Header image

Header image overlay text

A-Level Government & Politics

Main body content

Why study Government and Politics?

Exam board and specification codes: Edexcel, Component 1: 9PLO/01, Component 2: 9PLO/01, Component 3; 9PLO/3B

A-Level Government and Politics enables students to develop their critical thinking skills and enhance their ability to interpret, evaluate and comment on the nature of politics. It allows them to learn to think analytically while remaining aware of their surroundings, external and internal events.

What is covered by the course?

The course is broken down into three components:

Year 1

Component 1 – Participation (Democracy, Political Parties, Electoral systems, Voting behaviour and the media)

This unit introduces students to the key channels of communication between government and the people. It encourages them to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements for ensuring representative democracy and participation. Moreover, the role of pressure groups as an alternative to party politics is examined alongside political parties and the role of the media.

Component 2 – UK Government (The constitutions, the parliament, the prime minister, relations between institutions)

This unit introduces students to the major governmental processes within the UK. It encourages them to develop a critical understanding of the role and effectiveness of key institutions, and of the relationship between them in the context of multi-level governance.

Year 2

Component 1 (Continuation) – Core Political ideas (Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism)

The nature and origins of ideologies, their role and significance in politics. The state, the economy, freedom and equality. Key scholars.

Component 2 (Continuation) – Non-Core political ideas (Nationalism, Multiculturalism)

The nature and origins of ideologies, their role and significance in politics. The state, the economy, freedom and equality. Key scholars.

Component 3 – Global politics

Globalisation, global governance, human rights and the environment. The essence of power and the European Union.

How it is examined?

Component 1: Written examination, 2 hours

Component 2: Written examination, 2 hours

Component 2: Written examination, 2 hours

Note: All exams are essay-based and entail multiple choice of essay questions

Related university courses and careers?

  • Politics
  • Law
  • International relations
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Academia
  • Teaching
  • Development
  • Charities
  • Research
  • International and national consultancy

Suggested reading:

New specification:

‘UK Government and politics’ (Neil McNaughton), Hodder Education

‘Political Ideas’(Richard Kelly, Neil McNaughton), Hodder education

‘Global Politics’ (Robert Murphy, John Jefferies, Josie Gadsby), Hodder Education

Old specification:

Daily political newspapers regarding UK and US politics is essential.

AS Level Government and Politics (Nelson Thornes, 2005) – Grant M

Pressure Groups and British Politics (St Martin’s Press, 2000) – Grant W

Edexcel A2 Government & Politics Student Unit Guide: Representative Processes in the USA: Unit 3C – Tremaine Baker

Edexcel Government & Politics for A2: Ideologies – Neil McNaughton

Edexcel Government and Politics for AS 4th Edition (Edexcel for AS) – Neil McNaughton