Sunday, May 13, 2012

IB Economics (May) Exam, coming soon to a theater near you...

Tuesday and Wednesday, the big days for Econ Cand12.  These are the tips  I give my kids for HLP3 and SLP2.  Please ignore if your instructor has advised you differently.

For SLP2 &HLP3

  • ·         Choose 3 of the 5 questions; choose on the basis of the questions (during your 5 minutes reading time); just skim through the extracts;
  • ·         You have 40 minutes for each: try doing (a), (b) and (c) in 15 to 17 minutes so that you have 23 -25 minutes for (d)
  • ·         Definitions should be as compact as possible; no reason to write more than 3-4 lines maximum – often a lot less; these are 12 easy points to collect; find a solid IB economics textbook or study guide that contains a good glossary
  • ·         Often (b) & (c) questions can be done without even looking at the extract
  • ·         If a (b) or (c) question asks for an ‘appropriate’ diagram then it’s 2 marks for the diagram and 2 marks for the explanation: the diagram must be fully labeled; the explanation shouldn’t be longer than 10 lines long (IB exam paper) and there must be explicit reference to the diagram drawn.
  • ·         To do (d) first read the question very carefully ensuring that you know EXACTLY what you are asked to evaluate; then, brainstorm to locate the area of the syllabus the necessary theory belongs; then start reading the extract trying to locate 2-3 phrases that you will use (in quotes and with an explicit ‘pointer’ à e.g. ‘see paragraph 3’) in your answer. Do NOT regurgitate the extract.
  • ·         Try making 4 separate points in each (d) answer, 2 ‘on the one hand’ and 2 ‘on the other hand’, each in its own paragraph that is separated from the next with a blank line.  Your evaluation must be ‘balanced’. Remember that there are producers (domestic/ foreign/ export oriented / import competing/ large / small…), buyers (households that are rich / poor / old / young…; but also other firms…), the state, the short term and the long term etc.  Include a 5th concluding paragraph that you start with something like: ‘Overall…’ or, ‘in my opinion it seems that…’ which brings together / synthesizes your analysis/ evaluation. 
  • ·         Remember that when evaluating the impact of something on the performance of an economy you could look at the impact on output/ growth, inflation, employment/ unemployment, the current account and the exchange rate as well as on income distribution…
  • ·         Remember that an evaluation is a normative piece of work; examiners ask for your opinion which though must be based and backed by theory; examiners expect economic analysis, explicit references to the extract and a balanced evaluative opinion on the issue(s).
Good luck!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Big Mac (again)

Just minutes after talkeing to one of my two IB1 HL Economics sections about the Big Mac I found this interesting article explaining its origins  backgound (as a conversion factor and a measure of whether a currency is over or undervalued) and the results of a new research paper that interests IB Economics candidates:
Big Maconomics: How McDonald's Explains the World

Worth your time I think!