Entry requirements

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  • Six GCSEs 9-4 (or A*-C)
  • Two from English, Maths OR Science
  • Two at least grade 6

What is Business?

Applied Business is an exciting vocational alternative to A Level Business. It is aimed at developing your knowledge of the main functions of a business (such as finance, human resources, and marketing) and looking at how businesses might be affected by the external environment.

You will study an OCR Cambridge Technical Extended certificate in Business which is a two-year course equivalent to 1 A level. It is suitable for students who are interested in studying Business via a combination of coursework and exam assessments.

Exam board: OCR

What will I study?

Unit 1 – The Business environment (Year 1)

In this unit you will develop an understanding of how and why businesses operate in the way they do. You will look at a range of different types of business and business structures and explore how the ownership of a business and its objectives are interrelated. You will learn about the importance of different functions within a business and how they work together.
Method of assessment: External exam (2hrs)

Unit 2 – Working in Business (Year 2)

This unit will cover the skills and understanding needed to work effectively within a business environment. This includes arranging meetings, working with business documents, making payments, prioritising business activities, and communicating with stakeholders.
Method of assessment: External Exam (1hr 30 Mins)

Unit 4 – Customers and communication (Year 1)

In this unit you will learn the purpose, methods, and importance of communication in business and the appropriateness of different forms of communication for different situations. You will develop the skills that will help you create a rapport with customers and have the opportunity to practise and develop your business communication skills.
Method of assessment: Coursework

Unit 11 – Accounting concepts (Year 2)

This unit will give you an introduction to the foundations of business accounting. The unit will allow you to gain essential skills in, and knowledge of, the purposes of accounting, and the accounting procedures used to produce final accounts. You will consider the reasons for keeping accurate financial records and the importance of updating cash books and preparing bank reconciliation statements.
Method of assessment: Coursework

Unit 17 – Responsible business practices (Year 2)

This unit introduces the concept of responsible business practices (sometimes known as corporate social responsibility). By this we mean how a business manages its activities to produce a positive impact on society. In implementing responsible business practices, a business can be responding to legislation and regulations while some show a commitment to behaving ethically and contributing to economic development and improving the quality of life of the workforce, their families and of the local community.
Method of assessment: Coursework


You will develop an understanding of how organizations operate and will develop strong oral and written communication skills. In addition, you will develop analytical and critical thinking skills; problem solving; decision making; logical thinking; presentation and report writing skills. 10% of the course is quantitative, so numerical skills are developed throughout the course.


Our students often progress to careers in business management, accounting and finance, marketing and advertising, the financial services, public relations or management consultancy.

Many of our students go on to study Business related courses at degree level. Institutions such as The University of Manchester, The University of Leeds, The University of Liverpool and Lancaster Universities are common choices.


Is there any coursework in this subject?

Yes! Applied Business is 50% coursework and 50% exams. This means that you will have the opportunity to complete 3 units of coursework over the two year period as well as sitting two external exams. You do have the opportunity to resit these external exams.

Is it an A Level?

You will study an OCR Cambridge Technical Extended certificate in Business which is a two-year course equivalent to 1 A level. It is graded D* to P. It offers the same UCAS points when applying to university.

Is the course right for me?

You need a genuine interest in businesses and the world outside of education. You need to be able to work well individually in completing coursework and have the ability to meet deadlines. Business complements all subjects because every student will be an employee at some point, whether as an
engineer, a dancer etc, so will benefit from learning more about businesses.

What other subjects are good with l Business?

Applied Business is suitable to take with a wide variety of other A levels and / or BTECs. We attract many students who also take Sociology, Psychology, Law, Economics or Accounting but also a lot that take other vocational courses such as BTEC ICT or Criminology. For some, they feel it is complementing their current subject choice and may aid their university choice and for others they take the subject because it is a little different to the other subjects they are studying. In the end, we recommend to students that they take the subjects that they think they will enjoy!

Where could studying Business take me?

Applied Business covers a broad range of topics. Many of our students go on to study Business at university. Business graduates work in various fields, such as advertising, public relations, accounting, banking, finance, Human resource management and many more. Apprenticeships (including degree level apprenticeships) are is another area where A Level Business students can be successful.

Is Applied Business similar to GCSE?

Some of the content that you may have studied in GCSE Business will also be covered in the Unit 1 exam – but in a lot more detail and depth! In the second year, the course gets broader with an international focus including topics such as accounting concepts and corporate social responsibility which are new topic areas.

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