Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Popular Questions for Section A of 9708/22 (CIE) (CAIE) A-Level Economics

Important updates:
1. Do not evaluate/ provide conclusion just because the question is an 8-marker (Section B, part (a) of each essay). High marks do not automatically indicate that the question is evaluative in nature. By contrast, low marks also do not necessarily imply that there won't be any evaluation. In A2, there were instances where a question is a 5-marker and yet evaluation and conclusion are expected from students. Instead, interpret/ watch out the keywords that they use such as:
(i) Discuss (most common one) ....
(ii) Explain whether ....
(iii) How far ....
(iv) To what extent ....
(v) Do you agree ....
(vi) Is this the most important feature ....

2. Evaluations and conclusion come in a package. You can only have something to conclude or weigh upon after considering both advantages and disadvantages/ pros and cons. It is somewhat illogical to provide conclusion where no arguments/ discussions prior take place (to conclude against what?)
After a 'chronic' two hours, this is what I found:

Microeconomic questions
a) Calculating percentage of change. You may be asked to find the new price or the original price

b) Identify one demand reason and one supply reason which may explain for the rise/ fall in the price of a particular commodity

c) Using demand and supply diagram to show how equilibrium price and quantity will be affected when an indirect tax/ subsidy is being introduced. It can also be applied to show how an exchange rate has risen or fallen in value. Please take note of the keyword 'show'. It means that you do not have to provide analysis/ explanation. The diagram on its own is suffice to earn you a full 2 marks. Only provide analysis when the instruction is 'explain'. Alternatively, watch out for the marks allocated. If it is a 4-marker, then you have to explain

d) Maximum/ minimum price. Normally, you will be asked to draw a diagram. Then you need to include analysis e.g. expansion in demand but contraction in supply which leads to shortage. Likely to be a 4-marker

e) Production possibility curve e.g. whether it will shift inward or outward based on the information provided e.g. recession, peace talk with rebels, economic recovery and others. There will be analysis marks for this. Usually, it would be a 4-marker

Macroeconomic questions
a) Current account balance. Compare between two given years of whether it has improved or worsened. Likely to have minor calculations here

b) What other information would be needed to determine the current account balance e.g. you may be given 'balance of trade in goods' and so, you have to state the others like 'net trade in services', ' net investment income' and 'net transfers'

c) How a depreciation may cause demand-pull and cost-push inflation

d) Conditions necessary for a depreciation to turn a current account deficit into surplus e.g. PEDx > 1 or/ and PEDm > 1, there is no parallel devaluation, inflation rates must not increase by the full extent as depreciation, trading partners do not impose protectionist measures and others (very, very, very popular!)

e) Whether protectionism is justified. To some extent e.g. protect sunrise industries, safeguard sunset industries, ensuring survival of strategic industries and prevent dumping. No since it will promote complacency, lead to trade war and cause cost-push inflation

f) How components of the aggregate demand are affected when there is a rise/ fall in the price of a particular commodity. Consider the case of falling oil prices. Oil typically has low PED. So, when the price of oil falls, total revenue from oil exports will also decline. Ceteris paribus, (X-M) will fall and so there will be a decline in AD. Second, oil firms will reduce their investment e.g. oil exploration activities. That will also reduce the AD. Then, government revenue from oil exports will also be adversely affected. Spending into the economy e.g. schools, hospitals, roads and bridges is likely to be cut. Again this is a fall in AD. What about C? In an oil-dependent economy, it is safe to assume that many people are employed in the oil and gas sector. In this case, employment will be axed and so C will fall. Alternatively, the government may raise taxes or introduce new ones to cover up shortfall in revenue. This will again reduce C into the economy. All these reflect a fall/ leftward shift of AD

g) Whether currency appreciation/ depreciation is more desirable

h) Whether fixed exchange rate system is reliable. Yes as this may promote international trade, encourage investment and avoid speculation which may destabilise local financial market. No, as it requires huge amount of foreign reserves, speculations will always be there and interest rates can no longer be altered to achieve certain macroeconomic aims  

i) Which category of spending that has the greatest impact onto price index. Here you need to watch out for largest price change or/ and component with biggest weighting assigned

Easy-to-follow tips which may increase your ability to score tomorrow:
a) If you cannot finish the 'discuss' question in Section A, list out all the points and evaluations. You may still gain 2 marks for listing. Obviously, this is better than nothing

b) Before you hand up your paper, please check all the diagrams and ensure that they are in satisfactory condition e.g. label of axes, label of curves, whether you accidentally put price and quantity instead of price level and real output (most common mistake). Ignoring this may cause you to lose up to 4 marks, depending on how many diagram questions are there in the paper

c) Write concisely. Do not provide evaluations or/ and conclusion for an 8-marker. It is a pure waste of time as the instruction is 'EXPLAIN'. There is no provision of marks for these two, no matter how well you have written them. While it is not wrong to do so, do bear in mind that they will certainly take away some precious time from other sections/ parts. Inability to finish the paper = lower marks

d) Use lots of paragraph to distinguish your ideas/ evaluations, one from another (especially for candidates whose writing skills are still in the development/ formation stage). It also gives the examiner a pleasant marking experience which may translate into higher marks (how significant I wouldn't know, but it does bear some weight. More so in A2 essays)

e) Use diagrams wherever possible in case if you do not know how to explain a particular concept. Perhaps, the diagram may do some 'talking' on behalf of you

All da best peeps!!

No comments: