Friday, May 10, 2013

Examination Strategies for Unit 4: Global Economy (Section A)

1. What are the hottest topics that we should prepare for Section A (20 marks and 30 marks essays)?
Take out a piece of paper and brainstorm for all the possible points as well as evaluations for the topics listed below. Some harder topics may require extra efforts e.g. consulting your lecturer or internet research. Nonetheless, if you strictly follow this list, I promise that your revision time can be cut short by as much 50%. Achieve more by doing less since you already knew areas that are heavily tested

(A) World trade
a.  Reasons for globalisation
b.  Costs and benefits of globalisation
c.  Economic effects of the increase in numbers and size of trading blocs
d.  Reasons for protectionism
e.  Economic effects of protectionism
f.   Reasons for widening current account deficit
g.  Is large current account deficit a cause of concern?
h.  Measures to reduce current account deficit
i.  Factors that can affect the international competitiveness of UK goods and services
j.  Policies to increase the international competitiveness of UK goods and services
k. Economic effects of an increase/ decrease in the price of non-renewable resources

(B) Growth and development and poverty
1.  Strategies to promote growth and development
2.  Reasons for the rise in absolute poverty in Sub Saharan African economies
3.  Reasons for widening income inequality in any country of your choice
4.  Problems with over dependency on primary sectors/ FDIs/ international aid

(C) Public finances and eurozone economies
1.  Costs and benefits of adopting the single currency
2.  Reasons for slower economic recovery: eurozone economies vs. non-eurozone economies (UK, Sweden etc)
3.  Reasons for the high budget deficit and national debt in a country of your choice
4.  Economic effects of high budget deficit/ national debt
5.  Economic effects if drastic measures are undertaken to reduce the budget deficit/ national debt

2. How much time is recommended for Section A?
Although the suggested time by Edexcel is 1 hour, most candidates take longer than that. Ideally, it shouldn’t be more than 1 hour 10 minutes. If yet to finish, move on. Section B is equally important too. They carry another 50% weightage for the entire paper

3. How many points and evaluations we need to give?
As for question (a) (20 marks), you are required to give 3 points and 2 evaluations while for question (b) (30 marks), you have to provide 4 points with 3 evaluations

4. How long is each paragraph?
Let’s do the math. We have in total of 12 paragraphs (5 and 7) and we are told that Section A requires 1 hour and so technically, each paragraph is about 5 minutes. Very good candidates can write up to 100 words while average candidates typically 70-80 words. In fact how long or how short is not much of an issue itself. The most important question is how sufficient? Is the transmission mechanism complete? Is your explanation clear? Do you insert diagram to make your answer presentable? How well you use economics jargon (Golden Rule, Sustainable Investment Rule, paradox of thrift etc) in your writing?

5. Do we provide an evaluative point soon after each analysis?
This is a matter of preference. There is no right or wrong. You can provide an evaluation after each analysis or write out all the analysis followed by all evaluations towards the end. However, there is a good and bad for these two writing styles. If you provide an evaluation soon after each analysis, chances are the flows of your essay will look so much better but it may take you quite a while to think of a proper evaluation. There is a possibility that you may use up too much time and hence unable to finish the essay. Candidates who took way longer than 1 hour usually use such approach

On the other hand, candidates who write evaluations towards the end after all the analysis may not have written an essay with good flows but they stand a higher chance to score higher. They are also more likely to be able to complete the essays within an hour. Also, it is worth to note that KAA marks are easier to pick up and this second candidate would have earned all while the first candidate is still struggling with first/ second evaluation before moving on next analysis

I will blog about Section B as well the list of definitions for Econs 4. Stay tune.

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