Economics is a social science that aims to understand and describe how wealth is produced, distributed, and consumed. Thus, economic issues are a focus of the discipline. It aims to provide systematic answers to a wide range of issues involving the economic behavior of people, society, and the economy.
Numerous adjustments have been made to the definition of economics over time. Numerous economists have contributed to the subject’s increasing depth of meaning. Starting with Adam Smith, who is regarded as the founding father of economics. According to him, “Economics is the science of wealth” His theory emphasised on materialism and had a narrow view on wealth.
Then came Alfred Marshall, whereaccording to him “Economics is the study of mankind in the ordinary business of life”. with his conception of welfare. His definition featured key points such as:
- Study of mankind.
- Study of ordinary business of life.
- Study of material welfare.
- Emphasis on requisites of well being.
- Exclusion of Non-economic activities.
However, despite all the improvements made to his idea, it was still criticised. This was due to the materialistic and unrealistic categorization of activities.
After Marshall, Lionel Robbins proposed his definition- “The science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses”
For his definition, Robbins got both praise and criticism. His work was praised for providing a reasoned justification for economic issues. He even said it had a universal nature. He said that it was a human and positive science. The term gave a broader perspective on economics.
Finally, Paul. A. Samuelson’s definition is the one that many economists still accept today. The Growth-Oriented Definition was his idea. Economic issues were emphasised in the definition. It had a long-term outlook and a flexible strategy. His theory addressed a wide range of issues. It covered all bases and took a wider angle.
Thus, even as a topic, economics has had a hard road to building its foundation.
Real-world examples of economics
To better understand economics, some broad or real-world examples can be used.
Example 1 – Opportunity Costs
Opportunity costs are the advantages that a person or corporation forfeits by selecting a different course of action. Typically, not all possibilities are taken into account while choosing, which results in a number of opportunity costs being missed or overlooked.
Consider a company which had extra capital that they could either invest in the stock market to earn an annual return of 15% or update its equipment to earn an annual return of 12%. If the company chooses to upgrade its equipment to make higher-quality items instead of investing in stock it will forgo a return of 3% (15%-12%). The opportunity cost to the company is this 3%.
Example 2 – Sunk Costs
A sunk cost is a cost that the company has already invested and cannot recover. It is a prior expense incurred by the company that is not taken into consideration while making future business choices. When making decisions for the future of a business, sunk costs remain constant.
Imagine you go for a movie, and it turns out to be terrible but since you have already paid for the ticket, you tend to sit and watch the whole thing. Through this, you don’t realize that watching the movie is not going to get your money back. However, we end up wasting our time.
Example 3 – The Trade War
Every country makes an effort to safeguard its own economy, companies, and industries. They would protect the interests of the businesses in the country as local industry generates jobs. As a result, when commodities/goods are imported from other countries, they impose greater tariffs and taxes. In response, the other nations impose even greater duties. This creates a conflict known as Trade wars.
The best example of this is the ongoing trade conflict between the United States and China, in which the US imposed higher taxes on commodities/goods imported from China and China responded by imposing comparable duties on US goods.
Example 4 – Supply and Demand
Economic theory is based on the rule of supply and demand. Demand is the quantity that market participants are willing to purchase, whereas Supply is the number of items that producers float on the market. The equilibrium point is the location where supply and demand are equal enough to satisfy one another, it is where the supply and demand curves meet in an efficient market.
For example, Farmers lower the price of the crop when corn production rises in order to sell more of their harvest. When there is an excess of supply compared to demand, the produce is wasted and the farmer is at loss of their cost of production.
The above examples give an overview of a few of the concepts of economics, which include the law of supply and demand, opportunity costs, sunk, and the trade wars. Though they do not cover all types of variants; it does give a fair understanding of the real-world economics. For more understanding of Economics, register with us at Young Scholarz and book 1:1 sessions with our certified Economics tutors for IB and IGCSE.
Exams can be intimidating. Students often complain that they lose marks even after having put in a lot of effort and hard work or that they couldn’t complete the paper on time, or didn’t know the pattern very well and wished they learnt a proper strategy for the paper. A tried and proven solution to practice well is a mock test. Mock tests are considered practice exams before you appear for the final one. These are very important for students who wish to improve their grades. In this blog, let us understand why and how these mock tests are useful.
- Familiarises us with real exam conditions – Mock tests are like the actual exams that are purely based on the latest exam pattern and syllabus of the respective examinations. They are designed in a way that helps the students feel that they are sitting at an actual exam. If a student practices with ample mock tests, no question will be too daunting.
- Boosts confidence – Mock tests help the students check their level of preparation. It helps them know if they are on the right track and check if they are lacking anything so that they can work on them. This boosts their self-confidence which helps them to be successful in their examinations. Plus, it also keeps exam fear away.
- Helps to analyse our mistakes – Analysing one’s performance in mock tests plays a very important role. After each test, students should spend time understanding and analysing their performance. One must go through each section carefully to understand what and where they went wrong and what could have been done in a better way. In this way, they will not repeat the same mistakes in the actual exams which will help in upping their grades.
- Helps develop the right strategy – Rather than just learning the concepts and formulae, preparing the right strategy helps the students crack and clear these tests, and also get good grades. As the students keep taking mock exams, they develop the right strategy through a proper analysis of their performance in each mock. They will not only understand the test pattern but also use the mastered strategies for tackling the actual test.
- Helps with time management – It becomes very difficult for students to attempt all questions in the given time if they don’t take time management seriously. This is where the role of mock tests is crucial. As we know now, mock tests are like actual tests. So when students sit for any mock test, it not only helps in enhancing their performance but also tracks their speed which helps them know if they will be completing their actual exam on time.
- Helps you practice and prepare – We all know the phrase “Practice makes a man perfect”, and mock tests help us with just that. Basically, the more mock tests we take, the more we get better at that particular subject. What happens is that with proper practice and conceptual understanding, we tend to solve the problems that we are facing during the mock tests, which in turn helps us avoid those problems in the actual exams.
To conclude, if a student is serious while sitting for the mock test, they will also perform well in the actual exams as it will help them learn from their mistakes. If any student is lagging, he/she should start the preparation by understanding the concepts, learning the basics and then start applying those concepts while they are appearing for mock tests and very soon the student will start seeing positive changes in his/her grades. If you need help and guidance, we at Young Scholarz are here to help you with mock tests and so much more. You can opt for mock texts or book a class (group and solo sessions), and our detailed feedback system will make sure that you know where you err, and help you improve well before the exams.
We all know IB isn’t easy; scoring that perfect 7 takes enormous work, but it’s not impossible. Did you recently receive your mock results and were not pleased about them? We’ve rounded some key tips from our IB toppers on how you can boost your IB scores.
1. Avoid distraction
Most of us are used to listening to songs while studying or doing homework, some even prefer to relax and watch TV while revising. It often happens that unknowingly we reach out to our phones during study time and start texting friends on WhatsApp, or scroll through reels on Instagram. We all enjoy activities that can brighten up uninteresting work. However, the problem is that it takes up all your attention leading you to complete distraction. Studying while being distracted will definitely not help you score better. In order to increase your concentration, try mild soft instrumental music in the background.
2. Plan your day for studying
It is important to develop an efficient and productive strategy that helps reduce confusion and give a clear direction for studying. Here is what you can do –
1. Spend equal amounts of time on each subject. Avoid making a mistake of using all of your time on one subject.
2. Be specific with time. You can spend one hour each on three to four subjects per day. This gives you a specific four hours of study time. The easier subjects can be given less time.
3. Put up an organized time table. Having a proper routine scheduled for your study is really important.
3. Practise tests
When studying, you probably might choose a study method that suits you. But what really helps is testing yourself. Practising questions from past IB papers will prove to be more helpful than all the other study methods. In fact, self-testing is the fastest way to learn anything you study. Pick up those past papers and practice, practice, practice!
4. Avoid cramming
Don’t rely on long study sessions, cramming won’t help you remember more of what you’ve learned. The majority of us believe that studying for more hours straight might improve and help us recall the material. However, it might just confuse and make you mentally tired. The best way to remember is to space out your study and take pauses. Studying all night is not worth it, no matter how much you decide to stay up all night studying, it is a bad idea. Being up late doesn’t just leave you exhausted, it also affects your concentration, leaving you tired with no idea what to do.
Acknowledge that you need help. Seek expert guidance from a tutor who can give you the individualised attention you need. IB is quite demanding and rigorous and a little nudging, supporting and guidance can take you a long way.
Plan your study early, you don’t want to study two months of content in two days. Try to be proactive and ask for help. While you can study and practise by yourself, it is always good to have someone help you understand the concepts and monitor your tests. If you want an expert’s guidance to help you with their strategies to ace your IB exams you can register with us at Young Scholarz!
Another year has gone by. Disappointment, regret, anger, love, peace, joy, contentment – here’s a range of emotions laid out for you that you’ve probably felt in the past year. Is there any single emotion that you can describe 2022 in? How would you put it? We’d use the word ‘blessed’. It’s been an incredible year at Young Scholarz with new team members, new teachers, new students, and new learning experiences. We were able to travel more, survived another year through the corona, and welcomed the new year with straight As and A*s from ecstatic students.
This blog post today is a reflection on the year before and a cheerful welcome to the new year.
Was 2022 a good or bad year?
365 days is a large number when it comes to remembering things. You may not remember what happened last week! But there are many important events, instances, and feelings that stick around simply because they made a difference in your life. Ask yourself if this year was good or bad. Let’s reflect on all the things that happened in the past year. You can journal them down as well. This really helps close chapters that were either written well or ended roughly, and we can start again on a clean slate for 2023.
These are some questions that could help you reflect on the past year:
Which moments seem special from the past year?
The best moments would still be at the top of your head, write them down, reminisce, and in retrospect think about what made them special.
Which moments were not so special in the past year?
Think about events that were not worth remembering, and brought in sad or negative emotions. Don’t just think about how you overcame that event/feeling. Also, think about how far you’ve come since that experience. This helps deal with any unearthed emotions so you can start anew.
What did you do right?
As humans, we’re born critics and tend to always pick out the flaws in ourselves. But we need to appreciate the little achievements and the goals that we’ve accomplished so far – they seem little but may impact us in ways bigger than we imagine. So, ask yourself what you’ve done right last year and how it makes you feel today.
What did you do wrong?
This could fairly be an easy question but the goal here is not to feel regret or self-deprecate yourself. Remember that you only learn when you make mistakes. So remember the things you’ve done wrong and what you did, or can still do, to make it right.
“How do you feel you’ve grown up in the past year?“
Are you the same person as in January 2022? Definitely a no; nobody is. But how have you changed? What changes do you notice about yourself? Would the “2022” version of you make this comment or have this opinion? A good change is a positive welcome and an achievement in itself. Pat yourself on the back for getting through the year, you deserve it!
Reflect on how you would have done certain things differently
Thinking about your past actions and experiences, you need to think about possible choices or decisions that you could have made – had you done so then the consequences would have been different. Consider them as alternate endings to your story. But don’t think about them with repentance, but take them as learning experiences for the future.
What are you thankful for?
This is something that we must always, always do. We must always feel grateful for the things that we have and yet strive for the things that we don’t. We often only look at the glass half empty and that’s where most of the problems begin. Gratitude is essential and so you must think about all those things that you are thankful for to have in your life.
What can you do to improve yourself?
Looking back at the errors you’ve made, the goals that you haven’t accomplished, a wrong decision, or even something as small as something you said or did that wasn’t right – how would you change yourself? How would you improve yourself so you don’t do it again? Think about it.
The importance of self-reflection
A new year is a great way to reflect on your past so you can work on your future. It’s like a term-end report or a year-end mark sheet that you receive after every exam. Just like you’d like to improve your grades, and we’d like to help you do so, you can also assess yourself and work on your errors to live a more fulfilling life.
But that does not mean that when you fail midway you give up and wait for the next year. The idea here is to motivate yourself every single day and not just when you’re given a reminder to kill it.
New year resolutions and what you plan to achieve this year
There was a time when new year’s resolutions were just a joke and a one-off event; that was before the pandemic hit the globe and had us stuck at home for a good few months at a stretch. It was exactly at that point that we had time to reflect on ourselves, and were given a chance to work on ourselves and make a few changes.
Since then, people have become more self-aware – some have gone the extra mile and accomplished insane goals like acquiring multiple degrees and starting successful businesses in their garages. Others may have achieved smaller goals like decluttering that attic which they wouldn’t have done in another decade due to lack of holidays and leaves.
Your goals don’t have to be physical, they can also be inner goals. Everybody makes goals to eat healthily and exercise regularly – but these are a given.
Instead, consider trying to be a better person, a kinder, hardworking, a more giving person – these are qualities that you can instill and accomplish as goals. These are all lifelong changes that you can begin with at any time, and not wait a whole year to be a better version of yourself.
We hope this piece has helped you and wish you a wonderful, joyous new year ahead!
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.
The world constitutes varied cultures, tribes and societies, all embracing different attitudes and beliefs. Isn’t it exciting to learn and explore these different places and cultures through literature? If you’re an IGCSE student and wish to learn about various stories across centuries, you may want to opt for IGCSE World literature 0408.
Introduction to IGCSE World Literature
The Cambridge IGCSE World Literature course encourages students to read works by authors from other nations and cultures. Students also develop lifelong abilities in interpreting and assessing texts by studying renowned novelists, poets, and playwrights from around the world. This provides knowledge to the learners on how to create and express a thoughtful personal response to literature.
This curriculum is created to be flexible so that schools and teachers can select texts that are pertinent to the situations of their students and their own specialised interests. The curriculum’s objectives are to help students improve their capacity to appreciate, comprehend, and react to literature from many cultures and countries that is written in English or in English translation.
The aim of this syllabus
- It allows the students to appreciate reading literature from different countries and cultures.
- Helps to comprehend and react to literary works in many genres (poetry, prose, and drama), as well as various nations and civilisations.
- Students learn how literature helps develop their sense of aesthetics and creativity
- It examines how literature aids in comprehending various societal issues.
- It builds a firm platform for further study of literature.
World Literature encourages students to practise the skills of close reading through the study of literary extracts, unseen texts and whole texts. All students take three components under this curriculum.
- The first one is the ‘course work’ where learners study two texts, one prose text and the other drama text.
- The second one is ‘Paper 2’ where the learner prepares for one unseen poetry text.
- And the third one is ‘Paper 3’ that allows the learner to select at least one set text, though they have the option to study further texts if they wish to.
While preparing for Course work, students need to read and understand two texts; one drama and the other one prose text. In preparation for Paper 2 Unseen Poetry, learners study a range of poems of different types.
For Paper 3 Set Text, students’ study one set text and answer two questions, one from section A and the other from section B in the examination. (As an option, the students can study two set texts and attempt questions on different texts).
Every year for the examination, the set texts include international poetry, prose and drama. If you’d like to view some past papers of 0408 and gain a better understanding of the mark scheme and question formats, click here.
Set texts for the year 2023
Here is the list of set texts for the examination in 2023.
The set text for Drama
- Yukio Mishima – The Sound of Waves
- Federico García Lorca – Yerma
- Amy Tan – The Bonesetter’s Daughter
- Nikolai Gogol – The Government Inspector
Collection of Poetry
Songs of Ourselves, Volume 2 is a collection of 14 poems from part 2. If you’d like a resource, this website shares analysis of poems relevant to the syllabus.
Collection of Prose
- Stories of Ourselves, Volume 2, is a collection of 10 stories.
Details for the assessment
Component 1 Course Work
This coursework contains 50 marks, where students have to submit two written assignments, one critical essay and one empathic response. They would be required to study one drama and one prose text from the Set text.
Paper 2 Unseen Poetry
This is a written 30 marks paper for 1 hour 15 minutes. This paper does not have a set text and students have to answer two compulsory questions on one poem.
Paper 3 Set Text
This is another written 50 marks paper for 1 hour 30 minutes. This paper is divided into Section A – which has extract based questions and Section B – that consists of essay questions. Students have to answer two questions, one from section A and the other from section B.
If you’re a teacher reading this blogpost, here’s the link to the teacher’s guide for 0408.
The most essential and fundamental aspect of culture is the study of literature, since this is an education in how to picture and understand human situations.Iris Murdoch
This is a brief overview of IGCSE World Literature 0408. If you plan to enrol for the subject and need guidance to prepare for the set text of your choice, you can check out our website ‘Young Scholarz’. We conduct both group and solo sessions for most of the set texts, with a wide range of assignments and personalized feedback that can help you understand your areas of improvement and score better.
We all know that descriptive writing is a form of writing that gives a clear and concise description of events, people, locations, or things. Now there can be two types of Descriptive Writing – one where the topic is already given to us, and the second where a passage is given and we need to take ideas and details from it and write a piece of our own. For the 0500 IGCSE Paper 2, the Descriptive Writing component does not rely on a passage. Now, whichever type it might be, any good Descriptive Essay needs proper skills and a lot of practice. So, here are 7 tips that will help you improve your Descriptive Writing Skills.
- Plan your essay: This goes without saying, but it’s a must. You need to plan the skeleton of your essay – ask yourself what each paragraph would focus on. Think of a suitable central theme for each body paragraph. Remember that planning your essay will not only ensure that you organise your ideas well – it functions as an excellent tool for brainstorming ideas in the correct order.
- Make your introduction game strong – The next step is writing a great, compelling introduction. Writing a good introduction is very important in any form of writing, so you need to pay attention to it. Begin with a hook – the rabbit hopped and leapt into the garden like it had just been set free. Spring has begun! You may add some interesting facts about your topic, like a rhetorical question, or a humorous description to keep the readers hooked to what is about to come. Your introduction should include a suitable thesis statement that defines the rest of your essay, making sure that it sets the correct tone and mood as well.
- Add sensory details – All of us are familiar with the five senses which are sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Adding these to your writing is very important as these will add depth and detail to your Descriptive Essay. Use them in a way to bring life to your writing, and create a 360-degree scenery around. Write in a way that the reader can effectively paint the same picture in their mind that you’re trying to create. For example, if you are explaining a garden, add the sensory details, like the soft pink colour of the roses, the sweet smell of the jasmine flowers, the lush green of the grass, the buzzing of the bees drinking nectar from the honeysuckle, the cool breeze and how it feels on your face, etc. The correct usage of sensorial imagery ensures that the reader wants to continue reading more.
- Show not tell – The devil for Descriptive Writing is in the details. Don’t just state what you are trying to say, instead paint an image with your writing. For example – If a girl is scared, describe her actions instead of just telling her that she is afraid. Imagine the expression that a scared little girl would have, imagine she’d be trembling with fear, explain the colour being washed off from her face. Use your imagination till the best of your abilities – that’s how your Descriptive Writing skills will come to light. Readers will not get the sense if you only state something, so get into the nitty gritties and create a living picture with words.
- Add figurative language – Figurative language refers to the use of words in a way that deviates from the conventional order and meaning of words in order to convey a more complicated meaning. It promotes colourful writing, clarity, or evocative comparison. So, adding it to a Descriptive Essay is very useful. For example, instead of writing “the man was cruel and insensitive”, replace it with “the man had a heart of stone”. The different types of figurative language that you can use are – Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Hyperbole, Allusion etc.
- Stay concise – You might be wondering how one can write a Descriptive Essay in a concise form – both of these are literally the opposite. But trust us when we say that nobody likes reading long essays. We’ve marked many papers on Descriptive Writing, and have noticed that the essence remains better in an appropriate length of an essay. Set your word limit and try to stick to it – the beauty about this essay is that you combine your ideas logically and make use of complex and compound sentences. If the passage is already given, annotate the important points and add them to your essay. Writing concisely is an art but you can master it if you practise enough.
- Conclusion – As important as you know the introduction is, so is the conclusion. Like for any other essay format, all 3 are crucial to the organisation of your essay. The conclusion gives an appropriate answer or closing statement to the thesis statement in your introduction. If you end your essay with a suitable conclusion, it also helps with your score. Summarise all the key takeaway points from your essay and you have a complete, cohesive answer ready for review!
…And there you have it: 7 Effective Tips to Improve Your Descriptive Writing. The next time you are stuck while writing a descriptive essay, remember these points and these will definitely help you plan, write and enhance your descriptive writing.
Do you need further guidance for this component? Look no further – Young Scholarz has workshops designed for specific modules in group sessions and solo sessions. Along with assignments we will provide you with detail-oriented feedback for a higher score.
Are you still mulling over it? Click on this link to know more.
Be it as a group exercise or for an essay writing paper, brainstorming is an effective way of putting your ideas out there. They don’t have to be great, they don’t have to be groundbreaking, but they’re all building towards a goal that you need to achieve. Whether it’s brainstorming for IB LangLit Paper 1 or for IB Lit Paper 1, this is one of the first steps to answering a question.
But before that, what is brainstorming?
Brainstorming in the very essence of the term, is storming your brain with multiple ideas pertaining to a specific question. These ideas could be great ideas. They may also be inconsequential and redundant. But, the purpose behind this exercise is to produce and fabricate thoughts pertaining to that text, literary or non-literary.
Brainstorming for IB English Paper 1
For IB Literature Paper 1 as well as IB LangLit Paper 1, the text in both papers is unseen and cannot be prepared for in advance. In that case, the only material that you have is in hand while sitting for the exams – which is great, because that builds a framework for more accurate ideas.
Types of brainstorming
As the name suggests, positive brainstorming is writing down points that you know. Anything that is relevant to the text – your thoughts, opinions, literary terms and tools that you can identify – jot them all down. Its use can be decided in the next step.
For example, consider the text on the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost. Ask yourself: What do you know about it? The road can be a metaphor for life, or a path to choosing your career, or any decision that you take. While reading the poem, you have come across many examples of imagery, simile, and personification. So, you write them down in your brainstorming session, along with relevant examples and how they contribute to the overall meaning to the text. This is positive brainstorming.
Also known as reverse brainstorming, negative brainstorming is the opposite of the previous technique – write down everything you don’t know about the question. Now you’d ask, how is that possible? If you’re aware of what you don’t know, brainstorming will help you find out an answer and work your way around it. For example, you’ve picked out the literary devices fairly well, but you don’t know much about the rhyme scheme and how it creates meaning. Brainstorming will help you focus and gain a better sense of direction.
1) Annotate the text
This is an easy yet crucial step to brainstorming. While reading the text the very first time, with a pen/pencil in your hand, underline the important words and phrases that will later on help you generate ideas, analyse them, or come to a suitable conclusion with them. Although this is a common practice, it is often overlooked. Annotating a text is key to identifying important words, patterns, and concepts.
2) Free writing
After you’ve read, understood, and annotated the text, remove 10-15 minutes and dedicate it to a gruelling, highly productive brainstorming session. Ignore grammatical errors, ignore the self-judgement, put all inhibitions aside and just freely write what you think and what points you can deduce from the text. Once you’ve laid the foundation, you can easily choose and cancel what you need and don’t need.
3) Graphic Representation
There’s a talented bunch of you who can be the graphic designers of a literary essay. Some like to use Mind Maps, which we absolutely endorse, some prefer Venn diagrams on their brainstorming points. Some even like creating columns to separate out body paragraphs according to the topic ideas. All of these methods are excellent while brainstorming – you also get the added benefit of planning and organizing your essay while you generate your ideas.
4) Use the Description
The description of a scene or a passage is an effective way of formulating ideas. For example, the question involves a journal entry by a botanist. Think of all the senses involved in the study of a venus flytrap. The sight, touch, smell – you cannot taste or hear it, so that is stricken off. But the rest are clues to describing the plant, how it catches its prey, the correct conditions that sustain the plant, the kind of insects or animals it feeds off – and how these aspects are used by the author to create appeal.
What should you do after brainstorming?
Once you’ve come up with some ideas, the next step is to scrutinise their relevance and significance. Is the micro-analysis of the title important to the appeal of the poem? Is the colour of the leaves important to the carnivorous nature of the plant? Circle what’s important, and cancel what’s not.
Even if you’ve crossed out many points, don’t lose heart. It’s not a waste of time if that idea has given birth to a newer, different, and more effective idea than the one crossed off. This being a flow of ideas, traversing from one to another, it is a natural way of panning out your essay and reaching a suitable conclusion.
Brainstorming is the nexus of ideasDr. Asa Don Brown
So, the next time you practice an IB English essay, keep these points in mind and let us know how they helped you!
What is the SAT Math Test?
The SAT Math test evaluates your understanding to apply mathematical concepts and skills to different types of problems in college and in real life. There are two portions on the SAT Math test. The first section will be for 55 minutes with 38 questions where one can use a calculator, and the second section for 25 minutes with 20 questions, using no calculator. To know more about what the SAT comprises, read our older blogpost on “What you need to know about the SATs”.
Aiming for a Perfect 800 in SAT Math? Well, It might seem impossible at first but with proper guidance, skills and the right strategy you should be well on your way. While, scoring within the range of 680-750 is acceptable, you may want to raise your scores by answering all the questions correctly and earning an 800 on this section! This is especially key when you’re trying to get into a field of study that requires extensive Math knowledge.
So, why do you need to perfect your SAT Math score?
If you’re planning to get an admission in one of the top universities such as Harvard, Princeton, MIT etc. your score needs to meet the quantitative bar set by them – an 800. You’ll need to be in the top percentile for these highly selective technical colleges as a lower Math score makes you seem underprepared to meet their courses’ rigorous requirements. Another reason why getting an 800 in your Math test is crucial is because it helps make up for the potential weaknesses in other sections, be it reading or writing. The competition is cut-throat and you’re up against some of the best mathematical minds so an 800 will help improve your chances of being considered for admissions.
Before we dive into some of the tips to ace your Math section, remember to keep a positive mindset. The most important tip is to stay calm. Yes, the test is important. Yes, you’re aiming for a perfect 800, but don’t let that pressure get to you. Try to be mentally strong, believe in yourself and know that you can do it.
SAT Math Tip 1 – Find your weak points
Self-analysis is a prime step before you start preparing for your test. This will help you know your flaws beforehand, allowing you to work on it and master them. Here is something you could practice to know your weakness. Take two practice tests, one with the test conditions and another without any time constraints. If you score less even without time limits then you’ll need to work on understanding the content of your test, but if you score good with unlimited time then you know, it’s the time management you need to work on.
Identifying your weak spots and working on bettering them will help you be more strategic about your preparation. Remember, for the most part, the SAT is about studying smartly and mastering the proven strategies!
SAT Math Tip 2 – Master the concepts
The Math test focuses on three major topics:
- Heart of Algebra – 19 questions
- Problem Solving and Data Analysis- 17 questions
- Passport to Advanced Math – 16 questions
The remaining questions will test your understanding of topics such as
Make sure you have a strong and deep understanding of each topic – move beyond the basic level of these topics and practice past SAT questions that are in line with the various concepts. Identify and analyse your content gaps and familiarise yourself even with the topics that don’t come too often in the exams.
Memorise formulae and postulates that will help you move through questions with ease.
SAT Math Tip 3 – Practice, Practice, Practice.
If your target is 800, you don’t have an option to leave anything. Your practice and preparation need to be on point. If you commit a mistake, make it your mission not to repeat it. Just knowing your mistakes is not enough, you need to understand the cause of your mistake and work towards eradicating it from the roots. Make sure you practice different varieties of questions. This acts as an exercise to your brain. There are multiple practice tests you can take on various sites. If you don’t always have the time for full practice tests, then attempt practice questions that’ll help build your prowess.
SAT Math Tip 4 – Avoid careless SAT mistakes
Imagine solving an entire question correctly only to mark the wrong answer on the answer sheet. That would be galling! Always pay attention while marking the answer, especially while bubbling your answer sheet, make sure you mark on the correct question and not above or below it. When using a calculator, check if you’ve entered the correct digits. Careless mistakes are to be avoided at all costs and at all times! Practice presence of mind while doing the SAT test so you’re well aware of what, how and why you’re doing it.
SAT Math Tip 5 – Get help from the experts!
While self-studying is good and commendable, working with an expert will prove to be more effective. You wouldn’t want to give up an opportunity to learn from someone who is highly experienced and could help you earn the scores of your dream. Do you?
An SAT tutor will help you identify your weaknesses and strengths and teach you at your own pace. You’ll receive the guidance you need and access to learning materials you perhaps couldn’t get your hands on before! If you wish to enrol yourself for a prep class or personalized class for your Math SAT prep, read up more about our support here and register here.
Those are a few strategies/ tips that can help you improve your Math score and get that 800! Start your preparation early and most importantly, stay calm and focused.
For tips on the SAT English Reading and writing, check out our blog on “Proven Strategies to Perfect your SAT Score”