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How to Support Students to Achieve Success in A-level Business

Every parent of an A-level student faces an impossible balancing act – between giving your child independence, while being on hand to them support when they need it. A-levels are a huge step up for all students. In Cambridge International Business, your son or daughter will confront a unique blend of challenges. Here we explain what CAIE Business will demand of students, and recommend positive strategies to guide your child to A-level success.

 

How A-level Business is Assessed

 

AS Level There are two papers at AS level. AS is 50% of the final A-level grade. Paper 1 is worth 40% of the total AS grade. Section A includes around 5 short questions, Section B has one essay question from a choice of three. There is no case study or additional material. Paper 2 is 60% of the AS grade. P2 has two case studies of around 250-300 words on a fictional business. There may also be appendices with financial information. Following each case study there are usually four short questions and two essay questions.

A2 Level 100% of the A2 grade comes from one three hour exam – paper 3. All the questions are based on one case study on a fictional business, around 1300 words long, with a number of appendices with further financial information.

Section A includes a mix of shorter calculation questions and longer essay questions.In Section B students have a choice of two essay questions on business strategy.

a level business success

Transition to A- level

 

The leap from IGCSE to AS level can be highly demanding for students.  Students are presented with a huge increase in the quantity and complexity of the information they must remember and understand. Furthermore, students have a much greater responsibility for reading around the syllabus to broaden their understanding.  Students need to develop a system of notes to make sure they have covered all of the syllabus, and can easily access all of the content.

 Supporting Students Discuss with your child the best way of organising their notes that is going to work for them. Then ensure they have the materials and stationary they need. Check in periodically to find out how their note taking is going, then work on solutions together if their current system is not working. Students often need the most support when beginning their studies – if they get into effective and organised routines at the start of AS Business it is much easier to continue productively throughout A-level.

 

Developing Business Literacy

 

Analysing Business Information

 Students at A level must get to grips  with complex case studies, laden with business terminology and financial information, within a limited time. This places a high level of pressure onto students, in a highly stressful exam environment.

Spread the Business News

Students need to be comfortable with analysing business information and finding the most important details quickly. They can build these skills by reading business articles or case studies at a similar level of complexity.

It will hugely support and encourage students if you also read the article and review with your child what were the key issues faced by the business. This can also be the basis of a discussion working on developing problem-solving skills.

 

Business Decision Making Skills

 

 

More than Knowledge Cambridge Assessment (and most teachers) are at pains to explain that A level Business is not just about learning information by heart, but by applying this information in the business context, analysing and making a reasoned decision. To put it simply, students have to put themselves in the shoes of a business person in a given situation, and figure out the best course of action going forward.

Building Problem Solving Skills Problem-solving, like any skill, can be developed and refined with practice. Reading the business news also allows students to see how business reacts to challenges, and overcomes difficulties. As parents, you can take this one step further by discussing the impact of business decisions and considering the impact of alternative courses of action. This could also involving your child in decisions about your own business or local companies. The more you nurture problem solving and evaluation skills the higher your child will perform.

 

Further Support is Available

 

parents, student, support, business a-level

 

Even bright, hard working students with supportive parents, may need further support, sometimes just for a short period. A-levels are crucial examinations, and competition is fierce for the top grades to enter the most prestigious universities.

The margins between grades can be so slim that most parents consider private tution, to give their kids the best chance of success.

How private tuition can help

One to one, personalised learning – all students are individual and have unique needs. Private tuition is designed specifically to fulfill the needs of individual students, so can have a huge impact on achievement.

Improves Confidence – A-level examinations can be incredibly intimidating for students. Working one to one allows your child to overcome their fears by working through questions in a supportive environment. This means students can be calm and focused in exams, and perform at a much higher level.

Exam Technique – success in exams is all about knowing exactly what to include in each answer to get maximum marks. If your private tutor is also an examiner, they can give insider tips and hints that will give your child the edge on other students.

Problem Solving – Business is all about overcoming challenges and analysing and evaluating strategies for success. Developing problem solving skills is highly effective, when practiced one to one with an experienced and highly qualified Business teacher.

 Important Considerations

However, it is important to consider a number of points before looking for a private tutor.

Firsty, private tuition is not a magic bullet that will make all of the challenges your child faces disappear. To be effective, private tuition needs to work in partnership with students’ efforts outside of class, both to review and study the course content, and complete practice questions.

Furthermore, ensure your targets are achievable. A-level Business is a highly challenging syllabus – all students aspire to the highest grades, however, some students naturally have higher ability. Your son or daughter may already be achieving close to their peak potential.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How is Cambridge International A-level Business assessed?


AS and A2 are both 50% of the final A-level grade.

AS is the completed first and includes two exams, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Paper 1 is worth 40% of the total AS grade. Paper 2 is 60% of the AS grade. 

A2 Level is completed after AS. 100% of the A2 grade comes from one three hour exam – paper 3.

Why is A level Business more challenging than IGCSE Business Studies?

Students are presented with a huge increase in the quantity and complexity of the information they must remember and understand. Furthermore, students have a much greater responsibility for reading around the syllabus to broaden their understanding. 

How can I support my son/daughter with the transition to A level Business?

Discuss with your child the best way of organising their notes that is going to work for them. Then ensure they have the materials and stationary they need. Check in periodically to find out how their note taking is going, then work on solutions together if their current system is not working. Students often need the most support when beginning their studies – if they get into effective and organised routines at the start of AS Business it is much easier to continue productively throughout A-level.

How can I help my son/daughter develop business problem solving and decision making skills?

Problem-solving, like any skill, can be developed and refined with practice. Reading the business news also allows students to see how business reacts to challenges, and overcomes difficulties. As parents, you can take this one step further by discussing the impact of business decisions and considering the impact of alternative courses of action. This could also involving your child in decisions about your own business or local companies. The more you nurture problem solving and evaluation skills the higher your child will perform.

How can I help develop my son/daughter business literacy?

Students can build these literacy skills by reading business articles or case studies at a similar level of complexity to the exam materials.
It will hugely support and encourage students if you also read the article and review with your child what were the key issues faced by the business. This can also be the basis of a discussion working on developing problem-solving skills.

My level of English is not good, can I still help?

Yes, of course. The process of solving business problems and decision making is the same regardless of the language. If you feel more comfortable discussing business issues and case studies in your native language go for it! This will also be highly beneficial to the development of your son or daughters skills.

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