Preparation for A level Politics
Advice for Year 11 students for entry in September 2022
A level Politics involves the study of three papers:
Paper One, the government and politics of the UK.
Paper Two, the government and politics of the USA.
Paper Three, political ideas.
If you want to be well prepared for September then it would be really beneficial for you to develop your knowledge and understanding of politics in both the UK and the USA. There is no prior knowledge required before you start the course and there is no expectation that you will have prior knowledge so don’t worry if you are simply interested in politics but not an expert quite yet!
It would really help for you to begin to develop an awareness of stories involving politics that have been in the news recently. Try to familiarise yourself with things like the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Keep an eye on what the prime minister does and what the US president is up to. Try to find out some information about Congress in the United States; what does the House of Representatives do? What does the Senate do?
We will study the three papers in order from Paper One to Three, so, in September we will start with politics in the UK. Over the summer you should try to find out who your local MP (Member of Parliament) is. What political party do they represent? Why do you think they were elected? It can also be useful to speak to your parents or other people who have voted in recent elections and ask them if they could tell you who they voted for in recent elections and why. You might want to research some of the major political parties in the UK and consider who you would vote for in an election.
One benefit of studying a subject like Politics is that it is something that can be accessed easily through many different means. Why not spend some time listening to some of the many politics podcasts that are available? Have a look on various streaming services where you will find lots of documentaries and feature films based on politics. Try to read some broadsheet newspapers (The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times) or access their websites and read some of the articles that they write. Politicians also put out a lot of information through social media. You can follow your local MP or leading politicians in both the US and UK to find out what they are doing.
Politics Frequently Asked Questions
How should I prepare for A Level Politics?
Listen to podcasts such as ‘The Rest Is Politics’ or access free articles online through The Guardian or The Independent. Watch documentaries about US and UK politics through streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, YouTube or BBC iPlayer.
What is the course content and exam structure of A Level Politics?
There are three papers to study, they are; Paper 1 UK government and politics, Paper 2 US government and politics, and Paper 3, political ideas. Each paper is examined by a two hour paper at the end of the two year course. Each paper is worth a third of the final grade. There is no coursework.
How is A Level Politics different to other A levels?
It isn’t a subject offered at GCSE so everyone studying the subject is studying it for the first time. We are studying politics as it happens so the examples that you can use in your exam are always changing.
What are the entry requirements?
You need at least a grade 5 at GCSE English Language, as it is mainly an essay-based course
How often are you set homework and assessed in A Level Politics?
Homework will be set every week. This will involve reading activities and essay writing. You will also complete exam preparation work in class. These assessments are usually on a fortnightly basis and this allows you to track your progress across the two years of the course.
What textbook will I need?
There is no requirement for students to purchase any textbooks for the course. There are textbooks endorsed by the examining body that can be purchased and we have a number of copies available for students to use. We also have a wide range of materials available online for you to use.