Securing high marks in the Edexcel A Level Business Paper 3 Context Exam
We are currently working on APT’s Mock Exam Paper for the Edexcel Paper 3 Context exam on the health and fitness industry, and I am realising just how useful the last 8 weeks have been spent researching the industry, and writing the 100+page detailed investigation into the context for teachers, of which an essential revision summary is being written for students.  The research undertaken and contained in this document is proving highly useful to bring in answers to the mock paper to secure high marks.  For example, one of the 8 questions included in this mock paper concerns the influence of new technology on the market for health and fitness clubs (relating to bullet 2 of Edexcel’s research brief).  Here is the relevant extract relating to this question, the question itself, and points extracted from APT’s detailed investigation into the context that could be brought into this answer…  
Extract A
Importance of innovation in the UK health and fitness market
The market for health and fitness clubs and gyms is very competitive.  Consumers are also generally more demanding, sophisticated and experimental.  They expect health and fitness clubs and gyms to be innovative, and there is a constant need to invest in new technologies in order to attract and retain customers.
1 (a) Assess two implications for private UK health and fitness clubs and gyms of ‘a constant need to invest in new technologies’ (Extract A). (8)
[Implication: conclusions that can be drawn from this.]
Possible responses:
Implication: It is likely to incur costs:

  • The cost to purchase and install new technologies.
  • The cost to train staff how to use the new technologies.
  • The cost of any borrowing required to fund the investment in terms of interest payments.

Any increase in costs, reduces profit margins, unless prices can be increased, which may not be possible in the market for health and fitness clubs and gyms, given that it is increasingly competitive.
Implication: It is, however, likely to be essential to maintain and attract customers:
This is because, customers now have in-depth knowledge themselves about new technologies affecting the industry – as a result of instant access to up to date information over the web and through social media. They may very well choose between different clubs / gyms based on how innovative a club / gym is, for example, in terms of whether they have the most up-to-date gym equipment, such as vibration plates and virtual reality workout stations, as well as whether or not they can book online or access the club / gym via social media. Investment in the most up-to-date gym equipment may not be so important if there is only one private health and fitness club in a particular area, but in many towns and cities there is more than one private health and fitness facility to choose between, and keeping up to date with new technologies may be crucial in maintaining a competitive edge.
Without prior research into the context, students are likely to struggle, especially in the limited time they have, to provide a quality answer, and there are numerous other points mentioned in APT’s detailed investigation into the context that could also be brought into this answer to secure a higher level.  Four further examples are provided below…
In addition, new technologies may provide an opportunity to maximise revenues and / or reduce costs, and thus increase profits and profitability in the longer-term.  For example: 

  • There are now wearable mobile apps that allow people to log their activity, manage their diet, view class timetables and share information on social media.  Embracing such technology could help health and fitness clubs and gyms increase membership numbers and / or even provide additional revenue sources, especially amongst 16-34 year olds (who demonstrate the most interest in using these devices).  For instance, clubs / gyms could lease or sell fitness bands or smart watches as part of a membership package.  They could also gather data from such devices to offer a more personalised service to members for an additional fee – through exercise and nutrition plans designed to meet individual member’s needs.
  • Social media internet technology provides the facility for health clubs and gyms to quickly and very cheaply interact with members outside of the club / gym environment using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat for example and could be used to showcase new exercises and routines and remind members of any special offers or events. Such regular interaction can be a very cheap and highly cost effective way to build brand loyalty / aid customer retention.  It can also be a very cheap, cost effective way to reach potential new customers – enabling existing members to instantly share information, including word of mouth reviews about the club / gym with friends, family and / or work colleagues.
  • Electronic iPads / tablets in the lobby / reception areas can also be used to show timetables and offer the facility for users to sign up for a class, as well as advertise other facilities at the fitness facility such as personal training and beauty treatments, where applicable.  This could reduce administration and marketing costs.
  • Electronic devices to sign in and out of a facility can also collate data to determine busy periods and marketing campaigns subsequently created to encourage use of the facilities at off-peak times, thereby maximising revenues and capacity utilisation.

This is just one of 8 questions on the health and fitness industry that are being included in our mock paper, answers and mark schemes for the 2017 context, and the answer makes full use of the research that has been gathered for APT’s detailed investigation into the context for teachers, as well as APT’s essential revision summaries for students, which cover all 5 bullet points referred to in Edexcel’s research brief.
These are just 3 of the 5 resources that are included in our Complete Context Companion, which is being written with the aim of minimising your workload and helping to maximise your students’ grades.  The other 2 resources include PowerPoints for teachers and research tasks for students with links to relevant articles.  The Complete Context Companion is being published in a couple of weeks (Wednesday 15 February) and can be pre-ordered now to ensure prompt despatch.

Pre-order NOW 

Price: £85 + VAT for email or download (+ £2.50 for CD) for unlimited use at your school or college.