How much maths is in A-level Economics? Am I up to it? Watch

DanCaliente
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Hey,

I'm finishing my GCSE's this year going into A-levels at a really good school. The one A -level I've been dead set wanting to do since I started looking was economics. It sounds weird for someone my age but I already have a huge interest in the stock market, with multiple successful investment portfolio's (despite it being pretend money). I already spend my time researching investements and studying my favourite investment indices oil.
I will be hugely enthusiastic in the subject as I want to go into stock trading as soon as possible, I've worked already for stock broker's to gain experience.

The only issue is I really struggle with maths, I'm looking at getting a 4-5 this year which converts to a C in old grades. Chances are I might not even be allowed to do the subject with that grade..
I'm quite good at practical maths, but struggle with theorems and calculus. All my other subjects are great at A*-B.

To anyone currently studying Economics, how much maths do you actually use and what type? And do you think I'm up to it? I'm looking for honest answers as I'm really thinking twice about this subject.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. ; ))
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BigBadAsh
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In terms of studying Economics at A-level - short answer, you'll be fine.
Edexcel, AQA and OCR have very little quantitative assessment in their A-level Economics specifications.

I've just finished the new Edexcel Spec (Economics A) where only 10% of the course consisted of quantitative assessment, thats 30 out of 300 marks.
The actual maths you do, is very simple divisions, percentage changes, index numbers and so on - very basic maths skills.
I'm aware some sixth forms have a Maths requirement of an A grade for Economics simply due to what comes after your A-levels.

Which brings me onto my next point:

Economics at majority of good universities (especially the top ones), all require Maths at A-level, if not Further Maths for the best.
This is because Economics at a degree level consists of much more maths, covering mostly statistical and algebraic maths in modules such as Econometrics or purely Maths modules that are compulsory on the course.

I only mention this due to your interests in 'stock markets', the Investment Banking industry is cutthroat and one of the most competitive scenes in the globe. The industry requires heavy mathematical capability and confidence in interpreting financial instruments using such tools. So if you're struggling at a gcse level, I really suggest you up your game because you're already at a significant disadvantage.
(Source: access and look at the skills/requirements for an entry-level analyst at any top firm - Morgan Stanley, Goldman, JP, UBS etc etc)

Whatever your intentions are for the stock market I dont care, but know that Economics is such as vast and diverse subject and if you've done your research, you know its not much to do with Investment. Infact, at A-level you will learn almost nothing directly related towards investment, apart from the Jargon used.

If you're genuinely interested in studying Economics, and specifically courses related towards investment banking and that sort of field, you need to widen your horizons and look further down your progression. Look at specific universities.
Oxbridge, LSE, Warwick, QM, UCL, and Durham have excellent Economics courses with a variety of modules consisting of Financial Economics, Banking, and Investment Analysis. But you're going to have to pick up Maths at A-level to even stand a chance at getting into any of these.
Coincidentally, Investment banks in the UK tend to only go for the top dogs when it comes to recruitment.

So in the end, you're going to need Maths. Economics at A-level won't make a difference to your career prospects.
You can pick whatever you want, pick dance if you damn please, providing that Maths is one of them. (If you genuinely want to get into IB)


If you don't think you can take the heat of A-level Maths (and Further) which are both very demanding courses.
I'd urge you to look at a softer degree/course - something like Finance. (Which doesn't require as much Maths)
But this comes at the sacrifice of your competitiveness.

Note: Some IB Firms argue that an Economics/Maths degree isn't compulsory for the entry level positions of analysts/associates.
However, it gives you a major advantage of those who don't have such qualifications, it what is already a more competitive industry than Harvard (For some firms).

I'm aware of all this, because I'm just a couple years ahead of you in the same path.
I've just secured my summer position with Goldman, so if you have any questions in the area or A-level Economics, feel free to drop me a message.
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JaydenLaz
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Hiya,
I am 18 and study Spanish, Maths & Economics (with maths and Spanish being my two strongest A-Levels)

People normally say economics involves around 20% of mathematics. However this is not accurate as around 15% of this 20% is diagrams, shifting diagrams and using basic mathematical skills with the diagrams or general questions (but your teachers will teach you how to solve those. )
The small quantity of maths is not that challenging and most of it is generally basic.

Therefore, if you do have a liking for the subject I would recommend you do do economics as it is so essential you love/enjoy your A-Levels otherwise it will not be a fun 2 years
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Exceptional
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I did it at A level and now university. Things have changed in the past couple of years, but it seems broadly similar. Simple percentage changes and multiplication/division are things you can expect. I'd say it's a logical subject, so similar to maths in that sense, but no, you shouldn't be put off doing it in sixth form if you struggle with quantitative things at GCSE.

If you wanted to pursue it at university, bear in mind that you'll be doing calculus and advanced statistics, so if you don't enjoy this then it might not be the best choice to take further.
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MajorFader
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(Original post by JaydenLaz)
Hiya,
I am 18 and study Spanish, Maths & Economics (with maths and Spanish being my two strongest A-Levels)

People normally say economics involves around 20% of mathematics. However this is not accurate as around 15% of this 20% is diagrams, shifting diagrams and using basic mathematical skills with the diagrams or general questions (but your teachers will teach you how to solve those. )
The small quantity of maths is not that challenging and most of it is generally basic.

Therefore, if you do have a liking for the subject I would recommend you do do economics as it is so essential you love/enjoy your A-Levels otherwise it will not be a fun 2 years
Are you in AS or A2?
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DanCaliente
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(Original post by JaydenLaz)
Hiya,
I am 18 and study Spanish, Maths & Economics (with maths and Spanish being my two strongest A-Levels)

People normally say economics involves around 20% of mathematics. However this is not accurate as around 15% of this 20% is diagrams, shifting diagrams and using basic mathematical skills with the diagrams or general questions (but your teachers will teach you how to solve those. )
The small quantity of maths is not that challenging and most of it is generally basic.

Therefore, if you do have a liking for the subject I would recommend you do do economics as it is so essential you love/enjoy your A-Levels otherwise it will not be a fun 2 years
Thanks a lot Jayden, your advice really helped me to make sure I'm doing the right thing.
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DanCaliente
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(Original post by Exceptional)
I did it at A level and now university. Things have changed in the past couple of years, but it seems broadly similar. Simple percentage changes and multiplication/division are things you can expect. I'd say it's a logical subject, so similar to maths in that sense, but no, you shouldn't be put off doing it in sixth form if you struggle with quantitative things at GCSE.

If you wanted to pursue it at university, bear in mind that you'll be doing calculus and advanced statistics, so if you don't enjoy this then it might not be the best choice to take further.
Hey, after speaking with Ash at the beginning of the thread what he says very much corroborates with what you're saying, as in how I would struggle further down the line after A-level. Economics for me with primarily be a stepping stone as I enjoy it so much, an officer role in the Royal Navy that I have been accepted into are very non-specific with what A-levels they want you to have, as long as you have them. So I chose an essay based qualification, Geography (as they quietly favour that) and Economics as I enjoy it.

Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it.
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