Exam Board – AQA

Qualification – A Level

Entry requirements – Grade 6 in a humanities or social science subject, grade 5 in English language

Course specification

Politics is about power and how it is divided. For this reason alone, there’s no denying that it’s one of the most interesting and engaging qualifications you can choose at A Level. Covering news and current affairs from the UK and US, it helps you understand how the UK is run and develops research, written communication and debate skills.

“I loved politics before I studied it, but I had no idea of the antiquated, and at times ridiculous, traditions and machinations of government. You will learn so much and look at the world differently by studying politics”

– Former government and politics student, now studying social and political sciences at Cambridge University.

Students study three main topics: the government and politics of the UK, the government and politics of the USA and, finally, political ideologies. As such, a student studies elections, Brexit, Parliament and pressure groups, before comparing Britain’s electoral and governmental systems with the USA. Crucially, this new A Level also allows students to place this debate within a study of ideology. Are the Conservatives really conservative? What is a socialist? Is anarchism left wing or right wing? As such, by the end of two years, students will be politically literate and aware of the world around them.

Politics is then assessed in these three papers, which are all equally weighted. Students are required to answer a variety of questions, with some asking the students to analyse and explain, whilst others ask the students to read an extract and evaluate the validity of the argument.

Studying government and politics is fascinating, but requires constant attention to the news and world around you. As such, lessons are varied and interactive, and classes have a collaborative environment in which we can discuss the topics of the day and embed them within their wider context. In classes you will be encouraged to ask questions and develop informed opinions based upon wider reading. Your progress will be supported through model answers, clear essay guidelines, formative marking, AfL activities and revision guides.

What doors does this open up for me?

Government and politics is a subject that allows students to analyse current affairs and the world around them. For this reason, government and politics works exceptionally well with other subjects. It’s ideal if you’re considering studying politics, sociology, ethics, advertising or journalism at university and is highly regarded by employers in industries including politics, law, international organisations, the media, government and the civil service.

Critically, government and politics also fits with maths. Many students continue to study politics as psephologists (the studying of voting and elections) and this can open up lucrative careers within polling and statistical analysis.

Those who have studied politics often succeed. In the USA many have gone on to be important political figures, such as Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, Hilary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice; whilst in the UK there have been a variety of positions gained: Christopher Hitchens (writer and academic), Riz Ahmed (Actor) and Harry Enfield (comedian).