Business Studies (AQA)

Business Studies is a broad and varied subject, which will give you an understanding of how businesses operate, succeed and how others fail. You will analyse the reasons behind the decisions businesses make and how they develop strategy.

One of the things which makes this such an interesting subject is that the whole of society is impacted by the decisions that businesses make so the course covers highly topical areas such as marketing, pricing decisions, business ethics, globalisation, international trade, digital technology and the economic environment not to mention political developments such as Brexit or the sugar tax. In this way, studying Business Studies gives you a greater understanding of our society. You will also develop transferable skills such as numeracy, interpreting and analysing data and applying knowledge and understanding to different contexts to make judgements.

Students who study Business Studies go on to read a wide range of subjects at university, begin employment or take apprenticeships in areas such as accountancy, HR, operations, sales or even junior management.

What will I study?

Year 1 is an introduction to business and an examination of the key functional areas: marketing, operations, finance and human resource management. Year 2 is an investigation of the strategic (longer-term) decisions that all businesses have to make.

Topics include:

  • What is business? nature and purpose of businesses, forms of ownership, the external environment
  • Management, leadership and decision making
  • Marketing – understanding markets; segmentation, targeting and positioning and the marketing mix
  • Operations – efficiency, productivity, quality, managing inventory and supply chains
  • Finance – budgeting, cash-flow, break-even analysis and sources of finance
  • Human Resources – organisational design, HR flow, motivation, employer-employee relations.
  • Analysing the strategic position of a business – assessing business performance using financial and non-financial measures; an in-depth look at the external environment
  • Choosing strategic direction, strategic methods and managing strategic change.


Three written examinations each of 2 hours’ duration. Paper 1 consists of multiple choice, short answer and essay questions. Paper 2 consists of three multi-part data response questions. Paper 3 consists of a case study followed by approximately six questions of varying length. All three papers cover both Year 1 and Year 2 content and all three papers carry equal weighting.

Minimum Entry Requirements: Five GCSEs at Grade 5 or above, including Grade 5 in GCSE Mathematics and English.

Updated September 2023