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Course Guide

Politics

(Edexcel 9PLO)

 

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy.
John Adams (Second Present of the United States, 1797-1801)

Politics defines every aspect of our lives from jobs and education to healthcare and internal relations. Studying politics gives you a greater understanding of who makes these defining decisions and how they are reached.

 

What will you study?

The Politics A-Level is divided into 3 units covering different aspects of UK and global politics. Unit 1 covers issues of political participation including political parties and voting behaviour as well as the core political ideas of liberalism, conservatism and socialism. Unit 2 examines the structures of UK government as well as a further political ideology, in our case nationalism. Unit 3 is a comparative study of the US political system in which American political structures, parties and participation are compared with their British equivalents.

How is it assessed?

As a linear subject, Politics is assessed at the end of the two year course of study. Each unit has equal waiting (33.3%) and has its own paper (3 total), each lasting 2 hours. Papers 1 and 2 consist of two essay questions (a 30 mark and 24 mark question, each from a choice of two) with one being based on a given source. Paper 3 has two 12 mark questions (the first being from a choice of two) and two 30 mark essay questions (from a choice of three).

Enrichment opportunities?

As part of studying UK Government (Unit 2), Year 12 students travel to Whitehall for a visit to Parliament and the UK Supreme Court to see how these key institutions operate first-hand. Beyond this, the Department runs mock general elections to parallel to the real thing, regularly hosts external speakers/debates including a recent visit by Zac Goldsmith MP and there is a student led mock parliament where issues of the day can be vigorously debated. All of these opportunities gives students a taste of the political world around them.

Where might it lead you?

Politics provides excellent grounding for  range of university courses and career possibilities. The course’s emphasis on critical thinking, research and debate lends itself to developing the key skills needed to thrive in university education. However a Politics A-Level is particularly relevant to those exploring the possibility of a social science/humanities course (History, Economics, PPE, Sociology, English, etc.) but also to those looking to gain a broader perspective of the world. Beyond higher education, a Politics A-Level traditionally prepares students for careers in finance, law, journalism, marketing, public relations, civil service, social advocacy and naturally politics.

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