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Course Information

Title: Politics

Type: A Level

Entry Requirements:Standard entry requirements.

Course Length: 2 Years

Curriculum Outline: Key Stage 5


With an incredible series of unexpected and unpredictable events at home and abroad in recent years, the study of politics has never been more relevant or more fascinating and it's a great subject for those with enquiring minds and a desire to find out just what is going on in the world today and why.

A level Politics is divided into a number of components covering a broad spectrum of political themes:

UK Politics and UK Government: You will study and discuss such questions as 'What powers does the Prime Minister have?', 'What makes people vote the way they do in elections?, and 'Is Britain truly democratic?'

Political Ideas: You will examine some of the great ideas that have shaped our world for good or bad, including Liberalism, Socialism, and Conservatism; and the work and influence of key political thinkers such as Karl Marx, Mary Wollstonecraft and Edmund Burke.

US Politics: Find out the answers to questions like 'How did Donald Trump become President?', 'Why it so easy to have a gun in the USA?', and 'Why is race such a big issue in America?' You will also have the opportunity to compare and contrast US and UK politics.

What sort of work is involved?

A level politics involves a lot of discussion, so is ideal for those who enjoy talking and thinking about current affairs. You will also need to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the world via the internet, newspapers and TV programmes, and will need to engage in independent learning to increase your knowledge of politics past and present.

There is no coursework but the final exams for politics are heavily essay based and you will get a lot of practice in researching and writing answers to sample exam questions.

What background do I need?

An interest in current affairs is perhaps the most important requirement as it is very beneficial to be able to bring at least some existing knowledge of political events and personalities to your studies. Some knowledge of history can also be helpful as so much of contemporary politics is informed by past events and decisions. Generally, no specific GCSEs are required but you will need a good level of English in order to deal with the essay writing demands of the course.

How will I be assessed?

The politics A level is assessed at the end of the course through three exams.

Paper 1: UK Politics and Core Political Ideas
This paper lasts two hours and requires you to answer two 30 mark essay questions on UK Politics topics including Democracy and Participation, Political Parties, Electoral Systems, and Voting Behaviour. You will also answer a 24 mark short essay question on either Liberalism, Conservatism or Socialism.

Paper 2: UK Government and Non-core Political Ideas
This paper lasts two hours and requires you to answer two 30 mark essay questions on UK Government topics including the Constitution, Parliament, the Prime Minister, and Relations between Political Institutions. You will also answer a 24 mark short essay question on Feminism.

Paper 3: Comparative Politics - USA
This paper lasts two hours and requires you to answer two short 12 mark questions comparing US and UK politics, and two 30 mark essay questions on US Politics topics including the Constitution, Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court and Civil Rights, and Democracy and Participation.

Where can politics lead?

Politics is a well-regarded A level and will help to provide you with many of the skills required for university study.

A politics A level is not required to study the subject at degree level but many politics students enjoy the subject so much that they continue their studies at undergraduate level or in related subjects such as International Relations. Some politics students do in fact go on to work in the political sphere, while other popular career options include law and journalism.

What Students Say:

"Studying politics has helped me better understand the world we live in whilst also changing my perspective of many key issues."

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