GCSE Business Studies

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams at the end of the course, currently run over two years.

Students who study AQA GCSE Business equip themselves with a wide knowledge of the business world and its role in today’s society. They will study finance, which looks at stocks and shares, budgets and company finance. Human resources will help students in whatever career path they may choose to undertake. This will give them wide career opportunities in the business development area.

Business can be continued at A level, university and as apprentices.

During their study, students have an insight into production and marketing with visits to manufacturing plants in the UK.

Students will study units 1,2 & 3 in year 10 and units 3,4 & 5 in year 11

Students are required to complete independent research to enhance their understanding.

Subject content

What’s assessed
Paper 1

  • Business in the real world
  • Influences on business
  • Business operations
  • Human resources

How it’s assessed

·         2 Written exams: both 1 hour 45 minutes
·         90 marks
·         50% of GCSE

Paper 2: Influences of marketing and finance on business activity

What is assessed?

  • Business in the real world
  • Influences on business
  • Marketing
  • Finance

Each of the six units students will study are split over the two years. Students will study three units each year.

The start of the Autumn term students are introduced to the new concepts of business through individual, paired and group work. Although the exam board uses UK business, I feel it is important to relate where possible to links within our island and their business community.

During the end of the Autumn term students will work at a project to create a game. They will be required to conduct primary research though designing a questionnaire, planning and creating a game. They will then be required to come up with strategies to market their game. There is a prize for the most innovative game created.

In the Spring term students focus on the various internal and external influences on a business. Students will need to keep updated with business news throughout the world not just on island.

Summer term allows students to look at business operations where they will gain an understanding of production, manufacturing and procurement. They will look at how the supply chain works combined with quality control and customer service.

Assessment is on-going and completed at the end of each topic.

Homework will be set as per school timetable and it is expected that ALL students will complete this topic enhancing work.

Useful books to help during revision and learning re-call. Core text books will be provided for class use and do not need to be purchased.

Below are the six units, colour coded so parents and students can see what topics they will cover when studying each of the units.

Business in the real world

The purpose of business activity, the role of business enterprise and entrepreneurship, and the dynamic nature of business.

Students need to be aware of the impact business in the real world has on the four functional areas of business:

  • business operations
  • human resources
  • marketing


3.1.1.The purpose and nature of business

  • Purpose of business
  • Reasons for starting a business
  • Basic functions and types of business
  • Business enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • Dynamic nature of business

3.1.2 Business Ownership

  • Sole traders
  • Partnerships
  • Private limited companies (ltd)
  • Public limited companies (plc)
  • Not-for-profit organisations

3.1.3 Setting Business Aims and Objectives

  • What are business aims and objectives
  • Purpose of setting objectives
  • Role of objectives in running a business
  • Changing objectives
  • Use of objectives in judging success

3.1.4 Stakeholders

  • Main stakeholders of businesses
  • Objectives of stakeholders
  • Impact of business activity on stakeholders
  • Impact and influence stakeholders have on businesses

3.1.5 Business Location

Factors influencing the location decision of a business

  • The purpose of business planning
  • The main sections within a business plan
  • Basic financial terms
  • Basic financial calculations

3.1.6. Business Planning

  • Methods of expansion
  • Benefits and drawbacks of expansion
  • Economies of scale
  • Diseconomies of scale

3.1.7 Expanding the Business

  • Methods of expansion
  • Benefits and drawbacks of expansion
  • Economies of scale
  • Diseconomies of scale

3.2 Influences on business

The importance of external influences on business and how businesses change in response to these influences.

3.2.1 Technology

  • E-commerce
  • Digital communication

3.2.2 Ethical and Environmental Considerations

Ethical considerations

Environmental considerations:

  • impact on traffic congestion
  • recycling
  • disposing of waste
  • noise and air pollution.


  • global warming
  • using scarce resources

3.2.3 The Economic Climate in Business

  • Interest rates:
    • how fluctuating interest rates can affect businesses that rely on overdrafts and loans for finance
    • how fluctuating interest rates can affect consumer and business spending.
  • Level of employment
  • Consumer spending

3.2.4 Globalisation

How UK businesses compete internationally, offering:

  • better designs
  • higher quality products at lower prices.
  • Exchange rates

3.2.5 Legislation

  • Employment law
  • Health and Safety law
  • Consumer law

3.2.6 Competitive Environment

  • Impact on businesses of operating in competitive markets
  • Uncertainty and risks businesses face

3.Business operations

What business operations involve, their role within the production of goods and the provision of services, and how they influence business activity

3.3.1 Production Process

Methods of production:

  • job
  • flow

Efficiency in production:

  • lean production
  • just in time (JIT)

3.3.2 The Role of Procurement

Managing stock:

  • Just in time (JIT)
  • Just in case (JIC)

Factors affecting choice of suppliers including:

  • price
  • quality

The effects of procurement and logistics on a business, including:

  • efficiency
  • lower unit costs.
  • The value of effective supply chain management, including:
  • working with suppliers to ensure that key processes are running efficiently and cost effectively
  • getting goods and services for the best price and value
  • cutting any waste and unnecessary costs to create a streamlined process and fast production times.

The Concept of Quality

  • Consequences of quality issues
  • Methods of maintaining consistent quality:
  • Total quality management (TQM)

Costs and benefits of maintaining quality:

  • additional sales
  • image/reputation
  • higher price
  • inspection costs
  • staff training
  • product recalls
  • the provision of services

3.3.4 Good Customer Service

Methods of good service:

  • product knowledge
  • customer engagement (creating a positive experience for the customer)
  • post sales services (eg user training, help lines, servicing).

Benefits of good customer service, including:

  • increase in customer satisfaction
  • customer loyalty
  • increased spend
  • profitability.

Dangers of poor customer service, including:

  • dissatisfied customers
  • poor reputation via word of mouth
  • reduction in revenue.

The ways in which advances in ICT have allowed customer services to develop:

  • websites
  • e-commerce
  • social media.

3.4 Human resources

The purpose of human resources, its role within business and how it influences business activity.

3.4.1 Organisational Structure

  • Organisational structures
  • Appropriateness of organisational structures
  • Centralisation and decentralisation

3.4.2. Recruitment and Selection of Employees

  • The need for recruitment
  • Methods of recruitment and selection of employees
  • Contracts of employment

3.4.3 Motivating Employees

  • Importance of motivation in the workforce
  • Methods to motivate staff

3.4.4 Training

  • Importance of training the workforce
  • Types of training undertaken by businesses

3.5. Marketing

The purpose of marketing, its role within business and how it influences business activity.

3.5.1 Identifying and understanding customers

  • The importance of identifying and satisfying customer needs

3.5.2 Segmentation

  • Types of segmentation

3.5.3 The purpose and methods of Market Research

  • Purpose of market research
  • Collect information about:
  • demand
  • competition
  • target market.

Methods of market research to include primary and secondary:

  • questionnaires
  • surveys
  • interviews
  • focus groups
  • internet research
  • printed press eg newspapers

Use of market research: information that may help decision making

3.5.4 The Elements of the Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Promotion, Place (4 P’s)

Pricing methods, including:

  • price skimming
  • price penetration
  • competitive pricing
  • loss leader
  • cost-plus

The factors that influence pricing decisions, including:

  • costs
  • nature of the market
  • degree of competition
  • product life cycle


Product differentiation:

  • unique selling point (USP)
  • brand image.

The product life cycle:

  • research and development
  • introduction
  • growth
  • maturity
  • decline
  • extension strategies:
  • updating packaging
  • adding more or different features
  • changing target market
  • advertising
  • price reduction

Product portfolio

Promotional methods:

  • advertising, including:
  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • television
  • internet
  • billboards


  • sales promotion
  • point of sales displays
  • 2 for 1 offers
  • free gifts
  • samples
  • coupons
  • competitions
  • sponsorship
  • social media.

Factors influencing the selection of the promotional mix:

  • finance available
  • competitor actions
  • the nature of the product or service
  • the nature of the market
  • target market

Reasons for promotion:

  • inform/remind customers about the product
  • create or increase sales
  • create or change the image of the product
  • persuade customers to buy the product.

Place (the different channels of distribution used by businesses):

  • retailers
  • wholesalers
  • telesales

E-commerce and m-commerce

  • Integrated nature of the marketing mix
  • Using the marketing mix to inform and implement business decisions

6. Finance

The purpose of the finance function, its role within business and how it influences business activity.

3.6.1 Sources of Finance

  • Methods businesses use to raise finance
  • Appropriateness of sources of finance

3.6.2 Cash Flow

  • Importance of cash to businesses
  • Interpreting cash flow forecasts
  • Difference between cash and profit

3.6.3 Financial Terms and Calculations

  • Basic financial terms
  • Basic financial calculations
  • Average rate of return
  • Break-even

3.6.4 Analysing the financial performance of a business

  • Purpose of financial statements
  • Components of financial statements
  • Interpretation of data given on financial statements