Shrewsbury School

Business Studies in the Sixth Form

The following information is taken from our document 'The Sixth Form and Beyond', which is updated each December. It can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Head of Faculty: Mr C.W. Kealy 

The AQA Business A Level covers the full area of the world of business, including marketing, accounting and finance, operations and human resources management.  It also explains how external factors affect businesses and how businesses in turn react to them, for example how businesses might deal with a change in the law or a change in government economic policy.  Decision-making and the development of appropriate strategies are key themes that run through the course. This is achieved by taking a holistic view of the subject area and showing the inter-related nature of business using business models, theories and techniques to support the analysis of contemporary business issues and situations. 

Business Studies is multi-disciplinary, involving both numerical and written skills.  High-level mathematical ability is not necessary but an ability to perform basic calculations is needed.  The ability to analyse and evaluate information in order to recommend a course of action in a given scenario is a key skill that will be developed.

The Business A Level over the two-year course will study business in a variety of contexts (e.g. large / small, UK focused / global, service / manufacturing) and consider:

  • the importance of the context of business in relation to decision making
  • the interrelated nature of business activities and how they affect competitiveness
  • the competitive environment and the markets in which businesses operate
  • the influences on functional decisions and plans including ethical and environmental issues
  • the factors that might determine whether a decision is successful e.g. the quality of data and the degree of uncertainty
  • how technology is changing the way decisions are made and how businesses operate and compete
  • the impact on stakeholders of functional decisions and their response to such decisions
  • the use of non-quantitative and quantitative data in decision making (including the interpretation of index numbers and calculations such as ratios and percentages).

The course relies heavily on a variety of topical material from the world of industry and commerce, and offers a useful introduction to management concepts. 


It is not necessary to have any previous experience of the subject and it works well in combination with almost any other subject.  Business Studies also provides a valuable grounding for those who go on to study one of the many aspects of management at university, management being one of the more popular choices of course for Salopians. 

The Business Studies A Level is very different from Economics, which is primarily concerned with the study of the theory behind economic factors rather than their effect on businesses.  Business Studies A Level on the other hand discusses the practicalities of how firms operate in the real world. 

Candidates will follow the AQA specification for A Level Business and it consists of the following three equally weighted two-hour written papers. 

Paper 1: Business 1

Three compulsory sections:

  • Section A has 15 multiple choice questions worth 15 marks.
  • Section B has short answer questions worth 35 marks.
  • Sections C and D have two essay questions (choice of one from two and one from two) worth 25 marks each.

Paper 2: Business 2

  • Three data response compulsory questions worth approximately 33 marks each and made up of three or four part questions.

Paper 3: Business 3

  • One compulsory case study followed by approximately six questions.
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