Many students take IB Economics assuming that it’s an easy, scoring subject. Well, they’re wrong. If that’s you then you need to re-assess your subject choices. Although it may appear to be an easy A, it’s a tricky area and we’re here to help you with a few tips and tricks to help score a 7 in IB Economics.
Terminologies and Concepts
A good chunk of IB Economics consists of a plethora of terminologies that would make the subject sound like a foreign language to you. If it does, then you must learn it like one! You need to understand and learn to be able to define these terms. Your answer requires definitions and meanings of these terms. Pretend that your examiner does not know the meaning of these economic terms and explain them while maintaining the flow of your answer. This would give an impression that you know what you’re talking about and help get a good score on your paper.
Along with terms, also get the basics right. You cannot take a step further unless you’ve understood what you’re studying. Be it micro, macro, international or global economics, you need to learn and understand the basic concepts involved in the subject, and only then can you customize your answer based on the question.
Just learning and drawing diagrams perfect to the T is not sufficient to give you a high score, leave alone a 7. You need to study the diagrams in depth, what they mean, and the factors that would cause changes in a diagram, like in a graph. Along with that, you need to master drawing a diagram within a minute. It should not eat up much of your writing time, and you should be left with a sufficient amount of time to analyse and evaluate them in your answer. Diagrams usually involve recollection and reflection, hence forming a significant part of Papers 1, 2, and even Paper 3. While creating a diagram, make sure the necessary conditions are met and the specific details are shown on them. Practice so much that you can draw a graph or a chart blindfolded. How would you achieve this? Read articles relevant to the subject, and draw a diagram that matches the description, meanwhile timing yourself to finish it in one minute.
This is an issue that we see many students dealing with, that being the management of time. If you use up the hour making diagrams and struggling with them, you’re left with less time to focus on the analysis bit of your answer. And if you don’t analyse well, what’s the point of your answer?
One more thing to keep in mind is labelling the diagram clearly and accurately. Make sure they aren’t left hanging. What do we mean when we say that? Even if the diagrams are complete, perfect pieces of art, not having a supplementary explanation can sabotage the goal of your answer. It’s best to practice diagrams right after class, making sure you can draw them from memory, explain them and evaluate them on your own.
Every answer is an essay, akin to an English language one. Hence, naturally, an essay requires a suitable structure and format to follow. Having a strong foundation is crucial to all IB DP Economics essays, and that means planning out a clear structure for your answers in Papers 1, 2, and 3.
Here’s a skeletal structure for reference:
- Definition – you must begin by defining your key terms relevant to that question. Make sure that you maintain a good flow while you do this.
- Diagram – draw the diagram necessary for that answer.
- Explanation and evaluation – after drawing the diagram you need to explain what it means and what your main idea behind the diagram is. For example, short run vs the long run, the effects on stakeholders, the advantages vs disadvantages of a market economy, etc.
- Examples – next thing to do is provide relevant examples to enhance your essay.
- Closing statement – this could also be called the conclusion and includes a summary of the important points that you’ve covered in your answer. Make sure to wrap things up efficiently and address the question accurately and sufficiently.
Analyze and Evaluate
Now that we’ve touched base with the first 2 components, next is coming up with strong evaluations – how does one do that? The best way forward is to read and watch the news. Interlink newer economic situations with the ones taught in class. Combine news sources like The Economist with more mainstream sources like CNN, establishing a connection, in any, to understand textbook material with real-world examples.
Don’t just do it while you’re nearing the exams; begin on day 1 itself, while you’re in class. This habit of daily implicit analysis will help you come up with some interesting evaluations during the exam. Your display of original evaluation and analysis would show the examiner that you’re clearly a level 7 IB student, in turn increasing the chances of scoring a strong 7!
The analysis and evaluation part of your essay is interconnected with the examples that you give from newspapers. Make sure you have the correct examples ready at your disposal while you scrutinize and form evaluations related to the question.
Examples from Current Affairs
Apart from the correct analysis and evaluation of the questions in an IB Economics paper, it is equally important to have the correct examples to complement it. This is a unique feature of IB Economics’s long answer questions, having a specific requirement to include examples during your explanations. Imagine reading the same example in millions of papers that you need to correct within a week’s time. Does it not sound agonising? After a point, you would probably want to mark them down for not including something else.
This is not just hypothetical but true indeed, which is why you need to think outside of the textbook and include real-time examples, perhaps from the paper that you read just the day before the exam. This wider knowledge of ‘the real world’ and the ability to exemplify your topic ideas backed with current affairs can even add a refreshing perspective for the examiner.
Reading newspapers and watching the news is definitely a no-brainer if you want to score a 7 in IB Economics. But apart from that, you need to involve yourself more by discussing with your peers, parents, or teachers what you’ve read in the newspaper.
Including the correct examples requires the correct amount of practice, where you need to time yourself and give responses with relevant examples and explanations. Make sure to bridge the gap between textbook and life to make your answer seem more relatable and 3-dimensional.
… and if you still need help and guidance, we at Young Scholarz are here to help you learn the subject effectively and thoroughly. Our group and solo sessions, and our detailed feedback system ensures that you know where you err, and improve them well before the exams. You can head here to take a peak at our IB Economics Course.