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How useful is A level Economics?

(43 Posts)
Spidermama Sun 16-Nov-14 15:42:23

DD was struck by a woman teacher trying to persuade people they should take economics. It hadn't occurred to me but I can't help thinking it's a fundamentally useful subject, especially since her parents won't be much use to her on that front.

The problem is that it sounds a bit boring to her.

Is it a good idea to take economics and if so how can I sell it to her?

pebblestack Sun 16-Nov-14 15:54:03

It is very useful for a general understanding of what they bang about on the news so much - why interest rates matter, how a crash happens, what makes us spend our money on some things and economise on others, why we can't just print more money to make everyone richer etc.

I did it over 25 years ago and the concepts have stayed with me because they are relevant to what goes on in the world.

Not sure that's selling it to you or her, but I don't regret choosing economics, it was really interesting!

Leeds2 Sun 16-Nov-14 16:03:39

At my DD's school, they sell it to them on the basis that the Economics Dept do a trip to New York every other year! Sorry, not much help.

They also advise at DD's school that, if you do Economics, it is advisable (but not essential) to also do maths.

titchy Sun 16-Nov-14 16:07:32

To be honest if she's really not interested I wouldn't try and sell it to her. At A level she should be doing stuff she's genuinely interested in.

IndridCold Sun 16-Nov-14 16:08:33

I also took Economics A level about a hundred years ago, and have also never regretted it. The knowledge and understanding I gained from studying this subject has been useful on many levels, both in work and out of it. I think a basic understanding of the fundamentals of macro and micro economics would stand you in good stead on more or less any career path you could think of.

I don't know if Lipsey is still the main text, it is an horrendous looking tome full of graphs, but I had a great teacher (Mr Evans) and never found it boring. Definitely worth thinking about IMO.

Nicename Sun 16-Nov-14 16:12:49

I loved it. I did it for Higher then it popped up as a subject in its own right (also useful in social history) during my degree. I really enjoyed it as a subject.

I've only met one person with an economics degree though (in PR).

noblegiraffe Sun 16-Nov-14 16:15:46

It's not a facilitating subject, so if your DD wants to go to a top university she should take that into account.

Telling students to only take subjects they are interested in isn't the best advice as it could close doors to them doing what they want to do later down the line.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 16-Nov-14 16:16:59

Not as useful as A-level Maths.
You don't even need it to get on to most undergraduate Economics courses.
My perception of A-level Economics is that is a option to be chosen as a third or fourth subject, assuming that the student is doing at least two facilitating subjects.

OldRoan Sun 16-Nov-14 16:18:17

I took it because I thought it would be useful, and it would show that I could do something slightly mathematical (I wanted to do drama but was worried it would look like a soft option for uni applications).

I was bored witless, struggled to revise for the exams because I was bored, and (presumably because I didn't take much in due to aforementioned boredom) I'm still not very good when economics-y stuff is on the news.

It was my lowest grade by a long way, and I really regret choosing it.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 16-Nov-14 16:19:56

I took a level economics and now have a phd in economics. Unless she's interested in the subject I wouldn't bother. It's not particularly highly regarded in itself. Maths would be much more useful and open more doors.

Nicename Sun 16-Nov-14 16:20:14

Oh yes, I only did the ones I was interested in... Whyyyyyyyy did my parents not tell me?

Bloody arts degrees...mutter, moan...

TarkaTheOtter Sun 16-Nov-14 16:20:54

Ps. It is a bit boring, she's right.

Nicename Sun 16-Nov-14 16:22:32

Tarka, please tell me you can say 'let me through, a doctor... (Of economics)'.

I did like it but I'm also a stats freak. I am a very boring person...

EmbarrassedPossessed Sun 16-Nov-14 16:25:09

I took economics A level many years ago now, can't actually remember my reasoning why now! I had an excellent teacher and enjoyed the subject, but I enjoyed all my subjects as I'm like that. It wasn't my most heavy weight choice, and the maths involved wasn't that complicated at all.

I find it useful in life, as I understood macro economics which means I was always much more engaged with economics/politics as a young adult than most of my peers. I found that helpful. It didn't hinder my university choices but this was a long time ago before the list of facilitating subjects was in written existence.

Lilymaid Sun 16-Nov-14 16:27:16

No point studying it if she isn't interested. That said, even though it isn't a facilitating subject, it seems to be more highly regarded than some other subjects (media studies, business studies, law).
It is a definite "marmite" subject. Some take to it and do well, others don't get it. What is she interested in?

TarkaTheOtter Sun 16-Nov-14 16:27:29

The only person who refers to me as a dr is my mil and she's not saying it in a complimentary way.
I'm a stats nerd too, I just felt that economics alevel, because it has most of the the maths content stripped out, was just "another essay subject". If she's interested in the content, great. If not, then maybe history, law, classics etc would be a better fit. If it were useful for uni applications, perhaps, but in my experience it's not.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sun 16-Nov-14 16:29:07

Economics as a subject is extremely interesting and useful. I know many people with economics degrees and some of them are professional economists, others work in industry, in finance and in academia. As an A level though it's useless. It's not a facilitating subject and you don't even need it to study economics at university. Which tells you everything you need to know about it, really.

velourvoyageur Sun 16-Nov-14 16:36:15

Ooh all the clever people in sixth form who were otherwise doing English, History, Geography type subjects did Economics. I did feel sorry for them with their enormous textbooks.
I had a friend who was getting 100% in every module despite her having a neurological time consuming condition, she's at Durham, someone else is at Imperial, few at Oxford, few more Cambridge. People who took economics did well but because they were also super hard workers (still managed social lives as well) not because it was easy. ah, overachievers mumsnetters' children

I should have done it (but would rightfully have been v scared of results day). I do actually like history (and Grishams) and there's a lot that goes over my head with me not knowing basic stuff. Money makes the world go round!

titchy Sun 16-Nov-14 16:45:40

Fair enough re only taking subjects you like. Let me rephrase....

Do subjects that will enable you to get onto the degree course you like. If you have a choice of subjects that enables you thusly, do the one you like, not the one you find boring. You'll probably get a better grade if you like it cos you'll probably revise more. Probably.

For what it's worth I did economics A level and found it very hard to get to grips with in the first year, came out with a D in the mock. Assuming she's year 11 I think Economics will still be AS then A2, so she'll need to bear this in mind.

Coconutty Sun 16-Nov-14 16:46:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChocolateWombat Sun 16-Nov-14 16:57:55

Firstly, your child should only do Econ if they think it will be interesting and they will do well.
It is a highly regarded academic subject. The reason it is not a facilitating subject, is because it is not a subject that it is obligatory to have at A Level, in order to do any particular you can do an Econ degree without Econ A Level. There are other highly regarded academic subjects which are also not facilitating subjects for the same reason. The reason things like Maths and English etc are facilitating is because there are some subjects which you cannot do without them.
It is not necessary or ever advised that all subjects that be facilitating. It is usually recommended that 2 are and all 3 at A2 are academic subjects not soft subjects. Econ could easily work with this. And yes,doing maths is necessary if you want to to do Econ at no need for Econ A Level, but yes to Maths A Level.
For pupils doing A Level Econ who will definitely not do it at Uni, not having maths will be fine. However, most doing A Level Econ these days do Maths too,to keep their options open....most people don't know what they will definitely do at Uni when they pick their A Level options, often at 15.

So, a very good subject for someone who wants to pursue the academic route.....but only if someone is interested in it and likely to do well. Where I work, we require an A in any subject taken at A Level, in GCSE. As no one has done Econ GCSE we require an A in an essay based subject such as English Lit, History etc. At A level, there is not a lot of maths, but bearing in mind that most doing. Econ do Maths A Level too, they will certainly have at least an A in maths GCSE too.

Bunbaker Sun 16-Nov-14 17:19:00

Like OldRoan I found economics incredibly boring and struggled to revise for it. I didn't take it at A level, but I had to study it for my accounting course and my CIM marketing certificate. I just scraped a pass because it was such a dry and dull subject.

Coconutty Sun 16-Nov-14 19:35:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Needmoresleep Sun 16-Nov-14 19:42:16

Quite hard to find a degree which is not looking for A level maths. Several also prefer at least AS Further Maths.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 16-Nov-14 19:46:20

No, some unis don't require Maths A level. But it is highly recommended. At degree level it contains a lot of maths so some competency is required - particularly calculus. It's quite different to A level economics in my experience.

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