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Government and Politics - Exam Information

A Level

Course Content

The aims of this course are to encourage candidates to:

  • develop a critical awareness of the nature of politics and the relationship between political ideas, institutions and processes;
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of the structures of authority and power within the political system of the UK and the USA, and how these may differ from those of other political systems;
  • acquire knowledge and informed understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the individual;
  • encourage an interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics and political ideologies.
As an A Level subject, Government & Politics makes extensive use of the school’s online learning facility. As well as a valuable teaching and learning tool, it provides candidates with an experience of the kind of resource they can expect to use at university. The Department sets no formal entry requirements, other than those for entry into the Sixth Form. This is not an indication as to the difficulty of the course; rather the educational philosophy of the department. No prior knowledge of the subject is required, just an enthusiasm for learning and willingness to engage with the subject.

 

Course Structure

100% Examination. Each written paper is 2 hours and worth 77 marks following the same format of three short answer questions, one essay using an extract provided and the choice of one final essay question.

Paper 1: The government and politics of the UK

  • Nature and sources of the British Constitution
  • The structure and role of Parliament
  • The Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • The Judiciary
  • Devolution
  • Democracy and participation
  • Elections and referendums
  • Political parties
  • Pressure groups
  • The European Union

Paper 2: The government and politics of the USA, and comparative politics

  • The constitutional framework of US government
  • Congress
  • President
  • Supreme Court
  • Electoral process and direct democracy
  • Political parties
  • Pressure groups
  • Civil Rights
  • Comparative politics of the UK and USA

Paper 3: Political Ideas

  • Liberalism
  • Conservatism
  • Socialism
  • Anarchism

 

Reading and Resources

As a department we have subscriptions to various newspapers, both UK and US, which students can access online, as students should regularly be reading the news from sources such as BBC, Guardian, The Times, Politico, Washington Post.

There are lots of useful Podcasts which students can subscribe to each week for free such as Times Red Box, Slate’s Political Gabfest and our very own Think Tank Podcast.

We recommend all students subscribe to Politics Review which can be done via the Politics department or school library.

  • All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class (Tim Shipman)
  • Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem (Tim Shipman)
  • Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House (John Heilemann and Mark Halperin)
  • Shattered: Inside Hilary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign (Jonathan Allen)
  • Trumped: The 2016 Election That Broke All The Rules (Larry Sabato)

Exam Board:AQA