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!

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