Thursday, July 19, 2018

To write a “good” (i.e. Level 4) economics essay for the IB:

I handed out (emailed, actually) once again for my IB Economics students the following on how to prepare a 'good' economics (paper 1) essay (based, of course, on the official IBO criteria).

To satisfy the criteria for Level 4, you must:

1.       Show clear understanding of what exactly the question is about

2.       Clearly define ALL the relevant terms

3.       Clearly explain the relevant economic theory involved

4.       Carefully draw, label and effectively explain any appropriate diagram(s)

5.       Effectively use examples, preferably from recent from the real world; not just mention but ‘use

  ….and, for part (b): there must be evidence of appropriate synthesis or evaluation

The essay must also be clearly structured.  It should never be a ‘blob’.  It should include several, clearly distinguishable, paragraphs; each paragraph must be separated from the next with a blank line. 

You may start by defining the central term(s) of the essay (probably in its wording).  You may include, especially in a part (b), a concluding, summative paragraph, where a summary of the information you provided is presented.

Read the question many times before you start. Do so, even while you are answering it.  It will help you remain focused.  Very often, candidates go off on (irrelevant) tangents.  Writing everything you know on a topic is also a recipe for disaster as this approach does not reflect clear or any understanding of the "specific demands" of the question. 

Don't forget to read your work again before handing it in.  If it is a homework assignment and you decide you do not like what you did, do it again.  It will save you lots of time in the long term.

Also, before staring to write a specific homework essay, make sure you know very well the underlying theory.  It is preferable that you read again before you start a question the relevant pages from the textbook or the study guide your teacher has assigned as well as your class notes (as recent, real world, examples may have been mentioned in class).

Needless to say, if it is an exam, you must keep track of time!

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