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There are some skills essential to an Economics degree that are transferable from school, so you don’t want to lose them over the summer! They’ll be invaluable for your Economics degree, and brushing up on these skills will be great preparation before you turn up to start your degree.


Maths is a hugely important part of economics. Some colleges and courses request A-Level Maths, and if you are about to start one of them, make sure your A-Level Maths is up to scratch. 

The kind of maths that is essential to an economics degree includes calculus, probability, statistics, sequences and setting up equations. All of these skills will be introduced and taught at university level, but the pace is extremely fast, and having a strong prior understanding will put you at a huge advantage. 

Independent Study

In your A-levels you learn how to study more independently than in your GCSEs. These skills are essential to studying economics at university, where lots of it is left to you to dissect and understand. For example, you will have your own booklet of economics problems to work through, and much of the material they focus on will have to be self-taught.

Essay writing 

Economics is not all problem sheet, you will also be expected to write clear and concise written answers. If you have done an essay based A-level the skills you have learnt in this subject will be hugely helpful to your degree. 

Reading skills 

Lots of the courses that overlap with economics (such as management or philosophy) involve long weekly reading lists. You will also be expected to digest a lot of information from books in the applied economics modules. Therefore it is important to be able to read efficiently and with focus, so you can be productive and time efficient. 

I honestly didn’t know what Management was before I arrived, I don’t think anyone did! Turns out, it’s very reading-and-essay-based. Every week, we have a reading list to complete, and then we write an essay on the given essay title. We all started off slow at reading, and it was intimidating at first to see how many books were on  the reading list, but we all quickly developed our reading skills and now I find the reading list one of the most enjoyable parts of my degree.

Helen, E&M, Oxford


These four skills are of pivotal importance to an economics degree, so retaining them from school is hugely important. Furthermore, you can work on all four of them over the summer if you feel one is lacking. Buy yourself an A-Level textbook and look over it if you are worried about your maths-this will also help improve your independent study skills.

Also, reading lots of economics books will hugely help you out with acclimatising to the content, and also your reading skills. For ideas for further reading, take a look at our Economics reading list.