Saturday, May 18, 2013

Examination Strategies for Section B of Unit 4; The Global Economy (coming soon 20th May 2013)

1.  How does Section B of Unit 4: The Global Economy look like?
As usual, just like Unit 1 and 3, you will have to choose one of the two data response questions. Each of them has a fixed mark distribution. Question (a) 5 marks, (b) 8 marks, (c) 10 marks, (d) 12 marks and finally (e) 15 marks

2.  How to answer each question?
Question (a) is meant to be ‘simple’. Please make sure that you have learnt all the key terms/ definitions. 3 marks will be allocated for the correctly-defined term and 2 marks for two data references. Sometimes the 3 marks will be shared between two definitions. For example, in June 2012, Question 4(a) was asking for the definitions of both absolute and relative poverty. In some cases, you may be asked to explain a phrase. In this case, only one reference is needed and it carries equally 2 marks

Question (b) onwards maybe a little bit more complicated. Anyway I am going to simplify it here. Please provide 2 key points WITH reference and analysis. So technically, 4 marks for each. I hate to say about this, but I realise that there are irregularities here. Sometimes, 2 marks are given for ONE data reference but sometimes 2 marks will require TWO data reference. In such circumstance, giving two is the safest

Question (c) onwards will require evaluations. Here the KAA is 6 marks and evaluation 4 marks. Give 2 key points WITH reference and short analysis for each. Evaluations can be (2+2) or (1+3) marks. Again, i have simplified some irregularities here

Question (d) is 12 marks and so the breakdown will be KAA 7 marks and evaluation 5 marks. Provide 2 key points WITH reference and short analysis for each. Technically, the combination is 3 marks and 4 marks. Evaluations will be (3+2) marks

Question (e) is 15 marks and the breakdown is KAA 9 marks while evaluation is 6 marks. Provide 3 key points WITH data reference and short analysis for each. You may also provide 2 key points actually which in this case will become (4+5) marks. Evaluations will be (3+3), (4+2) or (2+2+2) marks. My advice is, go for the third one. Get yourself an ‘insurance’ here

3.  Can you forecast what the extracts are going to be?
To be very frank, it is rather hard to predict for macroeconomics papers (Unit 2 and 4) than microeconomics (Unit 1 and 3). As all of you aware, macro is rather unique. Every topic seems to be inter-related. For example, unemployment can be combined with an inflation extract; unemployment can also be combined with topics like recession, current account and more. There is no sure-fire way for me to know the exact possible combinations

However, from the past papers experience, they do have a tendency to focus on certain topics. So, for paper 4, please go and strengthen your knowledge on big topics like floating and fixed exchange rate, reasons for current account deficit, is current account deficit harmful and factors that can affect competitiveness.

The other popular question will be the notorious combination of budget deficit and national debt. Please go and familiarise issues like reasons for increasing budget deficit in the past few years, impacts of higher national debt, impacts if national debt is immediately reduced, why eurozone will have great difficulty to exit the recession and other related topics.

 Another popular topic will be on developing economies. They usually link developing economies with inequality and topics like FDI, debt cancellation, financial aid/ loans, infrastructure aid, focus on primary/ secondary sector and EOI. So, go and prepare on issues like the pros and cons of FDI, pros and cons of debt cancellation, how does financial/ infrastructure aid promotes growth and development, problems with over-dependency on primary sector and the good and bad of export-oriented growth

4.  How much time should be allocated?
Nothing less than 55 minutes. Be careful as most candidates would have used up most of the time on Section A

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