Government & Politics

AS & A2 LEVEL – CCEA SPECIFICATION

 

LEAD TEACHER: Mr S. Kitchen

 

What is the study of Government and Politics about?

‘Just because you do not take an interest in politics, does not mean politics won’t take an interest in you’. So said the Greek statesman, Pericles, over 2000 years ago. Our lives are affected at every level by political decisions, whether we are aware of this or not. By studying GCE Government and Politics you will gain an understanding of local, national and international political systems. You will learn about rights and responsibilities, gain an understanding of the factors that affect political decisions and how political ideas influence world events.

 

The best part about studying this subject is keeping up with current affairs. Your knowledge and understanding gained in lessons is often applied to real life scenarios by watching and re-capping current, relevant news stories. We then discuss and often debate the effectiveness of current political decisions in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the United States of America.

AS Unit 1 – The Government and Politics of Northern Ireland:

The unit considers the establishment of the Good Friday Agreement and the relationship between the Assembly and the Executive. The unit also considers the Northern Ireland political parties, their strategies and policies, and the changes in their electoral fortunes since 1998.

AS Unit 2 – The British Political System:

This unit examines the operation of the British Parliament and the Executive and the relationship between these two institutions. Students also consider the political role of either the British judiciary or pressure groups.

A2 Unit 1 – Comparative Study of the Government and Politics of the United States of America and the United Kingdom:

This unit focuses on how the United States of America is governed and on how this compares to the British political system, with specific reference to the legislative and executive branches. For those students who also study History at A-Level, this topic is easier to relate to as it covers a lot of similar content to A2 Unit 1 on the American Presidency from 1901-2000.

A2 Unit 2 – Political Power:

This option focuses on the factors involved in creating and maintaining power and authority. It also considers why some states are stable while others have a history of instability that, in some cases, leads to state collapse. The major theories that seek to explain the nature and distribution of political power – pluralism, Marxism, elite theory and feminism – are also central to this unit.

How Will It Be Assessed?

Each unit of Government and Politics is assessed by an external, written examination.

 

AS Unit 1 – The Government and Politics of Northern Ireland:

  • 1 hour 15 minute exam

  • There are four questions, ranging from a short recall question to a longer extended writing question. Candidates must answer all four questions, referring to the source material in two of their responses.

  • 40% of AS grade

  • 16% of A2 grade

 

AS Unit 2 – The British Political System:

  • 1 hour 45 minute exam

  • Candidates must answer five questions: three in Section A and two in either Section B or Section C. Questions range from a short recall question to an extended writing question.

  • 60% of AS grade

  • 24% of A2 grade

 

A2 Unit 1 – Comparative Study of the Government and Politics of the United States of America and the United Kingdom:

  • 2 hour 15 minute exam

  • There are six questions: four in Section A and two in Section B.

  • In Section A, candidates must answer all four questions, referring to the source material in two of their responses.

  • In Section B, candidates must answer two questions, one of which is an extended writing question that has two parts. Candidates choose either (a) or (b).

  • 35% of A2 grade

 

A2 Unit 2 – Political Power:

  • 1 hour 30 minute exam

  • There are five questions, ranging from a short ‘definition’ question to extended writing questions.

  • In Section A, candidates must answer all three questions, referring to the source material in two of their responses.

  • In Section B, candidates must answer two questions, one of which is an extended writing question that has two parts. Candidates choose either (a) or (b).

  • 25% of A2 grade

 

Which other subjects will compliment this one?

 

Many other subjects at A-Level compliment government and Politics, as it requires skills such as analysis, debate and written communication. History is commonly studied alongside Government and Politics due to the similarities in content. Other subjects that are similar in terms of skills and understanding are Law, English Literature and Public Services.

 

How will this subject help me in my application to Further/Higher Education and in my future career?

 

A Level Government and Politics is a very well respected, academic subject, which is regarded as being rigorous in terms of the knowledge required and skills necessary to succeed. As a result, Further/Higher Education providers look favourably towards the subject for entry requirements to a wide range of courses. Studying Government and Politics is an excellent preparation for many careers and can open up opportunities for employment in areas such as politics, political research, business, finance, government services, education, journalism and public services.

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