The Cambridge IGCSE Business Studies syllabus develops learners' understanding of business activity in the public and private sectors, and the importance of innovation and change. Learners find out how the major types of business organisation are established, financed and run, and how their activities are regulated. Factors influencing business decision-making are also considered, as are the essential values of cooperation and interdependence. Learners not only study business concepts and techniques but also enhance related skills such as numeracy and enquiry. The syllabus provides both a foundation for further study at Cambridge International A Level and an ideal preparation for the world of work.
What do you enjoy about the subject?
Chung Jin: I think business is really really fun in that it is not as stressful as other subjects like add. maths or science. You get to learn how the world changes and how the business changes with it - what affects the business and such things like that.
Megan: I really like business, mainly because it’s very unexpecting. You never know what you are learning. For example, sometimes you could be learning about finance and the next day you will be learning about communication so it’s really interesting.
Paul: I think business is really different from the other subjects; it’s not just answering questions, it’s not just giving opinions. It’s much more different from just doing geography or maths in which you solve maths problems.
What is the most challenging about the subject?
Paul: I think business is really challenging because there are a lot of keywords and factors leading to certain things and definitions that you will have to memorise/remember even at the test.
Megan: For me, what’s challenging about business studies is definitely the exam because it requires a lot of critical thinking and it can’t be opinion-based. It must always be fact-based and about what you have learnt. And majority of the times, you won’t be able to get it in the textbook because the teacher really wants you to be able to step out of the comfort zone and be able to think of ideas and answers that will really show off your knowledge.
Chung Jin: I think the most challenging thing is probably structuring your answers and using the knowledge from the case study or the example they’ve given to apply that scenario to your question. It’s not just memorising all the definitions and things like that.
Why did you choose this subject?
Megan: I personally chose this subject back in year 10 because I found it really interesting. It was one of the subjects that wasn’t just all about mathematics for example, accounting, and there were a lot of aspects to it that I believed would really help me during my A level studies.
Paul: I think I only chose business because I didn’t really know much about the other business subjects like economics or accounting, so I thought business studies would be the best one to go for.
Chung Jin: I chose the subject because I wanted to know more about business activity, how the business works and the different levels in a business like the people, the production, selling and marketing.
Was there anything in the subject that was different from your initial expectations? What
were the main changes from year 9?
Chung Jin: There wasn’t much - I didn’t have high expectations because we never did business studies in year 9 but I expected it to be really really hard with a lot of maths and a lot of that kind of thing, but it turns out it’s actually not that much maths, but more writing and thinking.
Megan: Yeah, same here for me because back in year 9 we had an introduction lesson where we learnt about investing and we thought it was going to be mathematics-based, but for now it has been really fun.
Paul: I think back in year 9 I thought I didn’t really know much about business because we never really learnt about it but from what I see now, it’s very different from all the subjects. I didn’t expect it to be a totally new world; I thought it would be similar to geography or maybe just English.
What do lessons look like in terms of writing, independent study, collaboration,
Megan: In terms of collaboration, we’ve done a lot of group work, like debate as well as there was one time back in year 11 that I really liked where we had to form groups to become a business ourselves and run around school to find potential investors. For example, Mr. Martin was a bank manager and we had to convince him to loan us his money. So it was really interesting.
Paul: In terms of note taking and actually studying for the subject, there’s quite less note taking than I expected to be there because we do a lot of group work and powerpoint presentations and creating surveys.
Chung Jin: Assessment-wise, there is usually only assessments after every topic. And usually when writing in class, there is not much; she just wants you to listen and understand the topic rather than just note-take and memorise all the information.
How much homework or independent study will I be doing a week in this subject?
Paul: I generally don’t study that much but in terms of homework, I think if you don’t procrastinate like me, I think it will be easy to get your homework done in a short amount of time.
Megan: Because Miss Renee is very considerate, majority of the time homework is not a lot and as long as you are not lazy - you know, sometimes halfway through studying I’ll be dancing around; don’t do that - you’ll be able to get it done.
Chung Jin: There is almost no homework. Independent study - I study. I revise the topic once a month so I don’t forget.
What are the skills or knowledge you can develop in this subject and why are they useful?
Megan: A lot of the knowledge that I’ve developed has really helped me for A levels. For example, I’m taking global perspectives, so for global perspectives there are a lot of thought processes that they have to go through and I was able to use business perspectives to apply it to my presentations, and because business studies also teaches you how to communicate better, so it has helped me with teamwork and other sorts of projects.
Paul: I think business has really helped me to develop my critical thinking skills and giving opinions and different perspectives in different kinds of situations in business studies.
Chung Jin: It teaches you how to build a good judgement on the business - whether or not they should do one option or do another option - and helps you write, like evaluating a business.
Any tips for the new Business Studies students?
Chung Jin: Get organised, especially your notes. So like later on when you are trying to study, all your notes aren’t everywhere. Like my notes, I don’t know where my notes are, so I make new notes.
Paul: This is just for generally all the subjects: don’t procrastinate. Just study, and if you get homework just do it on the spot.
Megan: My tip is get a folder and keep all of the worksheets that she gives you, because in the end there is going to be work scrutiny.
How do you study for the subject?
Paul: I normally either just use flashcards to remember/memorise all the definitions for keywords or I’ll just read through the textbook over and over again on specific topics.
Megan: For me, it’s definitely past year papers because it helps you a lot because a lot of the times what you do in the exam is different from what you learn in the subject itself.
Chung Jin: I think writing notes is really good because when you write it down, it really sticks in your memory. Rather than reading it over and over again, you could write down notes, summarise them and read them again.
Will taking any other subject help me to be successful in this one?
Megan: No, because business studies is unique on its own.
Paul: Maybe, maybe geography or history since they both use analysing skills and critical thinking.
Chung Jin: I think English, but everybody takes English. Economics, anything that helps you learn how to write and analyse.
Overview by Ms. Renee
Describe your subject in 3 words
So my subject in three words - it’s challenging, it’s interesting, and it’s very relatable.
What are the top 3 skills needed to be successful in your subject?
Determination - you need to be very determined - you need to be very hardworking, and you need to be extremely inquisitive. So if you sort of like slack, then you’re going to find it very hard to catch up.
How does your subject promote personal development?
It’s all about personal development. If you ask any of my students, they’ll tell you that it has been an absolute rollercoaster for them. There have been highs, there have been lows and at the end of the day, they pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
How does your subject promote professional development? (career pathway)
Anything that you do in the future, whether you work for a business or not, whether you start your own business or whether you are just a lawyer or engineer, you will be working in a business. So business is 100% applicable in the future.
What’s the best thing about your subject?
It’s 100% relatable. You’re a consumer, you see businesses around you, you buy things, you experience service, so if you are aware and you know what to look out for, it’s all around you.
Papers in IGCSE Business Studies
Skills assessed (for both papers):
Knowledge - Knowing and recalling information
Application - Applying the knowledge to a context given in case study or data response
Analysis - Looking at the impact of a particular factor or scenario
Evaluation - The if’s, why’s and why not’s; justifying your opinions
Paper 1: Data response and short answer questions
1 hour 30 minutes
50% of total marks
Paper 2: Case study
1 hour 30 minutes
50% of total marks
Emphasis on application