The A level Politics course introduces concepts of citizenship and participation by looking at elections, political parties and pressure groups. It also examines the major institutions of British Government and how they operate. In addition the course examines the nature of the dominant political ideologies in Britain and the United states including concepts such as liberty and equality. Pupils also study the operation of the American Political system.

The study of Politics teaches pupils to consider different views and develop independent thought. It also improves skills of investigation and research. Pupils need to have an enquiring mind and an interest in current affairs. Those who study Politics will be expected to keep up with developments in British and American Politics; they will also study the ideas of key Political thinkers such as John Stuart Mill, Betty Friedan, Edmund Burke and Karl Marx. Politics will give pupils an understanding of how power and the government works, as well as the underlying philosophy of the main political parties in the UK and USA. Lessons will involve pupils in communicating arguments and explanations in a coherent manner both orally and in writing. Pupils with A Level Politics have access to a wide range of career and higher education opportunities. Politics should be considered as a choice because of its relevance to the modern world, and can lead to university courses in such areas as business, economics, law, media and, of course, politics.

Pupils will develop an understanding of how our country works, how decisions are made and of the behaviour of people in relation to elections, ideas and power. They will begin to examine philosophical ideologies including Socialism, Conservatism and Liberalism, and will develop skills of research, written analysis and debate. Pupils will have an opportunity to examine how democracy works in the most powerful country on Earth, the United States of America.

What do you need to do to study this subject?

You will need to take a real interest in politics and current affairs, you will have to stay up to date with developments in the news, not just by-elections and party conferences but also issues such as the effects of the Brexit referendum, the rise of new political parties and protests over climate change. You will look at American elections and issues such as gun controls. You will need an ability to look at all sides of an issue and summarize the arguments on both sides. You will need to be able to analyse issues in written form with a good standard of English.

How will this qualification further my education and development?

You will have opportunities to look at current affairs through television, newspapers and the internet. You will have a chance to learn through discussion, debate and research. You will gain a perspective on how our society works with an understanding of the nature of power. You will have opportunities to question fundamentals of society, develop your own views and to justify them with hard evidence.

Politics and International Politics are very popular options at many universities. Politics is often combined with other subjects such as PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) at Oxford. It develops skills of writing, analysis and debate as well as providing an understanding of political philosophy and the nature of government. It is of use in key areas such as public service, journalism and law as well as enabling you to become an informed and active member of society.

A Level Politics Assessment

 AQA specification for A Level Politics

Each of the three examinations contains a mixture of medium length ‘explain’ questions and essays.

Paper 1



Government and Politics of the UK

2 hour written examination

33.3% of A Level

  • Voting Behaviour and Elections
  • Political Parties and Pressure Group
  • The British constitution and the Judiciary
  • Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet
  • Devolution
  • The European Union

Paper 2

Government and Politics of the USA and Comparative Politics

2 hour written examination

33.3% of A Level

  • The US Constitution
  • Congress the President and the Supreme Court
  • Voting Behaviour and Elections
  • Civil Rights
  • Political Parties and Pressure Groups
  • Similarities and differences with the UK

Paper 3

Political Ideas

2 hour written examination

33.3% of A Level

Four topics including:

  • Liberalism
  • Socialism
  • Conservatism
  • and one other idealogy such as feminism


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