Thursday, January 5, 2012

Examination Techniques for Unit 1: Competitive Markets-How They Work and Why They Fail?

Tips and advice for MCQs:

1. If you are given a diagram, try to make good use of it. This may include shading an area, add lines/ curves and insert labels

2. Similarly, if you think your answers can be supported by a diagram, do not hesitate to provide one. Both tips 1 and 2 are very applicable to topics like PPF and opportunity cost, consumer and producer surplus, PED, XED, YED and PES, taxation and subsidy, cost-benefit analysis and demand-supply analysis

3. If you are given figures, again try to make good use of it. Perform a calculation or make an interpretation e.g. prices of oil had increased between 2006 to 2008 etc

4. If you think your answers can be supported by numerical examples, do not hesitate to provide your own examples. Tips 3 and 4 are very applicable to topics like PPF and opportunity cost, consumer and producer surplus, PED, XED, YED and PES

5. If you do not know how to explain the correct option chosen, you may go for the elimination method. You may start by writing ‘Option A is incorrect because....’. Please remember that the options eliminated must be stated like in this case is A. Second, there must a valid reason for the elimination. Third, you have to rewrite the whole options that have been corrected rather than crossing-out and correcting it

6. You can get a maximum 3 marks by eliminating the incorrect options. Similarly, a maximum 3 explanation marks can be awarded even if the selected option is incorrect

7. Candidates are advised to spend not more than 40 minutes for the 8 MCQs

8. The standard procedure is choose the correct answer (1m), provide relevant definition (1m) and explain why you choose that option (2m)

9. In some situations, you can actually get away FULL 4 marks without even addressing the need of the question. Correct answer (1m), 2 definitions (2m) and a brief explanation which may or may not be directly related to the question (1m)

10. In case if you are stuck after choosing the correct option, please think of tips 1-5 NO MATTER WHAT (go memorise all the 5, 2 on diagram, 2 on figures and 1 on elimination). They are extremely useful but are often overlooked.

11. Do not ‘fall in love’ with the question. Once you cannot even figure out the correct option after 3 minutes, I strongly advise you to move on. Another simple and effective technique that is often underestimated

Tips and advice for data response

1. Once you are in Section B, do not proceed by reading the extract. Go straight to the questions. Run through everything. Try to get the feel. Provided if you are well prepared, I can guarantee that one of the questions will be more appealing. As you run through, you should be able to understand the instructions clearly (REDD which I will explain later), knowing more or less points that are required etc. This technique may not be applicable to those who study last minute e.g. 1 or 2 days before exam. The reason is simple. Since you study last minute, both questions will definitely appear hard

2. Stick to REDD all the time. I design the acronym which carries the meaning of REFERENCE, EVALUATION, DEFINITON and DIAGRAM. I can guarantee you that each question will have the combinations e.g. definition and diagram or reference with diagram etc

3. The acronym for evaluation is JEDATE which stands for Justify, Evaluate, Discuss, Assess, To what extent and Examine

4. Analyse, Outline, Explain and Contrast are NOT evaluation words. So, please do not waste your precious time to evaluate shall you come across these 4 words

5. There are six evaluation techniques I generally use. They are contradicting earlier explanation with valid reason, how does the impact in long run differs from short run, prioritisation (use only when there is a clear cut winning point), magnitude when the points are quantifiable (costs, profits, extent of pollution and congestion etc), criticising the information provided (e.g. insufficient data is provided) and finally evaluation of previous evaluation (contact me if you want the details). Of all, my favourite is contradiction since it is easy to be used

6. Watch out for a blank page for question 9 and 10. I had several cases where my students thought the question ended there when in fact the continuation is actually the page after

7. It is very wrong to think that longer explanations carry more marks. In the study of A-Levels Economics, we place great emphasis on concise writing. This is extremely important because not knowing what to write and to what extent is the length may actually cause you to waste too much time on a single question and in the end unable to finish the paper. It will severely affect your grade

8. Practise at least 10 sets of data response questions to acquire the writing skill. It is a wrong approach to the subject if you think you can get away by memorising answers and not having it written down

Best of luck !! ;)

1 comment:

DoovT said...

Thank you so much for your fantastic post. You've stated about "evaluating your evaluation" in the evaluation section and I was hoping you would be able to explain this further? Thank you!