Thursday, May 17, 2012

Additional Examination Tips for GCE Edexcel Economics Unit 1: Competitive Markets-How They Work and Why They Fail

Some interesting findings:

1.   1. Any candidates sitting for GCE Edexcel Economics Unit 1 can easily PASS the paper by just providing accurate/ sensible definitions, making references and drawing the right diagrams. Let me provide the evidence here:

Each MCQ has one definition for sure. As many as four MCQs may have two definitions within the same question and so that is about 12 marks from Section A. In section B, typically all the five questions (a-e) will have one definition each and some especially the (d) and (e) may have two and so that brings us to about 7/8 marks of definitions from Section B. In total this is 20 marks

In section B, candidates can easily gain 1/2 marks for each of the five questions simply by making references from the Extracts or Figures provided. On a conservative tone, let just say that this is about 8 marks

In Section A, almost every question can be supported by a diagram which can come in the form of PPF, PED, XED, YED, PES, minimum price, minimum wage, cost-benefit etc. Well assume that this contributes to about 8 marks from four questions. In Section B, in case if you choose the COMMODITY question, it is almost certain that question (a) is about demand-supply analysis, which means 3/4 marks. Question (d) and (e) are usually diagram-based and typically the diagrams weigh as much as 4 marks each. So, in total candidates may gain 12 marks from Section B alone. Both sections can easily contribute 20 marks

Do the maths: 20 marks (definition) + 8 marks (references) + 20 marks (diagrams) = 48/ 80 and this is MORE THAN JUST A PASS!!

2.   2. Another interesting development in Unit 1 is that since January 2011, there will only be 5 questions, (a) until (e). The last two questions will always be 14 marks. The interesting fact is that, those two questions are always seemed to be predictable. It will be any 2 of the 5 topics like minimum price, buffer stock, taxation, subsidy and cost-benefit analysis. The instruction is nothing but economic effects, economic effects, economic effects and it goes on and on and the beauty is the evaluations seem to be stereotype too. You can get all the answers in the Unit 1 Guide which is also written by the Edexcel examiners. So candidates, what are you waiting for? Go and buff up these 5 topics. There will be no regret
1.       3. In case if candidates have insufficient time, as always the case, please jump to question (d) and (e). By providing definitions (market failure, external cost, external benefits etc) and diagrams for both, you can easily gain 13/14 marks out of the 28 marks. Better than nothing right?

2.     4. PLEASE DO NOT USE ELIMINATION METHOD as the core strategy in Section A. Edexcel has become increasingly stringent in dishing out marks and more often than not, to eliminate the wrong options, it is INSUFFICIENT by just changing a word or two. It must be backed by SOLID EXPLANATIONS and ELABORATIONS as why those options are wrong rather than changing the wrong economics term say from, consumers surplus to producer surplus, PED to XED, XYZ to XYW etc. Eliminations based on ‘no’ and ‘not’ will not be entertained. They are considered ‘dirt cheap’. For instance:
     Option A is wrong since it is NOT producer surplus
     Option B is incorrect since it is NOT inelastic
     Option C is wrong since this is NOT about PPF

My advice is, do not use elimination method unless you have a strong theoretical grounding

3  5.  No additional marks will be awarded for duplications. For instance, in the answer candidates mention area of consumer surplus is XYZ and again you shade the XYZ area in diagram, then only 1 mark will be available rather than two

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