The New International A level in Economics

16 October 2018

The new (2018) IAL in Economics has retained the four unit structure of the 2013 specification. There are some amendments to each unit and there is a greater emphasis on quantitative skills.

Please note that IAL qualifications are not available in the UK.

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Specification content

There is a new section at the beginning of Unit 1 on the nature of Economics as well as the inclusion of some ‘financial’ topics (the role of financial markets, moral hazard and market bubbles). The topic on labour markets has been moved to Unit 3.

Unit 2 includes measures of human development which was previously in Unit 4 as well as a reference to happiness and well-being. Candidates will now be required to calculate the multiplier. The role of central banks has been added to the section on macro-economic policies.

Unit 3 includes a new section on labour markets (drawn from the old unit 1). Game theory and natural monopoly are also included. Transnational companies have been moved to Unit 4.

Unit 4 sees the inclusion of automatic stabilisers and greater clarity on the theories required in the topic on development economics. Transnational companies have been included.

There is also a greater emphasis on the application of appropriate quantitative skills in a range of economic contexts. The assessment of these skills will include at least level 2 mathematical skills as a minimum of 15% of the overall AS and 20% of the overall A Level marks. Appendix 7 of the specification has more details.

The specification and the Getting Started Guide provide more details about the specification content.

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Assessment

The Unit 1 and 2 exams are both 90 minutes long and have the same structure:

  • Section A: Multiple-choice questions. Students answer all questions (6 marks)
  • Section B: Short-answer questions. Students answer all questions (20 marks)
  • Section C: Based on stimulus material, one data response question comprising a number of parts (34 marks)
  • Section D: One extended open-response question; students select one from a choice of two (20 marks).

The Unit 3 and 4 exams are 2 hours long and have the same structure:

  • Section A: Multiple-choice questions. Students answer all questions (6 marks)
  • Section B: Based on stimulus material, one data response question comprising a number of parts (34 marks)
  • Section C: Two extended open-response questions; students select one from a choice of three (40 marks).
The Sample Assessment Materials illustrate how the exam papers have been designed.

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Transition

The final resit of the legacy AS examinations is June 2019.

There will be no legacy examinations in the January 2020 series. This is to allow students who sat A2 examinations in October 2019 time to receive their results and make a decision on whether to retake any unit examinations for the last time in June 2020.

The new specification has different content and assessment to the 2013 legacy specification, therefore it will not be possible to combine results from any previous examinations.

Detailed information can be found in the transition table below.

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Published resources

The IAS Student Book and Teacher Resource Pack are available now.

The IAL book (units 3 and 4) is due to be published in June 2019. The Teacher Resource Pack will be available in August 2019.

Subject advisor

Colin Leith

Business and Economics
Call me :
UK: 020 7010 2182
Intl: + 44 (0)20 7010 2182
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Colin Leith, Business and Economics subject advisor
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