St. Joseph's Catholic College

Business Studies




Business Studies is an optional subject at GCSE. Key subject aims are to:

  • Actively engage students in the study of business and to develop them as effective and independent learners, and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds
  • Allow students to develop and apply their business knowledge, understanding and skills to contemporary issues in a range of local, national and global contexts
  • Enable students to appreciate the range of perspectives of different business stakeholders
  • Enable students to consider the extent to which business activity can be ethical and sustainable.

Edexcel GCSE Applied Business Studies

The Edexcel Applied Business Studies course introduces pupils to the world of small businesses and what makes someone a successful business person. They will find out how to develop an idea and spot an opportunity, and turn that into a successful business. Pupils will learn how to make a business effective and manage money well. They will also see how the world around us affects small businesses and all the people involved. Pupils learn about how small businesses are developed and discover how businesses promote themselves and keep their customers happy. They also learn how businesses manage both their finances and the people who work for them.

GCSE Applied Business Studies is taught in Key Stage 4. It is assessed by one piece of controlled conditions coursework and one external examination.

Is this the right subject for me?

If you are interested in the world of business, or would like to start your own business, then the GCSE in Applied Business would be a good option to choose. The course is based on investigating actual businesses, plus an introduction to business finance. It is ‘applied’ because you use what you learn to understand the businesses you investigate. If you want to:

  • Learn about and understand the world of business
  • Develop skills in the financial aspects of business
  • Carry out research away from, as well as within, the classroom
  • Learn how to work in a team with other members of the class
  • Learn through investigation, rather than through listening and reading

Then this may be right for you and different from other subjects that you have studied previously.


What will I learn?

The business world is constantly changing. This course has recently been updated to give you the chance to learn about these changes as well as covering conventional material. There are two units:

Unit 1: Investigating how businesses work
This unit is an investigation into what business enterprise is all about, including how businesses are organised and how people are involved. It also looks at new issues such as ‘ethical’ and ‘green’ business. You will focus on one local and one national or international business.

Unit 2: Financial Records
This unit focuses on how businesses record financial transactions, make payments and keep records of how well they are doing. You will learn about balance sheets and profit and loss accounts and how to use these to understand business performance in a practical context.


Units 1 is based on controlled conditions coursework. You will investigate your two chosen businesses and use the information you gather to respond to tasks set by the exam board under supervised conditions. These tasks will be published in advance so that you will know what to expect!

For Unit 2 there is a 60-minute written examination based on a business scenario. You will use what you have learned to answer the questions.