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  • Simran Kumari

Studying Economics for the first time

Studying economics at university as someone who didn’t do an economics A level:


Hi! My name is Simran and I am a second year student at the University of Warwick studying economics. I want to share my experiences of my time so far studying economics as someone who didn’t do an economics GSCE or A level.


My sixth form didn’t offer A level economics which is why I don’t have a background in economics, so you might be wondering why I decided to pursue it as a degree. The main reasoning behind this was because I wanted to study a degree which was broad, allow me to go down various career paths and a degree that has a lot of quantitative elements; all of which I think an economics degree has.


Before starting my degree, I was extremely worried that I would be behind my peers and be at a disadvantage for not having any prior knowledge in economics. To my surprise, it wasn’t like that at all, because the content of first year was mainly making sure that everyone was at the same level. All of my friends who did an economics A-level were always saying how different the content and teaching style is at university, so it didn’t make a difference that I didn’t have the prior knowledge they had. I felt less nervous knowing this, as everyone felt like they were all at a similar level. Was it a bit trickier for me at the start? Most definitely, but I feel that university is such a big jump from sixth form/college anyway, so navigating this change was the most difficult thing for me.


As long as you pay attention in lectures, attend seminars and do any reading or extra work you need to do, I feel like anyone can do an economics degree. Like any other subject, it just requires hard work and putting effort. There is a reason why universities don’t ask for an economics A level, and despite only studying it from the age of 19, I have loved it and found what I have learned to be so interesting. I hope this reassures anyone who wants to do an economics degree but are worried that they will struggle because they didn’t do it at A level or GCSE.


There are so many resources on the internet to help you understand what studying economics involves and how to get into if you don’t have a background in economics. Discover Economics is of course a great one, and it helped me so much when I was deciding what to study back when I was in sixth form. If you haven’t already, I definitely recommend checking out all their resources. YouTube is another great resource with so many different types of videos ranging from simple concepts in economics to more complex ones. And if you prefer more formal academic resources, check out university pre-degree reading lists to see any books, articles or podcasts they recommend.


Don’t limit yourself to studying subjects that you’ve done before, especially if you do want to pursue a degree which is unfamiliar to you. My main advice is to just research before-hand and to not stress yourself out over things like being below your friends and peers. As long as you put in the work, I am sure you will strive!

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1 Comment

Feb 22

Since A-Level Economics and degree-level is very different in terms of its content, it's easy to see why Economics degrees are still accessible for those who haven't studied it before!

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