19 Jun How to do well in Economics — Case Studies
What is Case Studies?
The Case Studies component is found in Paper 1 of the H1 and H2 A-Level Economics examination. There are 2 case studies in Paper 1. Each case study will present pages of economics data and issues related to the economics syllabus in textual, numerical and graphical forms.
This will be followed by questions relating to the data. These questions would require candidates to apply the relevant economic concepts and economic theories to answer and evaluate the economic issues, with reference to the data provided.
How do I know the requirements of the case studies question?
Read the question carefully and follow the instructions given. This is very important as candidates who do not follow the instructions will tend to deviate away from the question and apply the wrong economic concepts.
Pay close attention to the key command words and focus in the question. The command word will determine that kind of answer it expects. For example, the starting command words “Discuss” and “Explain” will produce a different answer for each question.
Typically, economic (change in) trend description questions carries 2 marks.
First mark: identify what is happening to the value of the variable. i.e. establish the general direction of the trend by statin whether the value of the variable that you are measuring has increased, decreased, remained stable, fluctuating, etc.
Second mark: provide a meaningful refinement or enhancement to the description of the trend in any of the following form: the rate of change, exceptions, reversals, or change to the level of volatility.
How do I prepare myself for the Paper 1?
Make sure that you have a good grasp of the underlying economic theories. A good foundation in economic knowledge will help you greatly in identifying what concepts the question seeks to assess you on. This will ensure that your answers are accurate.
Also, you need to have a set of data-handling skills (both statistical and textual knowledge). Case studies involve real life examples of economic situations locally and globally. You need to be able to draw a link between these real life economic examples to your economic concepts to be able to understand the underlying purpose and reason to the data. These skills are also useful in helping you analyse the data so that you can use these evidence in supporting your answers.
How do I write my economics case studies answers effectively with economics concepts?
Make use of appropriate and relevant diagrams to explain your economic analysis. Economic diagrams are helpful in showing you the effects of the economic happenings in the data given, hence you will be able to answer accurately. At the same time, economic diagrams are able to show examiners that you know your economic concepts well.
Always remember to quote from the data. The data given the the case study are there to help you find evidence to support your answers as it shows the economic effects. Make use of them to give a fuller answer.
Economics answers must not be long-winded. Sometimes, short and sharp answers are appreciated. Look at the question requirements and the number of marks allocated. Usually, these will tell you how long your answer should be. Long descriptions and answers do not equal to more credit given. Do not waste too much time overwriting your answers. Time management is key!
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