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Business Studies is equally as accessible as GCSE or IGCSE so it comes down to personal choice as to which appeals more. Among home educators the majority do IGCSEs or Edexcel or AQA GCSE.

Start from which your exam centre can accommodate and then look at the different specifications, the sample exam papers and the resources available.

Edexcel International GCSE Business Studies

Edexcel International GCSE Business Studies page and specification

  • Exams from: June 2019
  • Available in June
  • Specification code: 4BS1


Subject content

The Pearson Edexcel International GCSE in Business Studies comprises five topics:

  1. Business activity and influences on business
  2. People in business
  3. Business finance
  4. Marketing
  5. Business operations.

All topics need to be studied in the context of small businesses (less than 50 employees) with a local market and large businesses (more than 250 employees) with a multinational/global market.


Assessment

100% exam based.

  • Paper 1 - Investigating Small Businesses - 1hr 30 minutes - 80 marks - 50%
    • The examination comprises a mixture of multiple-choice, short- and long-answer questions, and is presented in four sections.
    • Covers topics 1- 5 in context of small businesses (less than 50 employees)
  • Paper 2 - Investigating Large Businesses - 1hr 30 minutes - 80 marks - 50%
    • The examination comprises a mixture of multiple-choice, short- and long-answer questions, and is presented in four sections.
    • Covers topics 1- 5 in context of small businesses (more than 250 employees)


Resources

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Pearson publish a textbook and a teachers guide for the specification. Details can be found here

Answers can be found here

Pearson have a Qualification Guide on the specification page which is essential for understanding how the exam questions are marked.

Past papers can be accessed through the specification page or here. Papers with an R suffix were available in a different time zone. They are the same specification and can be used as practice.


CAIE IGCSE Business Studies

Cambridge offer 2 IGCSEs in Business from 2019. The difference is in the grading, 0986 being 9-1 and 0450 being A*-G, otherwise the syllabus is identical.

CAIE International GCSE Business Studies (0986) page and specification

CAIE International GCSE Business Studies (0450) page and specification

0986 was new in 2019, any tweaks to 0450 at the same time look to be minor so papers from pre-2019 will still be useful.

  • Exams from: 2019
  • Available in Autumn and Summer series
  • Specification code: 0986 (9-1) or 0450 (A*- G)


Subject content

The CAIE IGCSE in Business comprises six topics:

  1. Understanding business activity
  2. People in business
  3. Marketing
  4. Operations management
  5. Financial information and decisions
  6. External influences on business activity


Assessment

100% exam based.

  • Paper 1 - Short Answer and Data Response - 1 hr 30 mins - 80 marks - 50%
    • Four questions requiring a mixture of short answers and structured data responses
    • Covers full syllabus
  • Paper 2 - Case Study - 1 hr 30 mins - 80 marks - 50%
    • Four questions based on a case study, provided as an insert with the paper
    • Covers full syllabus


Resources

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There are several different textbooks, workbooks, teacher books and revision books available for this specification - a list can be found here. Check whether answers to student books are included as for Cambridge they are often in the teacher's guide.

Past papers can be found on the specification pages or sites such as pastpapers.co and papacambridge. Each series of 0450 (besides the March series - which is only sat in India) has 3 sets of papers available. These are because they were sat in different time zones. They are the same syllabus and useful for practice. You can use both 0986 and 0450 papers to practice either spec. 0986 was new in 2019, any tweaks to 0450 at the same time look to be minor so papers from pre-2019 will still be useful.


Edexcel GCSE Business Studies

Edexcel GCSE Business Studies page and specification

  • Exams from: June 2019
  • Available in June
  • Specification code: 1BS0


Subject content

The Pearson Edexcel GCSE in Business Studies is split into 2 themes:

  • Theme 1 concentrates on the key business concepts, issues and skills involved in starting and running a small business. It provides a framework for students to explore core concepts through the lens of an entrepreneur setting up a business.
  • Theme 2 examines how a business develops beyond the start-up phase. It focuses on the key business concepts, issues and decisions used to grow a business, with emphasis on aspects of marketing, operations, finance and human resources. Theme 2 also considers the impact of the wider world on the decisions a business makes as it grows.


Assessment

100% exam based.

  • Paper 1 - Investigating Small Business - 1hr 30 minutes - 90 marks - 50%
    • Questions will relate to the content that appears in Theme 1.
    • The paper is divided into three sections: Section A: 35 marks, Section B: 30 marks,Section C: 25 marks.
    • The paper will consist of calculations, multiple–choice, short–answer and extended–writing questions.
    • The paper will include questions that target mathematics at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level. Calculators may be used in the examination.
    • Questions in Sections B and C will be based on business contexts given in the paper.
  • Paper 2 - Building a Business - 1hr 30 minutes - 90 marks - 50%
    • Questions will relate to the content that appears in Theme 2.
    • The paper is divided into three sections: Section A: 35 marks, Section B: 30 marks,Section C: 25 marks.
    • The paper will consist of calculations, multiple–choice, short–answer and extended–writing questions.
    • The paper will include questions that target mathematics at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level. Calculators may be used in the examination.
    • Questions in Sections B and C will be based on business contexts given in the paper.


Resources

Textbooks

There are several textbooks available for this specification

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Hodder - Business (Second edition) by Ian Marcouse and answer guide

Pearson - Business by Helen Coupland-Smith et al

Neither has answers to the practice questions it is worth noting

Revision books

CGP produce a revision guide, exam practice book, an all in one version and revision flashcards

Pearson also produce a revision guide, revision workbook, practice papers, model answers and flash cards

Collins also have an all in one revision book

Hodder have a version of their My Revision Notes

Exam board resources

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The Teaching and Learning materials on the specification page have case studies, exemplars, past training and getting started guides which are really helpful.

Pearson have a Qualification Guide on the IGCSE specification page which is really useful for understanding how the exam questions are marked as there is a lot of overlap in the question style.

Past papers can be accessed through the specification page or here.

Others

Tutors 2U produce lots of resources for this spec.

Mrs Hearing Business Studies covers Edexcel GCSE as well as A Level and BTec resources

Plenty more resources under General Resources


AQA GCSE Business Studies

AQA GCSE Business Studies page and specification

  • Exams from: June 2019
  • Available in June
  • Specification code: 8132


Subject content

The AQA GCSE in Business Studies is split into 6 topics:

  1. Business in the real world
  2. Influences on business
  3. Business operations
  4. Human resources
  5. Marketing
  6. Finance


Assessment

100% exam based.

  • Paper 1 - Influences of operations and HRM on business activity - 1hr 45 minutes - 90 marks - 50%
    • Covers topics 1, 2, 3 and 4.
    • Section A has multiple choice questions and short answer questions.
    • Sections B and C are case study/data response questions.
    • The paper will include questions that target mathematics at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level. Calculators may be used in the examination.
  • Paper 2 - Influences of marketing and finance on business activity - 1hr 45 minutes - 90 marks - 50%
    • Covers topics 1, 2, 5 and 6.
    • Section A has multiple choice questions and short answer questions.
    • Sections B and C are case study/data response questions.
    • The paper will include questions that target mathematics at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level. Calculators may be used in the examination.


Resources

Textbooks

Hodder publish a textbook and teachers guide. The answers to activities from the textbook are in the teacher's guide but they are more hints than definite answers and probably not worth the price for most home educators

Revision books

CGP produce a revision guide, exam practice book, an all in one version and revision flashcards

Collins also have an all in one revision book

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Hodder have a version of their My Revision Notes

Exam board resources

The Teaching Resources on the specification page has some useful topic guides as well as vocabulry and command word support.

Past papers can be accessed through the specification page or here.

Others

Tutors 2U produce lots of resources for this spec.

Plenty more resources under General Resources


OCR GCSE Business Studies

OCR GCSE Business Studies page and specification

  • Exams from: June 2019
  • Available in June
  • Specification code: J204


Subject content

The OCR GCSE in Business Studies is split into 7 topics:

  1. Business activity
  2. Marketing
  3. People
  4. Operations
  5. Finance
  6. Influences on business
  7. The interdependent nature of business


Assessment

100% exam based.

  • Paper 1 - Business activity, marketing and people - 1hr 30 minutes - 80 marks - 50%
    • Covers topics 1 - 3
    • Section A contains multiple choice questions.
    • Section B includes short, medium and extended response style questions which use stimulus material that draws on real business contexts.
    • The paper will include questions that target mathematics at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level. Calculators may be used in the examination.
  • Paper 2 - Operations, finance and influences on business - 1hr 30 minutes - 80 marks - 50%
    • Covers topics 4 - 7
    • Section A contains multiple choice questions.
    • Section B includes short, medium and extended response-style questions which use stimulus material that draws on real business contexts. Synoptic questions are included in section B
    • The paper will include questions that target mathematics at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level. Calculators may be used in the examination.
Screenshot 2021-07-31 185137.png


Resources

Hodder publish a textbook and answer guide

Hodder have a version of their My Revision Notes

OCR has a planning and teaching section on the spec page with worksheets, quizzes and teachers guides

Past papers can be accessed through the specification page or here.

WJEC/Eduqas GCSE Business Studies

Eduqas GCSE Business Studies page and specification

For Business the spec is the same for Wales (WJEC) and England (Eduqas)

  • Exams from: June 2019
  • Available in June
  • Specification code: J204


Subject content

The Eduqas GCSE in Business Studies is split into 6 topics:

  1. Business activity
  2. Influences on business
  3. Business operations
  4. Finance
  5. Marketing
  6. Human resources


Assessment

100% exam based.

  • Paper 1 - Business dynamics - 2 hrs - 100 marks - 62.5%
    • Covers full syllabus
    • A mix of short answer and structured questions based on stimulus material.
    • The paper will include questions that target mathematics at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level. Calculators may be used in the examination.
  • Paper 2 - Business considerations - 1hr 30 minutes - 60 marks - 37.5%
    • Covers full syllabus
    • Data response questions
    • The paper will include questions that target mathematics at a minimum of Key Stage 3 level. Calculators may be used in the examination.


Resources

Hodder publish a textbook and answer guide

Hodder have a version of their My Revision Notes

Eduqas has a digital resources section on the spec page with some excellent resources

Past papers can be accessed through the specification page or here.




Comments on the different options from a HE Exams Group member

Okay my take on the specs - personal opinion and others might disagree. Content isn't too different on any.

Edexcel IGCSE - I think is, in some ways, the simplest to prepare for. The two papers are both 1hr 30 mins long, they both cover the full syllabus but one paper looks at it from large businesses and one from small businesses perspective.

There are quite a lot of multiple choice and 1 mark answers and grade boundaries are low. However these ae balanced by a 12 mark q, two 9 marks and some 6 mark questions per paper. So they do need to be able to learn how to do extended mark answers - it is possible to be quite formulaic about it.

Being International it is quite theoretical rather than practical and the textbook is heavy going. Few in the way of extra resources to support - stuff on Seneca/Quizlet and the content does overlap a lot with GCSE.

CAIE IGCSE - has advantage of 2 sittings a year. Plus with 3 papers for each sitting, lots of past papers in comparison with the others. Papers are also two 1.5hr papers - they differ in style though - one is short response, other case study. I used to find CAIE mark schemes harder than Edexcel, so might be worth a look if you are going alone (I've come to the conclusion it's practice and familiarity though, they aren't difficult). I can't comment on resources to study. Can be harder to find a centre for CAIE.

GCSEs - While a lot of similarity in content to IGCSEs they seem to have a bit more tangible feel and I think are more interesting to those whose interest is in setting up in business maybe - no where near as practical as a BTec but feels bit more relevant than IGCSEs. However far fewer past papers available to work with than the IGCSEs.

AQA GCSE- I think is the hardest of the ones I'm familiar with. Lots of extended writing in the answers. Lots of resources though.

Edexcel GCSE- I think this might be the middle ground. A nice simple format to the papers, lot of similarity to the IGCSE, but many more resources and nicer textbook. Less generous grade boundaries at the 4/5 pass grade though.

Assuming you have free choice of spec from exam centre perspective I would suggest have a look at the papers for each, they are a better guide than the syllabuses. Then the resources available to study from. Much of that is personal preference - Amazon's look inside feature is helpful.

(SL 2021)


General Resources

There are far more resources specifically targeted at Edexcel and AQA GCSEs than other boards but can be used for others, just pick and mix topics to cover content on the spec.

Mr Zee's Resources - mostly paid, there are full lesson plans, assessment resources

https://www.twoteachers.co.uk/

Eduqas Digital Resources a huge number of free, quality printable 'knowledge banks', case studies and other teaching resources. Although produced for the Eduqas spec relevant for all.

Seneca Free courses (there is a paid premium option) good for supplementing and revision - courses for AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Edexcel IGCSE and CAIE IGCSE

BBC Bitesize Business Studies - GCSE material will be helpful for IGCSE.

Revision videos from Tutors 2 U

Revision app from Pearson - targeted at Edexcel GCSE but useful for other specs


Distance Learning

Many home-educated students study Business Studies successfully using just the textbook and free online resources, but some find a distance learning course suits their family better, or want to use a tutor occasionally for marking essays or past papers. Course providers can be found on the Distance Learning Providers page.

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