadsby), Hodder Education.