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All you need to know about taking a business studies GCSE!

5 min
November 18, 2021
For many, deciding what extra GCSEs to take can bring on a bit of a headache! It’s tough to know what you’ll enjoy, get good grades in and what will give you the most options later on - whether that's out in the working world or in higher education. It sounds stressful, but that’s just because it needs reframing: Choosing GCSEs isn’t about narrowing your choices, it’s about opening up opportunities that best suit you. In this article, we’re going to talk you through why business studies is one of the most studied subjects out there! So without further ado...

What is business studies?

You might already know this, but business studies teaches all aspects of business, from operations to human resources, and things that have an effect on how well businesses perform, for example, the economy. Business studies explains how the four pillars of business (marketing, human resources, finance and operations) work together to create a successful company. 

What is a business studies GCSE?

Unsurprisingly, business studies GCSE aims to test you how well you have grasped the different areas of a business and what can impact them. Not only will you learn about different areas of business, you’ll also learn how company structures can affect productivity or what type of employment contract best suits your staff. You’ll even learn about the different influences on a business from tech to ethical and environmental considerations!

So is business studies a good GCSE to take?

Short answer, yes. Longer answer, let’s get into it! Business studies gives great foundational knowledge of what it’s like to work in a business and the factors that go into making a business successful or not. The great thing about business studies is that it’s universal - the terms and concepts don’t differ depending on who or where you are! You’ll also learn a lot of transferable skills, like leadership or how to be a team player. 

Doing a business studies GCSE is also a great way to improve your employability skills. In every business there will be different departments doing wildly different things, but having a good understanding of how a business functions means you can look at the business as a whole. This perspective is rarer than you think and it can help you bring new ideas to the table that benefit the business. 

How to revise for a business studies GCSE? 

The best way of knowing how to revise for an exam is to understand its structure; there's no point in learning formulas by heart if the questions are more essay-based. So let’s have a look at the format - the business studies GCSE is usually split into two exams, each with three parts:

  1. Part one - tests your knowledge and understanding of business concepts and issues 
  2. Part two - asks you to apply your knowledge to a variety of contexts (case studies)
  3. Part three - asks you to analyse and evaluate information to demonstrate your understanding of business activity and ability to make judgements and draw conclusions (another case study)


During the first part of the exam there will usually be some short, low-mark questions, which are definition/formula based. After the first section, it's on to the higher marks, where you’ll be given a case study and need to answer a mixture of high and low marked questions. 

One of our biggest tips is to know your strengths and weaknesses! If you're not much of a writer and you're getting worried about those longer answers, study the mark scheme and do as many past papers as you can get your hands on. If, on the other hand, you've got the longer marks covered, but can never remember definitions, make use of flashcards and get your friends and family to test you. 

When you’re knee-deep in your preparation for your business studies GCSE, you’ll probably realise that having your finger on the pulse can help your grades. Reading the news or listening to news-based podcasts is a great way to cement your learning. After all, if you can apply textbook learning to real-world events, you are pretty much there! 

As we said before, business is universal, so talking to your friends and family about business is a great way to ensure you've got those all-important concepts locked in. In the exam, you're likely to come across some case studies, and talking to friends and family about LinkedIn's new features or Spotify's latest marketing campaign is essentially like revising a case study out loud without even realising it! 

What jobs can business studies GCSE get you?

Whilst no GCSE can guarantee you a job, business studies is great for opening doors to any sector. After all, every sector has businesses! With a business studies GCSE you could go on to do a business administration apprenticeship, or you could decide to do a business studies A level and/or related degree.

Once you’ve finished your business studies GCSE and you’re desperate to learn more, have a think about what areas of a business interest you most. Are you a people-person that loves to figure out what makes people tick? Think about HR! If you’re interested in the day-to-day runnings and always come up with a way to make things easier, why not look for jobs in operations?

Another great thing about business is that it’s inclusive, for example, if you’re really creative but not great with numbers you could find a home in marketing.

What is a business administration apprenticeship?

If you're not sure whether A levels or a university degree is right for you, why not consider a business administration apprenticeship? You'll get to combine learning with real-world work. The apprenticeship normally takes around 18 months to complete and is a great first step into any of the following business areas: 

  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Finance and accounting
  • Secretarial
  • Procurement
  • Office administration
  • Sales
  • Customer services

What’s next? 

So once you’ve chosen your business studies GCSE, what’s next? Consider how you like to work and what the best options are for you, there are a lot out there from BTEC’s to A levels, apprenticeships and degrees.

How can we help? 

We hope this article helped and you’re one step closer to working out whether a business studies GCSE is right for you. If you want to find out more about how to run a business, different areas within a business or even get a head start on what the business studies GCSE might involve - why not check out our business management virtual work experience programme?

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