Creating Analytical Thinkers

Exam Board and Specification Codes: Edexcel 9PL0

Why Study Politics?

A-Level Politics enables pupils 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 to think analytically while remaining aware of events and developments impacting on their society.

What is Covered by the Course?

The course is broken down into three units. Units One and Two are covered in the first year and Unit Three is covered in the second year.

Year 1:

Unit 1 – UK Politics

This unit covers the various forms of political participation which exist in the UK. Pupils will study the various definitions of democracy and participation which apply to the UK including the wide variety of pressure groups; the characteristics of the political parties which compete for influence and power; the nature of elections and electoral systems which are used in the UK; analysis of voter behaviour with reference to recent General Elections.

Additionally, there is an analysis of the core political ideas of liberalism, conservatism and socialism.

Unit 2 – UK Government

This unit covers the nature and development of the UK constitution and the different branches of government. Pupils will study the origins and nature of the UK’s uncodified constitution; the composition and powers of parliament, Prime Minister and Cabinet government and the judiciary; an analysis of the relationships between these branches of government.

Additionally, there is an analysis of an alternative political idea such as feminism.

Year 2:

Unit 3 – Comparative Politics: USA

This unit covers the features of the US political system, analysing features of similarity and difference with the UK political system. Pupils will study the nature of the US constitution and federal system of government; democracy and political participation; nature and protection of civil rights; the three branches of government – Congress, presidency and Supreme Court.

How it is Examined?

Unit 1: One written paper (two hours). In Section A (Political Participation), students answer one 30-mark question from a choice of two based on a source extract and one 30-mark essay question from a choice of two. In Section B (Core Political Ideas), students answer a 24-mark essay question from a choice of two.

Unit 2: One written paper (two hours). In Section A (UK Government), students answer one 30-mark question from a choice of two based on a source extract and one 30-mark essay question from a choice of two. In Section B (Non-core Political Ideas), students answer a 24-mark essay question from a choice of two.

Unit 3: One written paper (two hours). In Section A, students answer one 12-mark question from a choice of two, which focus on specific aspects of the US system. In Section B, students answer one compulsory 12-mark question based on comparative theories between the US and UK systems. In Section C, students answer two 30-mark essay questions from a choice of three, which analyse the US system of government.

Each examination paper represents one-third of the final marks.

Related University Courses and Careers?

  • Law
  • International Relations
  • Philosophy
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Journalism & the Media
  • Research in academia or for political parties, pressure groups, economists.
  • International and national consultancy.
  • Management
  • Charities

Suggested Reading:

Edexcel AS & A Level Politics by Andrew Colclough et al. (Pearson) covers all units of the course along with revision, exam practice advice.

UK Government & Politics by Neil McNaughton (Hodder Education) covers the UK aspects of the course (units 1 & 2).

Political Ideas for A-Level by Neil McNaughton & Richard Kelly (Hodder Education) covers the ideological aspects of units 1 & 2.

US Government & Politics by Anthony J. Bennett (Hodder Education) covers unit 3 in greater depth.

The Economist offers reporting & analysis of national & international political developments.

Daily newspapers reporting UK and US politics, notably The Times, The Guardian.

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Kensington Park School Sixth Form,
59 Queen's Gate,
South Kensington, London,
SW7 5JP, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 7225 0577

 

Kensington Park School (Years 7-11),
40-44 Bark Place,
London,
W2 4AT

 

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