Saturday, August 9, 2008

Why Students Did Better In Maths Than Econs?

Readers’ question: Why generally students score better in Maths than Econs?

Alright, thanks for asking. Here it goes:

(1) Too much of reading. Econs is generally known as a heavy-reading subject. If you don’t read up, chances are you can’t write anything especially for essays in Unit 5 & 6 (Edexcel specifications). For Maths, remembering even just few formulas can enable you to answer thousands of questions without even requiring you to read up. Besides, few paragraphs of Econs won’t help anyway

(2) Too many jargons. This is also a strong barrier for students. Long-winded text is already a great turn-off & is worsened with the so called ‘economic language’

(3) Have to keep updating yourself. Maths is not as ‘alive’ as Econs. Again, knowing a handful of formulas is sufficient. However Econs is ‘much alive’ & if you do not keep yourself updated, you will be unable to argue on certain issues

(4) Writing skills. Majority if not all are having the problem of expressing their thoughts in words. This has lots to do with command of language than anything else. For Maths, the answers are pretty structured & everyone will produce the same frame of answer. For Econs, different students will express themselves differently. Some just write 3 sentences while some have to struggle up to 8 sentences on a similar point. This is wasting time & students will end up not finishing the paper on time. As such many would end up saying Econs is a tough subject

(5) Late exposure. Students are exposed to Maths even when they were in pre-school unlike Econs only in Year 10 & 11 (Form 4 & 5). Furthermore, some may perceive it as a ‘low class’ subject since it is taught in BM

(6) Less homework & practice
. I have to admit that marking Econs assignments is much tougher & it takes longer than marking Maths (which may take weeks & Maths in days). As such the turnover in homework will be definitely higher for Maths than Econs e.g. in a month 2 assignments for Econs & perhaps 5 for Maths. Students are said to be more prepared in Maths than Econs accruing for this reason


(1) Soft reading. Students have to be wise in picking up reading materials that they are comfortable with. I would suggest daily news rather than magazines. This is crucially important to help students to understand the subject better, realise how it affects their daily life & ultimately nurture their love for the subject. Interest is the key of learning. Once you’re interested, you’ll automatically take it to greater heights by reading more challenging materials

(2) Brainstorm. To achieve ultimate evaluation skills, students must brainstorm economic issues & that is coming up with as many points & arguments as possible. I personally call this as ‘mental-muscle exercise’. E.g. students can ask themselves questions like ‘What is the impact of inflation?’ ‘What happens in recession?’ Then check those arguments with their lecturer

(3) Reliable textbooks. To me I strongly feel that good Econs textbook is scarce. Most of the books out there are such a turn-off even for a lecturer & personally I rely more on downloaded notes. Try to look for textbooks that really explain economic theories with case studies from beginning to the end. You may need to discuss with your Econs lecturer on this

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