Monday, May 7, 2018

Basic Examination Techniques for Section B of 9708/42 Cambridge A-Level Economics (CIE)

This post is a continuation from the previous one.

1. Ideal marks for an 'A' would be:
a) 14/20 from Section A

b) 17/25 for each essay under Section B

All would add up to 48/70, the 'standard' raw marks for an A (obviously better if you can score higher)

2. A good essay would generally have the following characteristics:
a) Written in simple and yet easy to understand English

b) Has short sentences of ideally 20 - 25 words per line. Do not use commas excessively. Also, do not squeeze/ stuff in too many ideas per line. Otherwise, that would reduce the explanatory power of the sentence. The communication between you and the examiner will become less clear. Always allow the chains of analysis to be conducted part-by-part and line-by-line

c) Use plenty of connectives e.g. moreover, therefore, although, somehow, however, having said so, next etc 

d) Always use diagram(s) where ever applicable. Do remember that examiners love diagrams. They help to make your ideas sound loud

e) Amplify the use of economic vocabularies e.g. paradox of thrift, liquidity trap, crowding out effect, wealth effect, comparative advantage, austerity measures and many more. Once in a while, do insert names like Keynes, Milton Friedman, Alfred Marshall etc. It makes the examiner 'wants' to award you with more marks

f) Throw in real life examples e.g. global financial crisis 08/09, housing bubble burst in the UK, hyperinflation in Venezuela, peace talks with rebels in Colombia leading a rise in PPC, many Sub-Saharan African nations are landlocked making it difficult to engage in maritime trade etc

3. To some extent (whether we like it or not), essays in Section B are marked not only based on economic contents but also on how they being presented/ delivered. Yes, you guessed it correctly! There will be some elements of impression-based marking. This explains why marks for every level have a range

4. Efficient time allocation would be:
a) 25 minutes for a 12 marks/ 13 marks essay
b) not more than 50 minutes for a 25 marks essay

5. Diagram(s) may be introduced before the starting of an analysis or after it. If possible, try to make sure that the diagram is on the same page as the analysis

6. You may require OWN numerical examples for areas like:
a) relationship between TPL and MPL

b) how a rational consumer allocates his/ her income between two goods 

c) injection, multiplier and national income

Nothing speaks louder than numbers themselves! Without them, explanations would become less clear. Sometimes, almost certainly you have lesser to write/ nothing to write without a numerical example to be based upon

7. Always plan your essays before writing them out. Why is it so important? Without planning, few possibilities may occur:
a) You may over-develop certain parts of the essay just to realise that there is not much time left for other areas. Therefore, other areas become under-develop e.g. remaining analysis, evaluations left out and conclusion ignored

b) You may not realise that the essay is difficult/ unsuitable for you. You can only tell effectively if you had planned right from the start. It may be too late to switch to another question

c) You will have poorer time management. Had you organised earlier, you would have been able to tell how many paragraphs are there and roughly how much time should be allocated to each of them

8. Per analysis is about 4-6 lines. That depends too on what the analysis is all about. It is usually shorter say, how a cut in interest rates would result in demand-pull inflation than say, explaining the inverse relationship between MPL and MC

9.   It is a fact, for some reasons that to achieve Level 2 marks is much, much.....easier than achieving Level 3 or even Level 4 marks

10. Generally (but not always), macroeconomic essays are much more easier than microeconomics essays. These are some of the reasons I can offer:
a) They have much fewer diagrams (let's count them e.g. AD/ AS, Keynesian cross, Laffer curve, J-curve. Any more?)

b) They have way fewer calculations/ numerical analysis. I can only think of multiplier effect or credit creation (haven't seen this in essay though)

c) It is way simpler to build chain of analysis in macro than micro

d) Macroeconomic essays are predictable too

No comments: